Walking Ft. Bragg

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Pomo Bluffs Park

March 9, 2016.  Ft. Bragg is a haven for people who love to walk.  So far we’ve visited two walking areas in town, Pomo Bluffs Park which is on the south end of town and the trestle bridge over Pudding Creek, which is on the north side.  This trail runs along an old road named MacKerricher Road which follows the coastline north toward MacKerricher State Park.

Pomo Bluffs Park

On Monday morning I took Harley to Pomo Bluffs Park.  The wind was wild because a storm was brewing and he found this very invigorating.  He ran with his ears flapping in the wind and if he hadn’t been on a leash he may have run off a cliff.

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Harley straining to run towards the cliff, about as oblivious to danger as a toddler heading for traffic.

Although the walking trail is fairly short it is well maintained and level with many benches for stopping and enjoying the beauty of the area.  Its wheelchair and dog friendly.

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Level and wide trail for everybody

This incredibly beautiful trail provides an overlook to the Pacific Ocean where it intersects with the Noyo River.  The surf was high and silt from the river is evident where its been stirred up after the turbulent storms we had over the weekend.  The bluff is named Chicken Point.  Its here sailers would come to check the weather.  This was where they would decide to head out for the day or “Chicken Out”, if the weather seemed too fickle.  The lumber trade employed the most people in the area, followed by the fishing industry.

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Entrance to Noyo Bay
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Rough waters and wind blew ocean foam onto the trail, resembling soap suds floating through the air
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This Monterey Cypress sits alone on the bluff opposite the Noyo River
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This cool house overlooks the bluffs. Its fairly new but follows the traditional architecture of the area.
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These crows were riding the currents, flying in formation like fighter planes
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The same crows, gaining altitude and headed west over the ocean
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A thatch of Lily of the Valley flowers overlooking the beach by the river entrance
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Man made sea wall with fog horn and lights which guards the entrance to the Noyo River and Noyo Harbor

Over the years various methods were employed to transport people across the Noyo.  A ferry was used in the mid 1800s, then a toll bridge was built, followed by a draw bridge which was opened in 1887 but was immediately deemed problematic because if one sat atop a stagecoach it was necessary to duck to keep from banging your head against the overhead beams.  The current bridge was constructed because one which had been built after WWII was deemed not earthquake safe.

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Bridge on Hwy. 1 over the Noyo River. Noyo Harbor in the distance

The Trestle over Pudding Creek

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Trail overlooking the area just north of Glass Beach

Heading out from the parking lot we were told by people coming off the trail that they had seen a lot of whales.  Sure enough, there was a huge pod of whales right off the coast and we saw many surfacing right where the waves began to break.  We hadn’t brought the telephoto lens for Bruce’s camera, but by blowing up some of the pictures we took I was able to capture a couple of shots showing the whales.

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Whale’s fluke and flippers are evident, as is air coming from its blow hole.
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Here its possible to see how close to the beach the whales were, as the waves are beginning to break in the forefront.

Even without the whale sightings this park is an eye feast.

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Another storm is due tonight and the sky adds to the loveliness

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So many of California’s native plants have been choked out by ice plant, which was once touted as a great plant to help with erosion.  I’ve rarely seen a beach where native plants thrive as freely as they do here.

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Baby Blue Eyes Nemophila menziesii

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This trestle bridge, built in 1915 was part of the 10 Mile Railroad.  The railroad was constructed to bring in lumber from north of the town to the lumberyards in Ft. Bragg.

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The trestle bridge is now a great walking/biking trail
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Pudding Creek from the bridge, looking south toward downtown Ft. Bragg
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Ocean side of the bridge
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Several hotels line MacKerricher Road, overlooking the Pacific

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The hill was lined with Calla Lilies.  I wonder if they were planted years ago when a home overlooked these cliffs.

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Calla Lillies have naturalized along the bluff
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A few iris clump among the lilies

This lone egret waded out in the shallows of the mouth of Pudding Creek and the Pacific Ocean

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Egret preening in the surf

The people of Ft. Bragg have done a great job of providing access to the natural beauty that makes their town unique.