The Desolation


More views of the Roughs. I posted a picture earlier this year a few miles north from this area.

This unique area is where large blocks of sandstone have been offset from the rest of the earth through tectonic processes. A large fault called the Eaton Roughs Fault Zone runs between the Mad River and the Van Duzen. There is a good description of the area for all you geology nerds here. The processes have created these strips of sandstone where apparently some layers have more developed soils than others. Most of the areas are barren, and have sporadic communities of manzanita and whitethorn. Then there are the junipers? over a understory of various manzanita species. Lastly, where layers have better developed soils, there are strips of Douglas-fir forests. This has to be one of the most interesting landscapes in Humboldt County.


    1. Sadly thats not going to be easy. All this land is private, and generally they dont give up public access. Next time I run into the owners Ill see what they think and email you.

  1. Really unusual and often rare, endemic plants grow in areas like this. I looked in Calflora and there are almost no plant species records for Eaton Roughs. There could be some undiscovered/undescribed plant species there. My interest are extreme soils/environments and endemic plant species. I am a professional botanist and would love to botanize the Roughs. Any chance you might be able to facilitate access for us botanists to visit? Thanks. Ryan O’Dell – South Coast Range botanist, out of Hollister

    1. Sadly I can not. However, there are similar habitats on South Fork Mountain and in the Yolla Bolly that are on public lands, and I think you could explore similar habitats there.

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