Read Brian Richter's latest blog post on his recent trip in northern California:
In September I had the opportunity to visit the mouth of the Mattole River in northern California, which marks the northern boundary of the magnificent King Range National Conservation Area near Petrolia. Within the NCA you’re able to walk the longest, wildest remaining stretch of California’s coast: beautiful black sand beaches, tidal pools, vertical sea cliffs, crashing surf, barking sea lions, and, most importantly, soul-satisfying solitude.
To get there requires traveling for a couple of hours down a long, winding, steep and rutted mountainous road. But when you finally arrive at the beach, any remnant travel stress quickly fades with the misty clouds of moisture evaporating from the sea.
The Mattole River does not reach the ocean during the summer months. Each year, as winter rains and high river flows dwindle to a trickling stream, the powerful and persistent push of ocean waves at the river mouth piles sand high up onto the beach, blocking and sealing off the river’s passage. The naturally impounded river becomes a quiescent pool in summer. Only the massive driftwood logs piled along the river’s banks presage the magical transformation that in winter will turn this now-placid river into a roiling, turbid, force of nature. Continue reading on Brian's blog.