Usal Creek Trip North

Monday, March 29, 2016 Usal CA.

I met Steve about noon today and we headed north towards Fort Bragg, through Boonville on highway 128. We had about a three hour drive to get to the Usal creek area, which is where the Usal creek enters the Pacific ocean.

We were driving along on highway 1 just above Rockport when I saw the dirt road that goes to Usal. It’s easy to miss and I surprised Steve when I turned onto it. He thought I didn’t know where I was going, but I assured him that at least I thought I did as I hadn’t been up here in a number of years and I wasn’t sure what might have changed. We drove in something like ten miles on the narrow dirt road and eventually dropped down into this area where the camping and creek were, down there.

This was our first view of the area as we stopped at the first camp spot going down. A good view, but too windy for a camp spot. We will camp in the trees near the middle right of the picture. The gravel you see in the foreground is the main road going down the hill to the valley below.usal_thumb1

 

This is what we saw looking to the left of the picture above. The Usal creek mouth to the ocean, which is on the left.usal2_thumb2

 

Steve had continued on down the hill, but I wanted a look at things from up here, so I scanned the area and was surprised to see these guys down there.mouth_thumb1

 

Did you notice these elk boldly walking around down on the ocean parking areaelksee_thumb1

 

Steve missed them as he didn’t stop and I continued on down and caught up to him.

This was the main road down by the creek as we turned into the camp area by the sign.road_thumb1

 

I followed Steve down to the ocean parking area where we got out to have a look around. Steve still doesn’t know about the elk yet. Can you see the two of them just over his right shoulder? And how about the elk on the hillside to the right.rigs_thumb1

 

As it was the elk weren’t too bothered by our presence and didn’t take off. This bull had a broken horn? Which  must have gotten broken when it was growing out.elkhorn_thumb1

 

The elk were just grazing around on the hill side as we watched from fairly close.elkbush_thumb

 

We decided we had better find a camp spot as it was almost dark. We had a lot to chose from and we picked this spot under the trees and mostly out of the wind.camp_thumb1

 

While Steve was setting up his camp, I walked around and gathered some firewood so we could have a fire as it was a bit on the chilly side with some wind. It’s a good thing I did or we would have had to turn in early as it was I think we made it to around midnight by the camp fire.

 

Day two at Usal Creek

Tuesday March 29, 2016 Usal Creek CA.

The next day we slowly got it going deciding we’d mostly take it easy today. camp_thumb2

 

I noticed this fresh rub on a small tree by our camp.  Some of the elk are getting their new horns.hornrub_thumb1

 

We decided to have a look around so we hopped in Steve’s jeep and drove around a bit to have a look at the place.

First we went down to the ocean parking lot here, looking back to the trees where our camp spot is, just above center.parking_thumb1

 

We walked north up along where the creek enters the ocean. Steve was looking for a place to try fishing.mouth_thumb3

 

This was our view looking back down the ocean beach over the creek south. There are some real nice sandy beaches down that way.southbeach_thumb1

 

I assigned the job of firewood to Steve which he piles on that rack on the back of his rig.stevewood_thumb1

 

We looked at some spots on Usal creek which has a lot of water in it right now from the recent rains.creek2_thumb

 

We tried the dirt road that goes up north from here, but found the gate locked for the winter, so that was out.

Returning down that road, we stopped to explore some camp spots and these guys approached us saying they could use our help.

Seems they were out back packing up along the coast and when they returned to their car to leave, the thing wouldn’t turn over, so they requested a jump. Steve took good care of them and got them going.deadcar_thumb

 

They left and we explored around the camp spots some more and eventually decided to go back out to the upper camp spot I stopped at on the way in so Steve could have a look.

It has a nice view, but is in the wind too much for this time of year.hillcampview_thumb

 

We could see some of the elk grazing across the hill from us.hillelk_thumb

 

Steve tried his hand at fishing in the ocean but didn’t do any good. He did have a bunch of excuses like most fishermen for why the fishing was bad. :O)

While cruising around the camp area today we did find a sign that said it costs twenty five bucks to camp here per night, but lucky for us the season hasn’t started yet. That’s a lot more than I’d pay for a primitive camp site.

Steve got a good stash of wood in so we had a nice campfire and stayed up late.nightcamp_thumb

 

That was our day.

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