Adventure On The California Lost Coast Trail
When the opportunity arises to plunge into a steep, secluded coast with black sand, the call of wild nature is too difficult for some to resist. That was the matter for me and a group of five other adventurers, this time with their backpack waiting for a whole new experience on the California Lost Coast Trail.
My backpacking buddies Cynthia, Paul, Jim, Sam and their friend Tim have planned and run a four-day and three-day beach tour that is listed as “one of fifty places” on a worldwide list. You must walk before you die.”
This spectacular 68,000-acre preserve is located 200 miles north of San Francisco and is part of California’s “Lost Coast”.’
It’s a 35-mile road where land and sea converge, a spectacular mix of ancient mountains and pristine coastlines – almost untouched by civilization.
Known for its geography and diverse ecosystems, this beautiful coastline is one of the longest pristine beaches in the Pacific.
As I found out, the lost Coast Trail is usually not a trail, but a hike along the water through wet sand, rocks and rocks.
However, a significant part is diverted to the forests, meadows and meadows above the rocky cliffs.
Most of my days on the beach near my house are not the time to find solitude and wild nature.
Lakes and oceanic shorelines in Southern California tend to be lined with homes, jetties, businesses, and parking lots.
I hope this trip brings a whole new experience.
Hiking the Lost Coast Trail
The village of Shelter Cove
The Lost Coast trail begins with a stop in the village of Shelter Cove, 200 miles north of San Francisco.
We got on Interstate 5 until we reached the Bay Area, where the route went to the 580 and then the 101 Freeways.
It’s an all-day trip, but our fatigue is quickly eased over the last 80 kilometers as the road goes around the southern fork of the beautiful eel river.
This is one of the most beautiful stretches of road I have ever traveled.
We try to move quickly, but it is tempting to stop and enjoy the view while driving through the vineyards of the Russian River and the coastal red forests.
We arrive just in time for dinner at Shelter Cove and sleep at the Lost Coast hostel.
Start at Mattole beach: Day 1
After a quick breakfast at the hostel, the six of us load into a rented van with a very experienced local (lostcoastadventures.com ), which takes us on a two-hour journey through the King Range of Coastal Mountains.
The destination is north of Mattole Beach. We found that we could make the way back to Shelter Cove from Mattole and that the dominant wind was all the way behind us.
After a dizzying mountain trek, we tip generously and then say goodbye to the shuttle driver as we lift our loaded backpacks onto our backs and head out into the windy morning.
None of us would see another car, truck, or road for nearly four days.
On Mattole beach, a sign at the beginning of the trail reads: “leave at least three days to explore the wild coast. Hardy wanderers are rewarded with solitude and ever-changing views.”
This sign is more than accurate, as the views are constantly changing, and other walkers are rarely experienced.
After passing through a series of dunes, we are greeted by sunny sea lions and endless sapphire-green water.
We are amazed by the vastness of the wild beach, the black Hawaiian sand and the realization for some of us that this unique hike is finally underway.
We bypass harmful oaks, jump over small streams and climb cliffs, where we can finally see the 100-year-old Punta Gorda lighthouse, our perfectly timed lunch break.
The building was not lit a few decades ago to warn ships, but it still serves as a beacon for lost coastal walkers.
Freed from our heavy backpacks and with our tired backs against the white walls of the tower, we eat and watch the seals play in the surf below.
Our original plan for the first day is to walk about five miles to the start of the first impassable zone.
However, it’s even earlier in the afternoon and the tide is more than an hour away, so begins a discussion that turns into a sweet argument as to whether we should move on or not.
There is no suitable campsite, so some of us insist that we continue. As a less coherent group, we go into the not-known.
Several parts of the trail go underwater at high tide, so a tide chart is essential to cross this area.
Our Lost Coast Trail permit instructions include a warning that people have died after being trapped in rocks and waves.
Therefore, we are pushing ourselves, because we are not sure of the conditions.
As we approach our newly planned campground, about 2.5 miles from the impassable area, the tide begins to reach the cliff, and our rush soon turns into a series of desperate falls on the rocky terrain and the tidal waves of the tide.
I’m starting to grow concerned about the ability to reach our goal as the water rises above our ankles and loose rocks we have to walk on for the last mile.
Around the last cliff we move to a secluded canyon along cooskie Creek and pitch our tents a few hundred meters from the sea.
We have the camp to ourselves-with the exception of some deer.
Once this becomes the norm, we move around the water every evening and watch the sunset before returning to the campfire.
That first night, Cynthia and I packed a special surprise to celebrate Sam’s birthday-two bottles of plonk and the ingredients for s’mores!
This little surprise birthday party lifts everyone’s spirits after a day of effort and anxiety.
after, sleep is not difficult, because the rumbling waves and the murmur of a wavy stream soothe our sleep.
Going to the big apartment: Day 2
Low tide this week is in the middle to the end of the morning.
Since we’re already halfway to the first impassable area, we only have two miles left before we’re clear for the day.
After coffee, breakfast and a morning campfire, we set off for our longest day.
We alternate between traveling in a group or in pairs. Jim always wants to be a little early in the morning because this is his very first hiking trip.
He claims to be slow, but walks like a champion. However, it is so methodical that it deserves the track name “metronome”.’
At 10 o’clock, we are at the end of the first impassable area. We all take a break, have a drink at Randall Creek, fill our water bottles and enjoy the scenery.
Only ten miles to get to our next camp at Big Flat.
Our second day changes with each kilometer traveled and we experience a variety of circumstances. The morning starts calm and cool.
After our first break, the cold wind increases a lot, and although it is behind our back, it sometimes pushes us, whether we like it or not.
It is difficult to cross streams, to balance yourself on a log bridge to catch the wind from your backpack and almost throw yourself into the stream.
The ground conditions also change a bit on this stretch – from sand to sand and rocks to rocks and hard bag trails.
We discovered a stock of huge whale beans late in the morning, the only remnant of a giant stranded on this lonely coast.
Each of its vertebrae is larger than the basketball, and we can only imagine the scale of the whole animal.
At noon we have an infinite, strong, cold wind from the sea, and our only relief can be found in a stream canyon or a very large rock.
In addition to the wind, we find it difficult to walk kilometer after kilometer, dragging heavy packs in the sand.
Our feet sink and slide with every step. Sometimes we can walk in each other’s footprints to make it a little easier.
Other times we will look for flat rocks and offering some traction. When we are on a difficult track, we feel like superman.
In the late afternoon, we are on a grassy plateau.
This turns out to be the beginning of Big Flat, an area that is the drainage of Kings Peak, a mountain that Cynthia, Sam, Tim and I hiked earlier in the week, and the highest point in Humboldt County at 4,088 feet.
We find a flat and windless place to camp along the stream.
After dinner, we stand on the beach again and look west as the sun sets below the horizon. It was about a 12-mile day. We are broken and ready to sleep.
Before climbing into our tents, however, we take advantage of the last fire that goes out and we look in the direction of the trail, where we see the distant shimmering lights of Shelter Cove – our goal in two days.Tags: Adventure, Lost Coast Trail, Nature