Lost Coast Trail – Day 1

Matthole Beach to Spanish Flats Campsite – 8.4 miles

After a good night of having a couple drinks, reuniting with long lost trail friends, etc. we were a little achy.  We had arranged a shuttle to pick us up and drive us to the northern terminus of the Lost Coast Trail, as we had parked at the southern terminus, and would hike back.  The shuttle was Lost Coast Adventures.  The drive is 3 hours to matthole beach, there is no easy way to get back and forth, so we chose to shuttle.  For around $300 for the 6 of us, we had a solo hiker join us and hop on in.  The shuttle driver was awesome, drove us through the redwoods, told us the history of the land and eventually we arrived at Matthole beach.


We were at Matthole beach around 1pm.  The wind was wicked, and it stung.  A lot.  Luckily I had bought some cheap sunglasses at a gas station just outside of SF.  I was fully lubed with SPF and had my stunner shades on, I was ready.  We ate lunch, however and hung out hiding from the vicious winds for an hour.  And then… we started.

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Sick.  Like, so sick.  Call out of work sick.  So beautiful, I don’t need to write words about it.  Just show some pictures.  This blog is easy.  In fact, this trail was easy.  Sand in your shoes and in your eyes and in just about everything you can imagine.  That is a good problem to have, in my point of view.  We breezed through the first section, against the stinging winds that hit us like an angry hail storm.  I took way too many pictures.  Eventually we hit Punta Gorda Lighthouse.  I thought I saw some dead sea lions, and then DSCN1035 DSCN1036 DSCN1041

They’re ALIVE!  We just stared at them and then had an epiphany…. Nap time!


After this, the hiking was so easy we just breezed passed the first campsite, as we passed almost 20 hikers heading the same way.  Ever since the Appalachian Trail, crowded campsites give me the heebeejeebies.  No thanks!  So we left a message for our slower hikers that we crept on, and wrote them a big beautiful trail sign in the sand.  Because – we’re on the beach and we HAVE TO play in the sand.

We made it to Spanish Flats with enough time to set up camp, eat, and watch the ever so slooooowwww sun set.  This might have been the most beautiful place I have ever camped at.  Don’t believe me, just watch.

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Lost Coast Trail – Getting lost and getting there (Usal Beach Campground)

It is important to note that you will get lost, trying to find the Lost Coast Trail.  It is also important to note, that the 6 miles of dirt road will cause you to leave with a collapsed motor mount, and cracked suspension of your 2008 Nissan Altima.  DSCN1023

The drive from San Diego to Usal Beach Campground was awesome, and awful at the same time.  I was so hungover leaving San Francisco, but so distracted by the beauty of the 1 that I was just confused of what to feel.  I was so hungover, in fact, that I forgot to print the directions to get to Usal Beach campground.  This link should help you get there. I didn’t read the part about the dirt road at mile 90.88 on highway 1 after leaving Leggett.  I also didn’t realize I would have zero cell phone service at all.  Neither did I realize that there would be no signs pointing you in the right direction.  Not one.  I drove all the way to Westport Beach.  I was hungover, and confused.  I finally got 1 bar of reception around Westport Beach and quickly looked up how to get there.

Heading SOUTH on the 1 from Leggett, find mile marker 90.88, and turn right onto Usal road (unmarked).  Since I was now heading North from Westport to Leggett, I found the mile marker and turned left.  I made it to the road!

The road was my worst nightmare.  I bottomed out too many times to count.  A big ol truck would have been helpful.  My 4 door sedan was screaming at me.  I quote “Usal Road is a narrow, winding, sometimes steep dirt road that was at one time a part of the stage line between San Francisco and Eureka. During the rainy season this road is impassable for most vehicles and is not recommended for trailers or large RV’s anytime of the year.”

I finally made it down the 6 miles to the vague and unmarked campground to find a TON of people just absolutely raging down there.  Still no service.  I was meeting 6 people there, and was concerned that I might never find them.  I was in the twilight zone.  But it was beautiful!

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After driving around for 20 minutes, I found GOAT and Roc Doc awaiting me.  They had not brought beer (mistake) but I did (hero).  We started chugging and laughing about how terrible the road was to our cars, and if we would find Gandalf later on.  We made a sign out of a piece of notebook paper and a pen, which was illegible and unnoticable if you were in a moving car.

However they found us, we were all reunited, we drank, shared stories, and mentally prepared for the next week.  We were finally at Usal Beach Campground, and tomorrow – we would be starting our adventure on the famed Lost Coast Trail!IMG_5606 IMG_5608 IMG_5609

Lost Coast Trail – Final Countdown

I leave for the trail tomorrow morning.  I have crossed every T and dotted every i, and by that, I mean I waited until the last minute, had a couple beers, and tried to stuff everything into a backpack.

I am using my ULA Circuit backpack that I used on my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail last year.  Yes, it has holes in it, and the frame is broken, but no big deal.  I figure, this is a 60 mile hike, what is the worst that can happen?  The plan is to drive to San Diego tomorrow morning, arriving as early as possible to allow myself amazing beach access, and day drinking.  I am staying the night at a friends house downtown at the Gaslamp district (uh oh).  The next morning I will be heading to San Fransisco where yet another friend has offered to host myself, for a little more drinking and sightseeing.  The next morning I head out at 9 am to Usal Beach, In the Sinkyone wilderness, which happens to be the southern terminus of the Lost Coast Trail.  I have never heard of this place, so I googled it, and this has some great information about the place I know nothing about.

Usal Beach

I will hopefully find this place, and I am meeting 4 other thru-hikers and some friends at the campground.  Gandalf, Kamikaze, GOAT, and Roc Doc are all partaking.  As well as Gandalfs friends Bob and Jeff.  Bob had made some appearances on my blog when I hiked the Appalachian Trail.  He had provided us with great trail magic, and the best trail ending party EVER.  So I am pretty excited to have them all come around.

By far the most informative information I found on the Lost Coast Trail was written by a previous Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker the Badger, who has an amazing blog about hiking etc.  Appalachian Trials Lost Coast Trail

One more addition to this hike that I had not encountered before was locating a bear canister.  A bear canister is necessary to hike the Lost Coast Trail, and without one you can get a huge fine.  I bought the bear vault from REI and it is BULKY.  So now I have an ultralight backpack (ULA) crammed together with my gear and a bear canister.  I do not have much room for fun in there!


Looks cool huh?  Try putting it in your backpack.  I also went grocery shopping here in AZ because groceries in California are outrageous.  I am back on “the diet”.


Now that IS fun!  A whole weeks worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner right there.

SO, once arriving at the campground, finding my long lost friends, and drinking, we will be shuttled the next morning to the trail 4 hours north, and hike back to our cars.  I am PRETTY sure we used this one.  http://www.lostcoastshuttle.com/

But Gandalf did all the leg work on this one, so I get to sit back and just pay it.  The shuttle will drop us off up North, ALSO resupply us when we get halfway done, and something about picking us up at the end.  This will all cost $500, which ends up being about $75 a person.  Doable.

I am VERY excited, and am excited to share this experience with you.

Lost Coast Trail – July 18 2015

The Lost Coast photoIt’s a new summer and time for a new adventure!  The plan is to hike the entire Lost Coast Trail in northern California.  This section includes both the beautiful Mendocino and Humboldt counties.  From my understanding, the Pacific Coast Highway (US 1) travels the entire length of the West Coast.  However, when developers encountered the King Range they decided the land far too unstable to develop a highway.  This resulted in 80 or so miles of untouched and almost inaccessible coastline in Northern California.  The nearest highway (101) is about 35 miles from the coast.  The result, one of the most remote wilderness areas in the state, and I am going to hike it!


Hiking, relaxing, going to bed, and waking up on the beach every day for about a week!  I’m so excited.  If you guys have followed any blogs of 2014 Appalachian Thru Hikers, there are a couple coming with me.  Gandalf, Goat, Roc Doc, and Kamikaze are all fellow thru hikers last year, and are coming with me on this journey.

197867Once again, I invite you to join me on this adventure.  I will create a daily blog, and publish once I have service.  (There is almost no service in the area).  There will be TONS of pictures, and I will have one more blog up about preparation before I go.  Preparation includes getting a map of the area, bear canister, shuttle info, etc.  This will be helpful if any of you are planning a hike of the Lost Coast Trail in the future!

d34db711d2e8e65cd00533f9d6f47e36Departure date is set for July 18.  I will be driving to San Diego, and up the Cali Coast, hitting LA and SF on the way, and camping with Gandalf, Goat, Roc Doc, and Kamikaze on the 17th, the shuttle taking us to our remote location on the 18th.

Afterwards, the plan is to go up to the Del Norte Redwoods, and take our time driving the entire Pacific Coast Highway on the way back to San Diego.  I look forward to the trip, and sharing it with you!



Road Trip Part 3 – Olympia Washington – Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego

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Road Trip – Part 2 – Grand Forks, ND to Olympia Beach Park – Washington

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6500 mile Road Trip – Part 1 – Maine to Grandforks, North Dakota.

I found myself in heaven after a while.  3-4 weeks had passed since I had finished my hike, and I was bouncing between Cushing Maine (and that big beautiful comfortable vacation house that I wish was mine) and New Hampshire with the girl I was hanging out with, and Swazey was ALWAYS at a beach.  IMG_4018

But it came down to the point where summer was winding down, and I knew I was running low on funds.  I still had to drive back to Phoenix (gas money, places to stay, food) and I also had only rented out my house until September 1st.  For me, there were 2 ways to go home.  Straight to Phoenix, which would be a no fun 3 day road trip.  OR a spur of the moment whatever I felt like road trip, where I could camp everywhere and go see places like the Redwoods!  OH and I have never been north of Santa Barbara California!  Whaaaaaat.  I knew I wanted to go to the Northwest.  Guy on a Buffalo (a fellow thru-hiker) offered me a place to stay in Olympia Washington, so I vaguely knew where I was going.

I put the dog in the car, said bye to my super amazing parents, my friends, and the East Coast.  I stopped down in Hartford Connecticut for lunch to see my friend Monika who I NEVER get to see because she just moved back from Italy, and set my sights on Ohio.  I didn’t know where I was going, I just knew how long I wanted to drive.  I picked a town not far away and googled campgrounds near it.  I found an AWESOME one, no idea of the name.  I instantly met a guy fishing with loud music drinking beers and made him my best friend for the day.  He let me fish with him, we caught 3 bass, he taught me how to filet the fish and then we cooked them over a camp fire.  I found out he was living at the campground for the last 6 months, because he likes being outside.  He works as a metal welder but just liked camping.  I love his style.

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The next morning, I awoke to the most BEAUTIFUL sunrise over the fishing pond.

IMG_4039  Friggin surreal right?!  Damn I love camping.  So I did a little digging with my phone.  I found a GREAT website for car camping.  Did you know you can car camp the entire US for FREE?  I didn’t.  I paid $15 for that campsite the night before.  But that was literally the last one for a while.  www.freecampsites.net allows you to input a destination, and find FREE campsites within 50 miles of your destination.  They also post paid campsites if you want to be a snob.  Some paid sites are really dope of course.  This was the greatest information ever!  I wish someone had told me about this long ago.  I found some of the most remote and beautiful campsites because of this website.

Anyways, I b-lined it to Cedar Rapids Iowa next, because why not?  Also I have a lot of friends there.  I ended up staying there for about 3-4 days for free on someones couch and it was just a giant binge drinking week.  Swazey loved it too,

IMG_4040 IMG_4041 My favorite B’s in Iowa.

For my next trick, I decided to take a guy (another thru hiker I met on the trail, named Uffda) up on his offer for me to come crash at his place in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  Shit, I had never been to North Dakota, so why not?!?  PLUS, it takes me right through Minnesota, and there is another place I’ve never been to…  I found the dopest dog park outside of Minneapolis using yelp or something like that, it was 25 acres with huge lakes and all that.  Swazey went nuts and got very very dirty.

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Now that I had mud in my car, I moved on.  The sky was beautiful on and off, rainstorms in the distance, or sometimes on top of me.  BUT I WAS IN A CAR!  HA!  Take that mother nature!  (Hiking the Appalachian Trail had mother nature making me its bitch).  IMG_4050 IMG_4056

Well, I made it to Grandforks, and Uffda showed me the hockey stadium that city is apparently famous for.  It’s called the Taj Mahal of hockey, and cost $104 million dollars to build.  Former NHL hockey player Wayne Gretzky has called the structure “one of the most beautiful buildings we have in North America”.  So what the fuck, I went and saw it.

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Cash Money!  This road trip is a blast, and is a lot to share… SOOOOOO I will write more about it soon!

Post Appalachian Trail life – Never go home

Once you finish a trip like the Appalachian Trail, you are not going to want to go home, or anywhere that resembles normality.  I feel pity for the people that had to finish on a specific date and go right back to the real world, albeit they must have been doing something important, and so good for them.  I had no inclination to go back home.  In fact, it took me over 1 and a half months to go home.  I spent most of my time up in Maine, relaxing on the coast with my parents and my trail friend Fresh.

IMG_3949 The house in Maine is DOPE IMG_3950 IMG_3952  A little Ocean Kayaking IMG_3954 IMG_3968  Sunsets and dogs IMG_3971 IMG_3972 Lobstah! IMG_3975 IMG_3976 Oyster hunting IMG_3978

I returned once in a while to New Hampshire, where I had started seeing a girl who lived on the beach.  She had a dog and the beach was dog friendly after 7pm and before 9 am.  Swazey loved it!

IMG_3986 Rye beach IMG_3988 IMG_3990Dogs and best friends from HS IMG_4003 IMG_4017DOG BEACH! IMG_4018

A month and half of this, no worries, and you can see why I might not have ever made it back ;)  Now, you might think to yourself, what about MONEY?!  You are right… I only spent 2500 on my 5 month Appalachian Trail trip (not counting gear), and had some cash leftover.  I was usually a guest and was not paying to stay anywhere, just a drifter.  I had lots of friends to see and catch up with, I was in no hurry.  Plus… Look at the above pictures, would you leave?  But I knew, Winter is coming.  So my next post will be about the 6500 mile road trip home.  Until next time!

Appalachian Trail – Afterward

7 months ago I finished one of my dreams come true, thru hiking the entire Appalachian Trail!  I hiked with friends, I hiked alone, I took breaks, I canoed, mountain biked, binge drank, ate pop tarts for 5 months straight, I… walked a lot.  After the trip, I had no straight plans to head for home.  I just knew I wanted to explore the country.

I wrote about meeting up with Gandalf and fellow thru hikers Goat Fresh Kamikaze and Figgy, people I had spent a lot of time on the trail with, and it really hit home that I was able to summit with them.  We were invited back to Moosehead Lake by Bob and Jackie who were my ultimate trail angels throughout the hike and partied with them for a couple days.  Afterwards, Fresh and I decided not to go home.  My parents had bought a house on the ocean in Maine, near Cushing and Rockport (way off the map), and we stayed there for a couple weeks.  I invited people up to party, we played tennis, we lounged, we partied with friends close by!  Like hard.  Like my parents got mad at how much we were binge drinking.  THRU HIKERS CAN DRINK!  we played video games (we talked about video games for months) and we cooked and ate so much food, we went ocean kayaking, I found a summer girl friend, it was a beautiful ending.  I want to thank my parents for making this all possible, they were willing to put homeless hikers up in their brand new house.

The road trip will be another post, I wanted to take time and reflect on what I learned from this trip, what I took away, what I could change, and the roller coaster of emotions I went through.  Immediately after finishing, I felt a wave of relief, but also I felt depressed.  This depression would not go away soon.  I ignored it by the fact I had done something so immense and was proud, but that thing I worked so hard for was done… And I no longer had Katahdin in my distance, it was behind me.  After returning to Phoenix (a 3 week, 6000 mile car camping trip done with my dog Shwayze and I, which I will post about soon) I was exhausted.  I was in no hurry to find a job, I still had some money leftover.  I hung out with friends but I found that feeling of being alone amongst people.  They would all ask how the trip was but I feel they wouldn’t grasp what I was talking about, or wouldn’t care.  That feeling will only forever be shared with the people I was on the trip with.  I felt isolated for a very long time, months even.  I had the post trail blues.  I refused to exercise, my diet was still horrible, but I had to move on.

Coming back to the city I was FULL of anxiety.  The way of life, going to bed at 8 and having no responsibility was over.  I am back in my house that I own, things are broken down, I need to fix them, their are 1000s of thoughts flying through my head at full speed.  I got a job serving tables at Hard Rock Cafe, they loved the fact I was a thru hiker.  I had a huge beard when I applied and kept it for quite some time.  Once I was back in the swing of things with work, I started going to the gym again, and eating better.  It took about 6 months for me to see a Dr. about the way I was feeling, and I have been put on some anti-depressants/anxiety medicine.   This has all helped immensly, and I believe time was the greatest cure.  It is, to put it mildly, straining on the body and mind to be having the time of your life with people who mean the world to you, and then to summit and be ripped from everyone you care about, and taken from that life, and put back into what you were escaping from in the first place.  I have read up a lot about post trail depression and I was ready for it, but it hit me hard.  I talked for hours with fellow thru hikers and they helped out a lot.  I did what anyone else would do, I planned my next adventure.

Other than the post trail depression, I took away a lot from this trip.

-Travel alone anywhere with confidence

-New sense of adventure (there are seriously so many adventures out there)

-A new mindset on my future and how to attack my goals (I spent lots of time thinking.. LOTS)  I am going back to school for physical therapy assistant ASAP.

-The ability to trust people again.  This is huge, living in the city can turn you indifferent, you will turn a blind eye to people, it makes you not trust each other, it makes you ignore.  I was helped by complete strangers that at first I didnt trust.  Jimmy (a trail angel that had taken my back pack down the road for me and also helped us in New Found Gap was the first instance of this).  I feel more human now!  I help out whenever I can, I will not turn a blind eye.  People matter to me again.  This was one of the greatest side effects of hiking the trail.

-The feeling that I can do anything I put my mind to.  (Seriously, I just hiked 2200 miles, prove me wrong)

-A deeper understanding between the relationship of humankind and nature.  This is more of a Native American approach to our Mother Earth, but it took me this trip to understand it.  I no longer throw away things on a hike, put trash in a fire pit, etc.  This is what we have, leave it more beautiful than how you found it, because you never know who this location will inspire next!

On a side note… This July, I will be hiking the Lost Coast Trail (Humboldt California) a 56 mile completely on the beach hike, that goes through some red woods!  Gandalf, Goat and Bob the trail magic guru are coming with me.  This trip coming up means the world to me, I get to hike with my fellow hiker family and see a new part of this beautiful beautiful country.  I would love to share it all with you and will do so, and I hope you enjoy it!



Day 152 – Mt. Katahdin!

Abol bridge to Mt. Katahdin – 15.1 miles (plus 5.1 mile hike back to parking lot)

2185.3 / 0.0

So I guess my trip all boils down to this final day.  Everything I have been doing, working for, thinking about, etc for the last 5 months is on this mountain I’m sure.  It just builds up to one last day.  And it was a short day, but it couldn’t have went better.  We were up around 4:30 am because we still had to hike 10 miles BEFORE we got a chance to hike Katahdin.  As I said, the campsites were all full being that it was a weekend.  The 10 miles were breeze though, we were able to do them by 8 am.

We arrived at the ranger station and dropped our packs off.  We are able to pick up loaner packs to do a quick day hike up the mountain.  None of us will need our stoves, sleeping bags, tents etc.  Ran into Sole Power checking in, and hiked with him and Fresh.  We were exhausted, but flying up the mountain.  We passed huge groups of people, nothing could slow us down.  We did get stuck in some lines as the hike became a lot more technical, the boulder section right before the table top.  Could not have asked for better weather, although a bit cold, it was very sunny out.

Immediately after clmbing above treeline, the views were stunning,  We were surrounded by pointy rocky mountains that seemed to tower over the valley below.  The boulders became huge, and there was some rebar set into the rock to help out.  Once on the tabletop, we ran into the 4 girls I had hiked with previously, on their way back.  I chastised them for leaving the mountain so early (it was 10 am) as I wanted a big ol group of homeless hikers to hang out with at top.  They let us know that Gandalf and them were only a couple hundred yards ahead.  Fresh started running.

We ran into Gandalf and Goat right before the summit.  Mind you, I had hiked with these guys on and off since Hot Springs, North Carolina.  Almost 2000 miles on and off.  It was so good to see them once more before the trip ended, especially to get to summit with them.  Once on top, we ran into Figgy and Kamikaze, who I actually havent seen since Virginia.  A great group to be on top with!  I thought I would get emotional, but that did not happen yet, we took a ton of pictures with the sign, Figgy and some others brought beer and champaign up, and I had a couple drinks to celebrate.

This was it!

Afterwards we were invited out to Moosehead lake to party.  Lobsters, boats, drinks, thru hikers, good times!

Thank you all for keeping up with me!














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