The Oregon coast: finding the Californian redwoods
Photographer Roger Bool is enchanted by wild beaches and humbling forests down Interstate 101
Interstate 101 goes all the way down the west coast of America and it’s one of the world’s great highways. We started our trip where they shot The Goonies, at Haystack Rock, just north of Portland. It’s one of many sea stacks on Oregon’s coast and is a great place from which to head south down a shoreline that gives you a real sense of the vastness of America, how wild and empty it can be. Walking over the never-ending sand dunes you get an inkling of what it must have been like to go west as a pioneer.
We had booked a couple of places but mostly we just winged it – staying in mom-and-pop motels, glamping sites, cabins in the woods – and that meant we were free to go at our own pace and explore the many hiking trails and loops. The landscape is unpredictable and exciting – you’re in forest one minute, sand dunes the next, then open beaches with massive views, before you disappear again into the forest – and so you don’t want to plan too much, you just want to experience it as it happens.
From Oregon, we crossed the border into California and the Redwood National and State Parks. Just south of Klamath, we left the 101 for the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway, which runs through the woods and is the access point for various groves and single-lane tracks which run deep into the forest. Each is completely different; some are really lush, green and quite humid, the ground completely covered in ferns and the trees all standing; in others the enormous trees have collapsed and everything is red and brown. And the temperature shifts were amazing, the open coast was roasting hot, but as soon as you got into the trees it cooled massively, and everything felt slower and more muted. It’s hard to overstate how big the trees are, four metres across, and standing beside them is profoundly humbling. The scale, the smell, the stillness – the whole thing is like some cinematic fantasy land.
From discovering secret surf spots in the Yucatán, getting under the skin of Tel Aviv, or sniffing out the best pastries in Paris, join the fastest growing community of in-the-know travellers sharing firsthand experiences of the greatest places on earth, delivered straight to your inbox every week.