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!

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Lost Coast Trail – Day 5

Jones Beach Camp to Little Jackass Creek – 13 miles

Total trip thus far – 48.9 miles
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First of all, I had a rough night sleep.  It was amazing going to bed on the ocean again.  It was really really windy though.  There was also a constant fear of a bear attack.  I woke up around 1:30 in the morning to a terrified person screaming.  Then another scream very close by.  Holy shit!  All of a sudden my tent was literally being pressed sideways, things were very loud, and it looked like 2 hands or paws pressing my tent inwards.   I screamed out loud OH HOLY SHIT!  Then it stopped, my tent was put upright, and everyone was shouting to eachother – What happened?!  Well, it turns out it got so windy, that a gust of wind had blown kamikazes tent pole into his tent, and pushed his tent over so he was almost flipped over.  He thought it was a bear attack so he screamed.  His screaming had woken me up, and in the dreamy daze I was in, noticed my tent going nuts and thought we were all under attack by a pack of bears.  (I didn’t realize a pack of bears wasn’t a thing).  It was friggin wind.  WIND.  So we ragged on Kamikaze for the rest of the trip.  AHHHHHHH AAAAAHHHHHHH!

So I started my day very early, with not a lot of sleep.  I had chosen to walk out by myself again.  I loved the mornings, and being alone for a short period of time during my favorite time of day is like heaven.  Also, my hip was bothering me again (IT band I believe) and I needed a longer time to go the same distance.  The first mile, as you can see above, was beautiful shoreline and cliff walking, gentle slopes, no real hard work at all.  And beautiful, did I say that?

I came to a visitor center which had free toilet paper, and spent some quality time there.  Apparently I was supposed to check in and pay, but I thought my visit was pretty productive.  The trail turned into a dirty road for a couple miles, and then into a very iffy trail, with lots of ups and downs!  Elevation GAINS!

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The views were beautiful!  Awe inspiring.  The scenery looked fake.  Roc Doc and Goat had caught up to me at one of the campsites.  There was a swimming hole, and we decided to wait for the others.  This was the first campsite we were supposed to stay at, but it was like noon.  We were flying.  Roc Doc set up his tarp to protect us from the sun (we were in the sun every day all day, and our laundry was dirty and there was no gym).  We took a very productive and long nap.  An hour later, Gandalf shows up, says the rest of them are just behind him.  It was HOT out.  DSCN1158 DSCN1159

We took off after a couple hours, and climbed the 1200 ft mountain that was in between us and our next campsite on the beach.  Stupid mountain.  Maybe it was because it was 90 degrees out, or maybe it was the sun that was bearing down on us, but that last climb was the most treacherous.  Blackberry plants just ripping your shins apart.  Burrs everywhere.  I managed to somehow lose the trail and went down a wicked steep mountain, with Roc Doc and Goat behind me.  They found the trail for me later on.  Sketchy.

We finally made it to the next campsite – which was literally called little jackass creek.  But it looked like THIS.  DSCN1163

I mean, holy shit right?  This trail is legit.  The camping at little jackass is very peculiar.  there are only enough spots for 5-6 people.  We were 5-6 people, and a group ahead of us had set up camp at like noon because they were selfish and lazy.  The only place to camp was on the beach, right about at high tide line.  We talked amongst ourselves about where the high tide could come, as you could see debris from it, and where a potential high tide COULD go.  Also, high tide wasn’t until 2-3 am.  So we set up camp and went to bed with the fear of God in us.  I must have woken up like 6 times when I heard waves crashing and looked outside.  The water came up and over the sand a couple times, but never hit our tents.

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Also it got super windy again in the middle of the night and Gandalfs tent stakes flew out.  He was basically sleeping in the sand with a tarp over his face.  Haha.  Another good day on the Lost Coast!

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.

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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!

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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

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