Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Bigfoot Highway

We took a long drive up into the mountains to see Roger's daughter Indigo. The road to her place is a two-lane winding road that goes on and on and on. For more than a 100 miles (160 km) it curves and bends; it goes up and down; it runs along a river; it hugs craggy rocks on one side and drops precipitously on the other. It is quite an undertaking, and one that we take fueled by love.
I found the above photo on the internet. It definitely captures the way the road curves around and around the mountains, and the mountain ranges go on and on and on. Roger did a screen grab from Google Earth of the photo below. A hundred miles of this!

When I started googling around about this highway in northern California, I was surprised to discover the area has quite a history for the sightings of Bigfoot. Seriously. In fact there is a website called Bigfoot Scenic Byway. If you don't clink on the link, I'll post an image of Bigfoot here for you.
When you drive this road, this is one of the sights. Not exactly a sighting, but quite exciting.

There are other views that are quite naturally beautiful. Here the Klamath River rolls along the highway in one of the gentler spots where you can actually pull over for a lovely respite.
So, we drove slowly along the Bigfoot highway for more than three hours. We were so happy when we arrived at our destination.
It's hard to even convey the scope of the wilderness here. Beyond each mountain range is another. The mountains rise up like giant waves that stretch in every direction for more miles than you can ever see.
I added up the square miles of the four counties that comprise the bulk of this area and found that it is 14,837 square miles, with a population of 220,000 people. In terms of area, it's larger than nine states (Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maryland), and in terms of density it has 15 people per square mile. That means only five states have a lower population density per square mile (Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota). This is a pretty big unpopulated state! Maybe it should be called The Land of Bigfoot.
I know you'll be surprised to know that we didn't actually get to see a Bigfoot. We looked everywhere! We did, however, get to see a not-often seen Fisher that ran across the road in front of our car. That was pretty exciting.

We spent two nights visiting with Indigo. She has a dream for the future here in these wild mountains, and I plan to write a post about that next.

23 comments:

  1. I once rode in a bus along a road like that in the Alps - the driver talked on his phone throughout (no hands-free then) and sometimes took his hands of the wheel - to gesticulate! - while on the phone! It seemed a long journey.
    Despite being fairly up on natural history I've never even heard of a fisher.
    Looking forward to the next post.

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  2. Up here they're called Sasquatch,and they may have assimilated and are living in the burbs... ;)
    Nice to see such wonderful scenery still exists.

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  3. John-- I can't imagine being on a bus on a road like that with a gesticulating bus driver. Scary!

    isabelita-- I remember them being called Sasquatch a well. Such a fantasy creature. Oh yes, the wonderful scenery is still there. Two years ago, though, a fire burned a lot of this land. We'll see what fire season does this year. Sigh.

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  4. Those rivers and roads and that wilderness are dear to my heart. Thank you for these glimpses. It's like being there, an experience for all my senses! My eyes, ears, nose and skin respond!

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  5. beautiful. but 100 miles of it? argh. you love that girl and grandbaby a LOT.

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  6. What an adventure! I hate roads like that! Hope you had a wonderful visit. xoxo

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  7. i am always nervous on roads like that for fear someone else will pass where they should not. Pretty country.

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  8. And the cliffs. And the mountains. and the people who tailgate. Ack. 100 miles is a REALLY long way on a road like that!

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  9. am-- So glad it triggered good memories for your senses!

    tara--Well, there really are a few straightaways in between the twisting curving nuttiness of it. Still, I did get a little nauseous on the way there. I couldn't even eat lunch. Oy.

    kathy-- These kinds of roads are definitely not my favorite. Luckily there is hardly anyone on the road at all. I think we saw twenty cars going in the opposite direction from us, and didn't see any other cars until we got to the big (hah!) town of Willow Creek.

    Rain- Roads like this are crazy. I can't imagine how they got built. And with the wet winter, a lot of wash outs, and with the dry summers a lot of fire. Oy.

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  10. All your pics remind me of West Virginia. My home state has many mountains and winding roads with corkscrew curves!! I love it.

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  11. kenju-- When I looked at the photos, I thought they reminded me of some of the roads I had been on in Virginia and West Virginia.

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  12. I'd have to be drugged out of my mind to do a drive like that! That is love, indeed! It's nice that to get to that area, one has to really truly want to go; the harder it is to reach, the fewer people will be tempted to build McMansions on mountain sides for the view.
    All that said, those photos show stunningly beautiful land. I hope fires are few and small this year. Oh, that our species were better stewards of Earth!

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  13. CCorax-- There are a few easy parts of this road, where we can go 55 mph. But they are definitely in between the crazy winding parts. Yes, I probably should have been drugged! It is beautiful there in the mountains, and I wish we humans used our conscious minds in ways that benefit our earth and other species.

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  14. Oh, it is gorgeous there, robin! My big concern would be medical care. are there any good facilities available without having to drive through all those mountain tops? this reminds me of an experience we had closer to arcata, but a bit southeast. we were headed to Mendocino and on to san fran. we decided to "cut through" the mts from 101 to hwy 1 so we could travel along the coast, even though it was close to dark. big mistake!! oh, the stars were the most beautiful I had ever seen with no competing lights from ANYWHERE, but the inclines and declines, the curvy, winding 2 lane narrow road with no guard rails, and finally the pacific ocean at the end of what was a very long journey, a true drop-off into the sea north of ft bragg just about did me in! a little country store owner told us when we hit hwy 1 that even CA residents don't use that route at night and we had lost our minds even considering it! you guys live in such a beautiful part of the country. thanks for sharing the pics.

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  15. Sky-- There isn't even any good medical care here in Arcata, a college community! No, there's not much medical care there. It is always a surprise to discover the really winding small roads here in northern California. I can easily imagine the ride you took to get to the coast. Yeah, the locals would never do that. The only good part of such crazy roads is that it really does keep some wild parts of this land wild and mostly uninhabited.

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  16. As a flatlander, that road has both an awestruck and stomach tightening effect on me.

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  17. FC-- It has the same effect on me!

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  18. Fisher cat - very cool. We used to hike in The trinity Alps back in the day. I think that was the first time this city boy heard coyotes howling at the moon. I thought aliens were landing.

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  19. Chris-- It's definitely wild country there. You remind me of the first time I heard coyotes. What a sound, like something out of a dream.

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  20. I would love to drive that road, not necessarily to get anywhere, but just to pass through that country. You would never believe it (the road or the country) existed if all you ever drove was interstate highways.

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  21. Mark-- It's true about the interstates. Zooming by 65 mph doesn't really give you the sense of the back roads or country. There's a lot of wild place out there!

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  22. I love roads like this. Based on your next post, I can understand why you would take this drive.
    It kind of reminds me of roads I took from Redding to Arcata, and Redbluff to Eureka. One of them had a lot of lumber trucks on it, and was kind of scary because they drove so fast. Not sure which road that was now (long time ago).

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  23. Pat-- The road from Redding to Arcata is Highway 299, considered the best way to get from 101 to 5 in northern Ca. The road from Red Bluff to Eureka is Highway 36. It is a nightmare of a road. I drove it once in 1972 and it was memorably horrible.

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