Fundy Footpath Day 1

Point Wolfe campsite to Big Salmon River – 2 hour taxi ride.  Followed by hiking from Big Salmon River to Little Salmon River – 17.9 km.

Alexi showed up at whatever time I had asked of him, I even changed the time on him last minute as I forgot that there was another time difference when we crossed over to Canada into New Brunswick.  He brought coffee, he was friendly, he told us all about the sites, and even stopped and showed us his favorite spots while telling us the history.  He tried to stop at a restaurants for world famous seafood chowder before we departed but it was closed as we asked him to leave so early.  Put him in as one of your options.  You can contact Alexei Kalinin for more information at –

Alexei

Go Fundy Тours
(506) 898-1312

He happened to be our cheapest option, and the experience was great, so just wanted to put that out there for those who are interested in taxi options.  The plan was to hike back to our car at Point Wolfe Campground (yes you can park for free).

2 of Alexis favorite spots on the way to Big Salmon River (the Western Terminus)

Now, the hike – Day 1 – Big Salmon River to Little Salmon River

17.9 km (11.12 miles)

FYI, there is available water everywhere.  Do not worry yourself with packing too much, I carried just over 1.5 liters at each water location, and never ran out.

Big Salmon River is the Western Terminus of the Fundy Footpath, and has a visitor center complete with bathrooms and a shop in case you forgot anything.  They ask for your emergency contact information, estimated date of finishing and they WILL contact you if they do not hear back from you by the time you are done.  This turned out to be a dangerous trek, and we met a couple people who were rescued from this hike the year before.  Fun!  The most important info to take away, if you do call 911, you must tell them you are in New Brunswick, as all call GPS are rerouted to Nova Scotia, and they will spend all their time searching for you there.

We signed in and she told us quick directions how to get to the trail.  I was half listening, because I believed this trail to be blazed with white blazes, which I am familiar with following having hiked the Appalachian Trail.  The entire trail has a map and guide, available for purchase at both ends of the park, since mine never arrived after I sent for it I purchased a new one here.  It breaks up the trail into sections about 4-5 km long, and is pretty descriptive.  I will reference these points in my blog.

Leaving the visitor center, we crossed the bridge and took some pictures.  This was my girl friends first backpacking trip!  And she was entirely dependent on me to not get lost…

We got lost immediately after crossing the bridge!  The trail looks like this.

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Pretty much after walking on a nice path that is a trail, the trail disappears.  This will happen again and again and again, throughout the entire hike.  You must guess where to go next, and sometimes the guide is helpful.

After losing all credibility in front of my girlfriend, we followed the river staying on the eastern side, up to almost the mouth of it.  Guess what?  The trail starts there, and there were no markers pointing that way.  If you want to hike this trail, cross the bridge, pretend you know what you are doing and make your way towards the ocean on the east side, and BOOM – TRAIL.  I wish someone had told me that.  Thinking back, the lady at the visitor center probably did.  Moving on,

Big Salmon River to Long Beach Brook – 4.5 km (2.79 miles). 

EASY!  Except we got lost again.  Guess what?  Those white blazes that are on the trees?  They say parts of the trail are washed out.  In Maritime Canada, that means 500 foot wide rock slides, tearing down all trees holding any blazes on them.  Where the f*ck did the trail go.  I don’t know.  You’ll find it, just look very carefully.  They have gone back and marked it, but holy hell, this trail is in bad shape. Not bad shape due to lack of maintenance, bad shape due to constant bombardment of way too much rain, slopes of 60-80 degrees, and apparently the earth caving in on itself.  I mean, look at this fun.

 

This was one of the easier sections however, and we were able to reach Long Beach Brook in about 1.5 hours.  There are bathrooms and benches to sit at and take a break right on the ocean.  This will be your last luxury of seeing a parking lot also.   We saw 4 hikers ahead of us just finishing their break, and we talked to some people hanging around the beach.  2 couples in their 60s that were actually rescued last year on the part we were just on.  Oh, and they told my girl friend there were bears… Jerks.  I had been lying to her up until that point.  We had a nice snack and moved on.

Long Beach to Seeley Beach 3.8 km (2.36 miles) 

Total – 8.3 km (5.15 miles)

After sitting for a while on the benches on the beach we took off.  But once again, where the EFF did the trail go???  There are no signs pointing to where the trail picked up again.  Luckily we saw the other hikers leaving the bench spots up on the pier by the parking lot.  We searched and searched, and finally we found what looked like a trail could be.  This was right next to the last bench by the ocean, a small unmarked trail leads around the corner and uphill.  There were no blazes, just pink ribbons signifying that maybe they are working on this section.  This turned out to be the trail (we did lots of back tracking to make sure).  Once we were on the trail, it was easy going again.  This section ended up being the easiest and quickest walk, we were quickly to Dragons Tooth before we knew it.  There were signs that there was blasting going on, but we made it around the dynamite, around the 500 ft rock slides that brought down every surrounding tree with it, and down to Seeley Beach.

Seeley Beach was rocky, windy, remote, a nice place to take a break.  The trail follows the beach here for about 1000 ft, before going back up into the woods.  We had lunch here.  This has one of those cross at low tide warnings.  We crossed a tiny section that was above our knees.

Seeley Beach to Cradle Brook – 4.6 km

Total to Cradle Brook – 12.9 km (8.01 miles)

From here, its stairs straight up.  The hike to Cradle Brook was tough, up to the top, marshes on top, down again, up again etc.  Usually I wouldn’t mind, but the trail was weathered as I said, steep, lots of opportunities to miss the trail etc.  We started resting every time we got to a brook, we were tired.  It was only 4 pm, and Little Salmon River was only 5 km more.

Cradle Brook to Little Salmon River – 5 km (3.1 miles)

Total – 17.9 km (11.12 miles)

We were wiped!  The trail got very steep up and over cradle brook to Little Salmon River.  This part sucked.  This 11 miles was harder than starting the Appalachian trail, more comparative to the whites, without the 4k elevation.  Just ups and downs, roots and rocks and roots and rocks.  We should probably have stopped at Cradle Brook, but it was only 4 pm(ish) and daylight literally stays until 10pm.  We’re not suckers!

We hiked the 5 painful miles, and descended rapidly to Little Salmon River, where we just came out into a basin, at low tide, and said whaaaaaaat.  Apparently you take a sharp left, hike .3 – .5 km and cross the river.  There are a bunch of trails marked blue blazes (ATV trails), don’t be fooled.  The trail is hidden in a foresty inlet, a bunch of rocks leading into an enclosure that doesn’t look like a trail at all.  This is it.  Hike up just 100 ft, and you will see a beautiful campsite, with a bear box and a privy!!!  Whaaaaat.  I didn’t think I would see a privy on this trail.  The bear box added to my girl friends fears of bears, and the Canadian hikers we met shrugged it off.

We set up camp, ate our stupid hiker dinners, listened to Canadians talk about their lives, I eventually crawled out of my tent at 8 pm to join them at the fire, consuming half a bottle of my whiskey, while my girl friend straight up passed out hard.  The fire continued well past 10 pm, as the sun was still out (seriously?), and finally I got to sleep for about 5 hours.

 

 

Fundy Footpath – Prep and beginning day 1.

01_ATgear_olivier_750x400  Get your gear first!   Amazon Outdoor Gear

The Fundy Footpath.  The largest tidal zone in the world.  A continuation of the Appalachian Trail (international Appalachian Trail).  Ocean.  All reasons I chose this hike this summer.  Also, the hike was only 30 miles, and I would be taking my girl friend on her VERY FIRST backpacking trip.  In retrospect, this was not the best hike for a first timer…  It is extremely difficult🙂.  She’s still with me though!

I was able to find lots of information about this hike, including various blogs and youtube videos.  Understandably, most blogs and videos complained about how rugged and tough the trail was.  Being the over-confident hiker I am, I laughed at most of what was written and wrote it off.  (I’ve hiked the 49.3 km or 3o miles in just a day before with a full pack).  I shit you not, it took me 10 hours to hike 1o miles on this trail.  I realized on day 2, they weren’t joking!  This is an intense hike.  Compared to the Appalachian trail, where you will climb a mountain, get a spectacular view, climb back down, repeat.  This was climb 1000 vertical feet in less than 1 mile, no view, immediately descend, repeat.  Getting past that part, its beautiful, remote, rugged, and most of the trail is completely destroyed by the coastal rains.  Be prepared to hang on to a lot of roots as you try to space your feet perfectly on the 6 inches of what remain of the trail.

SO, that being said, let’s get to it!  Preparing for the hike.  The hike ends (or begins) at point wolfe campground.  We decided to camp there, and get a taxi to the other end, the suspension bridge at big salmon river.  I called various sites and Alexi offered to take us for 150 Canadian.  The people at the information center were charging about 250.  If you are feeling adventurous, and lucky, we ran into a couple from Quebec that parked their car, and then waited to meet someone heading the opposite direction, giving them their car keys, and asking them to park their car for them at the opposite side!  Dang guys!  Canadians sure are polite!

The drive from Pointe Wolfe campground to big salmon river is about 2 hours.  We got there around 10 am, signed in the register and started our journey.  We quickly got lost immediately after passing the suspension bridge.  Which I will get to in my next post.  Did anyone mention it was really easy to get lost on this hike???

 

Caught up in the moment. Cushing, Maine

 Just a couple quick photos from the last adventure.  Ocean kayaking in Maine truly leaves you breathless and awestruck.  Just another reason to travel.

    
   

Looking towards Canada for the next trip

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East Coast of Canada!  Who’s coming with me?!

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This looks like the East Coast version of the Lost Coast Trail I hiked last summer.

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I have been doing some research on great trails off the East Coast, the farther north the better, and I stumbled across “The Fundy Footpath“.  It is one of the biggest tidal zones in the world, as the Atlantic Ocean sweeps into this channel called the Bay of Fundy.  The tide rises upwards of over 100 feet, and back down!  Insane.  Plus, it’s beautiful!

A new place, on the ocean, insanely beautiful, a new country, a new adventure.

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If anyone has any 1st person experience with this

area, feel free to reach out!  Looks like we’ll be heading out around early July.  Now, who’s coming with me?

Looking for gear reviews?  Check out my gear page for my completed Appalachian Trail Thru hike.

-Stretch

 

Joshua Tree

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Get outside! Camping and Hiking

Deciding to camp in Joshua tree in late December was a tough one.  The park is beautiful, but the temperatures drop below freezing regularly, and you might only see highs of in the 40’s.  Having an adventurous side has its perks, so off we went.  There are lot’s of camping sites in the park itself.  White Tanks was one of my favorite and the most beautiful.  The campsites inside the park have no access to water, but do (most) have bathrooms.

This campsite has access to Arch rock, a pretty short but popular hike.  A lot of rock climbing to do around here.

Another great campsite is Jumbo Rock.  A well organized, great place for scrambling, a perfect place to camp.

Skull rock is right next to this campsite, and you could either walk to it, or drive as it’s located right off the road.  A unique pattern of wind and water erosion has lead this rock to look like a human skull.

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There are also campsites outside of the park, for those who didn’t book far enough ahead of time, or if you like knowing there is comfort of food and grocery stores 5 miles away.  We stayed at Black Rock Campground, near Yucca Valley, which 20 miles north of I10 on the 62.  This really was a beautiful campground, well maintained, a couple potholes, but most have been paved over since the reviews I have read.

With easy access to town, and firewood (and trust me, when camping in December in Joshua Tree, you will need A LOT), this was the perfect campsite.

If you are looking to camp in Joshua Tree in the winter, pack warm clothes, the wind will make it feel colder than it reads, make sure you bring enough water into the park, and bring a camera, there are quite a bit of stars to see out there! 🙂

It also doesn’t hurt to have a guide.
-Joshua Tree: the complete guide

Next upcoming adventure – Joshua Tree for New Years

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My girl friend and I have decided to venture away from the crowded bars and streets of the cities, and into the wilderness of Joshua Tree, which (by the way) has some of the BEST stargazing in the world.  Just take a gander.MilkyWayParkEntrance_LLaw_688x400The-Milky-Way-Stargazing-in-California-Joshua-Tree-national-Park

We are excited to explore the hikes and the rocks and look at the stars.  We will, of course, be sharing our experience through this blog.  The nights WILL be cold so it is important to bring the right gear.

I bought (for my road trips and sharing with my gf and her 6 year old) a Marmot Unisex Tungsten 4p Tent.  I’ve used it to camp the entire Pacific Coast Highway and various other adventures in Sedona etc.  This tent has TONS of room, I can literally stand up in it.  The rain fly that comes down, has a ton of capacity for items to place under the vestibule to prevent from getting wet, and it can keep you warm.  I think it could comfortably sleep 4 full adults, maybe even 5!

I have a very warm sleeping bag from Western Mountaineering sleeping bags.  They have the best quality for warmth, they are expensive, but worth it.  If you are planning on camping somewhere freezing, it will be worth your while.

We are also planning on bringing tons of food with us.  A cooler full of items to cook and what not!  I know they have tons of stoves out there for backpacking, but what I never had was a car camping stove.  It’s a totally new idea to me!  So I went out and did some research and found an awesome one that has been working well.  Coleman Triton Series 2 burner works great, and its pretty cheap comparatively.  We cooked quesadillas and pancakes and eggs mostly, but you can use it for anything.  Better believe I’m bringing this with me!  Including my kitchen I’ve purchased mostly from the dollar store.  This is where you can completely skimp.  Plates, cups, forks, shredders, cutting boards etc, can all be bought at the dollar store.

One last purchase was a 5 gallon water container to have some water to last us days.  Its a pain to get water every morning and night when camping so its good to tow around.  Coleman water jug (5 gallon)Pretty cheap!  We will see how it works coming up!

Can’t wait to ring in the new year in a beautiful setting, with fires and stargazing!  I am excited to share it with you all.  Set the date, we set off December 29.

Oh, and I can’t forget my glow in the dark frisbee😉

 

Joshua Tree, here we come!

 

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The Lost Coast Trail, an afterward

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The Lost Coast definitely left its impressions on me, and wanted me coming back for another adventure.  Just as any real adventure should.  Gandalf still calls me asking me where and when the next one is… We will know soon.

One thing you will definitely need, and this is a great help, is a map of the Lost Coast Trail.  There are a couple others out there with specific landmarks and such, but this makes use of the drinkable water coming up and whatnot.  Another thing to survive the Lost Coast is going to be a Sawyer Squeeze system.  This is a water purifier as not all water can be trusted.  This specific system is the favorite of Appalachian Trail hikers, it got me through the whole trail and so I used it on this trek.  One recommendation.  DO NOT GET THE MINI.  I know it costs less, but it is not worth the extra minutes getting water ready when everyone else is ready to go.

Add some sunblock, a backpack and all that gear I have from my  gear page

Well just the essentials, and you will be all set!

Bring a camera! If you don’t already have one, here are some great ones.
Best Point and Shoot Cameras

I brought a 16MP camera and am currently blowing some up into canvas for Christmas.  So spend the $$ on the good camera, it will be worth it in the long run.

I will recommend this trip for everyone, families included, as long as you stick to the northern section (which is all beach).  Bring 2 cars if you can, the shuttle is costly ($300+).

If you have no other reason to go and see a new place, just go for the views!

This was easily the most rewarding and visually stunning trip I have been on.  Since the first section is only 24 miles, families with young children can and should venture out into this wilderness.  You won’t regret it!

Gear

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My 2014 Appalachian Trail Gear List.  This is also a good way for all of you 2016’ers to double check that you have everything!  I have successfully hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 152 days!!!  I won’t say I know everything there is to know about gear, but I can say this.  What I had, worked for me, and I finished.  That, in itself, should say a lot.

 

EDIT – Pack Base weight – 20.2 lbs.  This will change by the end of the week.

Base weight packed bag (no food,water) 20.2 lbs

Unpacked bag (no food)

Packed bag (no food,water) base weight - 20.2 lbs.

Packed bag (no food,water) base weight – 20.2 lbs.

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Tent/pack/sleep

Backpack + Raincover
-I used the ULA Circuit 2.2 lbs, however I ended up switching to this

Osprey Exos 58 at 2.7 pounds, it’s still lightweight, and can fit A LOT more in it.

Raincover  Osprey Ultralight Raincover
3.7 oz (seriously ultralight)

Tent and groundclothMSR HUBBA 1P Tent2 lb 7 oz, down to 1 lb. 10 oz.  This lasted me the entire trip, I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS TENT!

MSR Hubba Footprint (for under tent)7 oz.

Sleeping bag (winter)Western Mountaineering Sycamore$480 – expensive is worth is when you are camping in the cold!  I hiked in 2.5 ft of snow, and the temps hit downwards of 13 degrees.  (25*) Regular – 2 lbs w/ stuff sack

Sleeping bag linerSea To Summit Thermolite Reactor Plus  $65.  (adds 20* warmth) 9.3 oz

PadThermarest NeoAir Xlite (regular) 12 0z. (Lightest for long trips, mine lasted the entire AT)

What I’m wearing

Shoes + InsolesSaloman Xa 3d Pro Ultra II Trail Running Shoes  /Insoles –Superfeet Green 1.76 lbs (both trail runners and insoles)  Now that is light.  Superfeet saved my life, and I believe I hiked the entire trail because of them.  They are worth checking out.  They have a couple options, but Green are the toughest.

Socks – Darn Tough  3 0z.   Best socks with life time warranty.  Get them.

UnderwearExofficio give and go mesh briefsPrevent the chafe.  You will thank me later.  Exofficio are THE BEST underwear to hike in.  I started off with regular briefs and barely survived.  I switched to these and they were a life changer.

SS Shirt – Patagonia Mens Merino Silkweight T-shirt 4.8 oz.

LS Shirt – Smartwool Midweight Zip Top 8 oz.

ShortsNylon running shorts 3.8 oz.

Trekking poles – Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork 1 lb 2 oz. I cannot stress this enough, trekking poles will save your knees and joints on long distance hikes.  This specific type of trekking poles were the MOST popular on the trail, as they left no blisters on your hands.  The price is worth it.  Black diamond is a great company.

Wallet – small ziploc bag will hold wallet/phone/headphones – will replace as needed

Watch – High Gear Alti-Xt (records temp/altitude among other things I don’t need) 🙂 Overall just looks awesome.

Bandana – 1 oz.

Clothing

Stuff sack8 L Sea to Summit stuff sack 2 0z.

Cold weather jacket/pillowPatagonia New Nano Puff Hooded Jacket12.6 oz.  Yes, this doubled as my pillow during the night while inside a stuff sack.  All you need.

Underwear – extra pair (1)

Long UnderwearIcebreaker Mens Long Underwear7 0z.  Necessary if traveling in cold.  (It hit 13 at night on the Appalachian Trail, and some days were below freezing as well)

Short Sleeve Shirt – polyester T shirt for camp – 4 oz.

GlovesSmartwool Liner Gloves2.3 oz.

Socks – 2 pairs Darn Tough 6 oz.

Rain JacketPatagonia Mens Torrentshell Jacket14 oz.  Used for an entire 5 months on trail, kept me dry🙂

Eating and Drinking

Water containers – 1 L water bottle and Osprey Hydraulics 2Liter Resevoir11.2 oz.

Water TreatmentAquamira drops 1 oz.

StoveJetboil Minimo14.6 oz – comes with it’s own pot.

Pot – I recently switched over to the Jetboil Minimo It has not disappointed!  It cooks meals quicker than the snowpeak, and comes with it’s own pot.

Bear line50 ft paracord 4 oz.

Spork – .64 oz.

Miscellaneous

Bag liner – Compactor trash bag 2 oz.

Duct Tape + lighters – 2 oz.

HeadlampBlack Diamond Storm Headlamp3.9 oz.  (I night hiked A LOT)

Camera + chargerNikon Coolpix AW120Waterproof, shockproof, Appalachian Trail proof – 9 oz.

Cell phone/charger/case/battery – Iphone 5s / New Trent (USB capable, charges 2-3 times they say)

Anker Dual USB Charger – Can charge 2 items simultaneously with 1 wall plug in.  (Handy for the phone/kindle, as well as when other people need to share the same outlet)

Glasses + case – Glasses/case/contacts/solution 6 oz.  I will be bringing contacts as well as glasses.

Hygiene – (toothbrush/paste/floss/nail clippers/soap (Dr Bronners peppermint)/germ-x)

Towel – bandana 1 0z.

First aid – (alcohol swabs/ibuprophen (lots)/benadryl/duct tape/bandaids/gauze/tweezers/safety pins) *Thanks Redditors!

Trail Guide/JournalAWOL 2014 NOBO Guide 8 oz.

Kindle– 10.5 oz.(I read countless books on the Appalachian Trail, I use the kindle on every trip.  Worth the less than a lb. of weight in my opinion)

KnifeSmith & Wesson extreme ops knife   3.2 oz.

Body Glide Anti Chafe – 1.5 oz.

Gear – The most important part of any adventure

I have been on quite a few adventures now.  Having thru hiked the 2185.3 mile Appalachian Trail in 5 months, taking some time to do a completely different hike on the west coast in a more remote and rugged section of the Lost Coast Trail, etc.  I have had time to evaluate and reevaluate hiking gear.  I have made a detailed list of the gear I have used on my page under the subsection gear.  Or here.

This can be used for long and short trips alike.  I picked out the best gear that worked for me, and I would like to share that information with you.  Please refer to my gear page here, and if you have questions, feel free to contact me directly!

Best,

-Stretch

Lost Coast Trail – Day 6

Little Jackass Creek to Usal Beach Campground – 7.5 miles

Total Trip – 56.40 miles

The last 7 miles were treacherous!  So if you are planning on hiking north and starting from USAL Beach Campground, tune in.  Waking up on the beach, for the last time, was a little depressing, but happy at the same time.  I knew I would be camping on my way back to Phoenix, wherever I wanted, but I also knew this was the last day of our journey.  I was kind of in a rush, because I needed to use the privy, and got lost coming out of Little Jackass Creek for a good 30 minutes.  I found the privy and realized I had left my TP at the campsite.  I was covered in burrs and thorn scratches from going off the trail accidentally so I decided I could hike 7.5 miles in 2-3 hours and be fine.  The first half mile was all uphill in a jungle, it was beautiful and I got some amazing views.    DSCN1169 DSCN1170

So after that really steep uphill, it was a really steep downhill, coming down the other side.  The trail was pretty much straight bushwacking at this point.  There was no maintenance and the brush that grows there grows really fast and thorny.  I felt like I got lost 7-8 times in this day.  Luckily, on my descent I ran into 2 hikers heading north.  I thought they were crazy for hiking this path uphill, which was a weird thought as I was doing pretty much the same thing as they were.  This section didn’t feel like the Lost Coast Trail to me.  There were some good views, but altogether it was a hot mess.

I made it down to the next campsite, where I had another uphill awaiting me.  I rested at the river and pushed on.  The foliage was dense jungle, I had to keep my trekking poles in front of me so that my face would not get all scratched up, my arms and legs were both bleeding, and I smelled.  Sound like fun?  The trail ended up on this desert terrain that went up and around mountains, very rocky, and switch backed a couple times.  I thought I was going the wrong way again.  There was one section, in particular, where the trail turned and went back the direction I Was coming from, and decided to take me all the way back down to the beach, before turning around and going back up.  I was devastated for about 45 minutes until I found that I was indeed, on the trail again.  Hiking this alone was a mental challenge.  So FYI, most of the pretty stuff is NORTH of Little Jackass Creek.  There are a couple good views before, but not much.

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All of a sudden, I was done, and it was about 11 am.  My beautiful car was sitting right where I left it, with clean clothes in it, and PBR that magically stayed cold!  I drank a couple before Roc Doc and Goat meandered out of the woods.  I saved them each one beer.  We all chilled and decided to camp out near Leggett so we could get some beer and food.  We had a fire, got trail drunk, and had ourselves a nice little evening.

All around, I recommend hiking just the Northern section of the Lost Coast Trail if you are with a large group and don’t have a lot of time.  If you aren’t with the kids, and have some extra time, feel free to get lost on the Lost Coast Trail, and hike the whole thing.  It’s worth it!

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