Saturday, October 26, 2019
On our last day in Klamath, we decided to get out and explore north to Crescent City. After a tasty breakfast at the Log Cabin Diner, we couldn't resist a drive through the Tour Thru Tree just across the street from the diner.
Unfortunately, we didn't take the kayaks off before leaving camp. The Tour Thru Tree became the Back Out Tree!
As we drove north on the 101, we read a little about Crescent City. In 1850, there were rich finds of gold along the Klamath River and tributaries. Trappers from the town of Klamath City, established near the Mouth of the Klamath, started exploring north of the Klamath River and found a crescent bay that might be favorable as a harbor. By 1853, the harbor area had been surveyed into town lots. The new town was dubbed Crescent City and incorporated in 1854. The harbor proved a favorable spot for newcomers heading to the inland gold fields. Here is an aerial view of Crescent City Harbor.
After a very successful stop at the local Ace Hardware, we decided to check out the Battery Point Lighthouse & Museum. We had about an hour to wait for the museum to open, so we took a long walk out the jetty pictured above. We were intrigued by the odd shapes piled up at the end of the breakwater. Turns out they were dolosse. A dolos works by dissipating, rather than blocking, the energy of waves. The design of dolosse deflects most wave action energy to the side, making them more difficult to dislodge than objects of a similar weight presenting a flat surface.
Each dolos consists of concrete with steel rods, weighing 42 tons. There are more than 750 dolosse in place; 20 of them have transmitters to monitor possible movement. As we turned and headed back to shore, we could see the Battery Point Lighthouse peeking above the dolosse.
Battery Point Light was one of the first lighthouses on the California coast. In 1855, Congress appropriated $15,000 for the construction of a lighthouse on the tiny islet. The fourth-order Fresnel lens was lit in 1856. The lighthouse was automated in 1953, and a modern 14.8-inch lens replaced the previous fourth-order Fresnel lens.
The only way to reach the lighthouse is across a narrow strip of rocky beach at low tide. When the tide comes in, the walkway is underwater! Until low tide, anyone on the island (including the lighthousekeeper!) is on their own.
By the time we finished our jetty walk, the tide had receded and we could see the path across. Once we reached the island, Kathy stopped to admire the breaching whale created from an old tree trunk.
Battery Point Lighthouse was built in a Cape Cod style, with a central brick tower protruding from the roof of a one-and-a-half-story stone keeper’s dwelling.
The 1964 Alaska earthquake, the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the northern hemisphere, caused a tsunami that reached all the way down the Pacific Coast to Crescent City and its bay. The lighthouse survived. Crescent City was hit by four tidal waves waves that arrived just before midnight. A monster swell flooded the town, killing 12 people and causing an estimated $15 million in damage.
We had a chance to tour the museum and climb up to the lamp room. From our vantage point, we could look down on the Monterey cypress trees planted by one of the keepers over 100 years ago.
Climbing all those lighthouse stairs builds up a powerful thirst. What better way to quench it than a flight of local craft brews from nearby SeaQuake Brewing?
We are hoping to continue south down the 101 toward Mendicino. We are keeping an eye out for the wildfires and power outages. Stay tuned.