Thinking I’d head to Bodega Bay for a recent three-days off, I packed a few camping essentials and headed out. Rambled west, reached Bodega but visions of a quieter, more solitary experience propelled me further north. Last time up this way a sign marking Meyers Grade Rd. caught my attention (blame it on the winding one lane road sign). Completely fogged in that time I filed it under “to-do.” This time, with excellent visibility, up the steep road I went.
This says it all:
Several farms spread off the road with grazing land rolling eastward and down improbably steep hillsides to west. There are some 1500-2200′ named peaks back there and a couple redwood preserves. Hmmm…
After (?) 10 miles parallel to the coast you point downhill towards the ocean on Ross Rd. The southernmost Russian-American Company settlement, Fort Ross attempted to supply its Alaskan posts with agricultural products and lumber. This lasted from 1812 to 1841. I’d heard from a docent, my last visit to the park, an old orchard was up here. Found it! After passing through a dark, moist, protected grove of Redwood trees the orchard appears.
Scented apple blossoms tipped me into a drunken stupor:
In 1814, 260 trees were inventoried including apple, pear, cherry, peach, bergamot and some grape vines. A couple pear trees over 100 years old still produce plenty of fruit. The youngest apple trees were planted in the 1980’s from cuttings thought to be from some of the original trees tended by the Russians.
Looking down upon the Fort:
Patches of trees exist now:
A palpable sense of calm and peace exists here. These noble old trees deserve respect. It’s a special place. If you visit, please tread lightly and be kind to the elders there.
And watch out for the holes left in the ground from grazing cows. I found one the hard way. Good thing the ground was soft.
Sunset’s promise pried me away to my destination. Arrived at Salt Point in time to view a helluva sunset. Camped just above the water. Waves make a superb lullaby.