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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lost Coast Trail

To say I'm behind would be an under statement. Hopefully I'll get caught up soon. I'll post date these for around the time they should have come up. Things have just been so busy.

For President's Day, I met Justin at Dave's new home in Garberville, CA, middle of Humboldt County. We were going to spend the weekend hiking on the Lost Coast of California. It's called the lost coast because it's an 80 mile section where the soil was too unstable to put the coastal highway along, so it is the largest part of the Pacific shoreline inaccessible by cars.

We got there Friday night. I had a relaxing drive from Sacramento where I had stayed with Vince. On the way up I drove through Brooks, CA and made a pit stop at a redwood grove. Their size and stature is unexplainable. I wish I could climb a ladder to the top of one, just to fully appreciate their size.

We were dropped off at the trail head by Dave's boss and set out on the trail. The first five minutes was the last time we were really dry for the entire trip. We hiked up and across the ridge to kings peak, the tallest point of the range. We couldn't see much of anything the entire time because of the rain and cloud. Crossing the ridge in a rainy, misty cloud made me feel like I was on the AT back in Tennessee. Dave wanted to be tough and never put on his raincoat, and was soaked when we got to camp. Good thing he brought a lot of clothes. We put up our tents and took a nap from 6 - 8.30. We hung out in tents for a bit, then went to bed about 10 and didn't get up till 7. We slept a lot this trip.

It was a vacation, so we didn't want to stress ourselves to much. We hiked down the ridge to a river that led to the ocean. The trail crossed the river three or four times, some places were thigh high. Fortunately no one fell, the water was pretty swift and cold. It didn't really rain for most of the day, a couple times we almost saw the sun.

At the coast we set up camp and the sky began to lift. Not quite a sunset, but it was dry enough to start a fire. We camped on a grass covered bench. There is still a lot of seismic activity in the area and earthquakes have lifted up benches of the ocean floor that now sit above the land. You can see four or five different benches along the beach. It was a real pleasant evening sitting around the fire. We were in bed by 8.30 or 9.

When we woke up the next morning about 8, it was raining. The tide was coming in which makes the coast impassably, so we decided to wait out the rain. About noon, we still hadn't left the tents and the rain was still falling. We rolled around and drifted in and out of sleep. At 2 we decided it was time to get going. Low tide was at 5, and a couple hours before and after the tight places are passable. We got moving about 3 and the rain stopped for the most part.

The hike along the beach was great. It was true wilderness. There was no sign of a trail or even footsteps from anyone else. Just keep the ocean on your right and you are heading the right way. There were a couple tight areas where you had to time the wave to get around the point. Occasionally there would be a large wave that would send you running up the shore. We saw some seals and found some starfish. We even saw an eroding landslide coming off the cliff. There were a couple streams to cross, which would flood when the waves hit. One time Justin was taking off his boots and a rogue wave came on shore. He only had time to grab his boots and pack. I looked back and saw him standing thigh high in the surf.

We could have camped, but decided to hike the last two miles out in the dark fog. It was a great trip and it was good to see Dave and his family. The lost coast is an amazing place and I would recommend it for any trip, just be sure to bring a rain coat.

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