While most of this 638,000-acre National Forest is in Oregon, about 54,000 acres are in the state of California. Terrain here is mountainous, with some elevations over 6,000 feet. Included is a large portion of the 20,234-acre Red Buttes Wilderness.

Camping and campfires are generally allowed throughout the area, except where posted otherwise. A fire permit is necessary in order to have a campfire or use a stove. For more information see the Rogue River National Forest listing in the Oregon chapter.


Grey seal pups are very curious, playful creatures and can even become a nuisance when they sneak up and tug at your fins, often when you are least expecting it. They will swim underneath you to pop up close in front of your mask, which can be quite unnerving, to say the least. Pups regularly come right up to the boat but we have twice been amazed to have a young seal actually climb over the side of the RIB and look curiously around at the diving equipment before slipping back over the side again. It is common, when swimming through the narrow gullies on the east side of Crumstone and in Brada off Longstone, to see seals lying fast asleep on the bottom, looking very much as if they were dead. A little tap on the rump usually sends them off like a Polaris missile – sometimes, though, in the wrong direction. I’m sure there must be dozens of unsuspecting divers who have thought they had found a dead seal, only to get the shock of their lives when the seal came back to life. Like most people, I always believed that seals clambered out onto rocks when they needed to sleep, and they do obviously rest on them: they can be seen with their eyes closed, their head poking out of the water, as if looking up at the sky. In fact, seals sleep quite comfortably on the water surface by automatically closing their nostrils and keeping enough air in their lungs to stay buoyant, while to stay on the sea floor they have to be less buoyant so automatically reduce the amount of air in their lungs. When a seal needs to return to the surface to replenish the air supply, it will somewhat lazily and slowly swim to the surface, still with its eyes tightly closed and fast asleep. Its body functions tell it what to do, again automatically, just like someone sleepwalking.

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