Last Fourth of July, I celebrated Independence day by wandering wild and free on California's Lost Coast. It is a hike in paradise. The rugged, wild and desolate beaches are part of the last remaining stretch of undeveloped coastline of the West Coast of the US. The hike is one long walk on the beach with waves singing to you and the wind caressing you. The blue ocean shimmers in the summer sun and you thank your stars for your chance to be in heaven.
The incredible beauty moves you to wonder, to believe in something deeper, something higher. There's something magical about staring into the blue ocean, smelling the salt and listening to the waves. There's something mysterious about the fog clinging to the hillside and settling over the ocean. There's something soothing about feeling the soft sand under your feet as you soak in a gorgeous sunset. Someday life will be perfect like this, but today I'll settle for this temporary perfection.
Some useful tips on the logistics of the trip. Get a map to know the locations of the creeks. I purchased the map by Wilderness Press. The creeks are basically where you can camp at night. The map also shows the 'impassable at high tide zones'. Make sure you check the tide tables for the day of your hike. I'd say for safety, you should not be in those zones 4 hours on either side of the high tide time. Obviously the ideal situation is hiking in the zones when the tide is going out. But if you have a tight schedule and the high tide times are not at the opportune times, use my 4 hour rule of thumb. We camped at Spanish Creek on the first night and at Gitchell Creek on the second night. That was about 10.5 miles on day, 10 miles on day 2 and 4 miles on day 3. Most people hike in the north-south direction as the prevailing winds in the summer are from the north west. For that, you need to park your car at Shelter Cove and take a shuttle to Mattole. Blu with Lost Coast Adventures was our shuttle guy. Super nice and friendly. The shuttle schedule depends on the tides so you can cross those high-tide-impassable zones at low tides. Call Blu to discuss your trip. As for gear, in addition to the standard backpacking gear, you might also need water shoes as there are no bridges across the streams. But this year being a drought year, the streams were running pretty low and we could ford the streams by hopping on rocks. And bring a giant thrash bag for all your gear that you can't fit in your tent. The overnight fog will give everything that is exposed, a thorough soaking.
Hope you find yourself at the lost coast sometime. Life is a beach, go play in the sand.
More pictures can be found at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202471721850279.1073741842.1111549502&type=1&l=a41f52db50