On the west end of town in Ferndale stands a gate with an arrow pointing towards Capetown and Petrolia. This is Mattole Road. If you’re curious enough to hook that turn and head up the little road with no line up the middle, you will be handsomely rewarded with treasure.

Heading up Mattole Rd in Ferndale

Now, you won’t get your reward all at once. Like the plot of a good book, it will make itself known with a slow build.

The narrow road begins with an ascent into the trees. In many places the road seems like it’s barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other. But it feels just right for a motorcycle.

The draw of the road, the landscape – they give the distinct sensation that you are somewhere else in the world. Can this possibly be the same California I grew up seeing on television?

Kenny on Mattole Rd

Climbing gradually, you crest into golden rolling hills.

The road gently coerces you to slow down, to take your time and drink it. Save for a few lucky cows who have the greatest grazing place on Earth there doesn’t seem to be another soul around.

cows on Mattole Rd

Before long, you will find yourself looking out to the edge of the world. The horizon line gets on its tippy-toes, peeks over the curve of the land and beckons you to come down to put your toes in the ocean.

The ocean on Mattole Rd

Once there, you have the beach all to yourself. Now, if that isn’t a treasure, I don’t know what is.

This feeling of expanse, of freedom,.. this place – I cannot help but cherish it. This lost coast is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

View photos at SmugMug