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April 8th to 10th 2011: Lost Coast

Friday around 10 am Kat and Jesse showed up at my house in their own cars.  Jesse parked on the street, we piled into Kat's Subaru, then drove to the downtown Berkeley BART and picked up Matt.  In the early afternoon, after a few hundred miles going north on 101, we met Ken and John at the A.W. Way State Park and car camped.  Saturday, after being joined by Joseph and Lisa at 1 am, we drove about 10 miles to the northern trailhead walked 10 miles south from the Mattole River to Spanish Flats.  Sunday we retraced our steps and drove home.  According to Ken, who lives in the area and hikes here often, of the 25 miles of the Lost Coast from the Mattole River to Shelter Cove, the northern section we did is the most dramatic and has less soft sand walking than the southern section.

Lessons Learned:

Request Good Wind.  During the hike south on Saturday, we had a fairly strong and constant wind at our backs.  Somehow, during the hike north on Sunday, the wind direction switched!

River Crossings.  During the southbound hike, I simply walked through creeks and rivers with shoes on.  The dampness did not bother me in the least and the shoes dried pretty quickly.  However, on the north bound trip, I found their were only two crossing which required getting feet wet, so instead of doing this, I simply crossed at these locations barefoot.

Toe Socks. I bring toe socks as backup in case I start to get toe-to-toe blisters.  However, for this trip my normal socks had holes so the toe socks went from backup to primary.  They worked great but were a bit of a pain to take on and off, which I do a lot since I like to go in the water.

From left to right are Joseph, Lisa, Ken, Matt, John, Kat and Jesse.

 

The first part of trip, heading south from the Mattole River, requires walking in soft sand.

 

But soon the soft sand gives way to better footing, and if you find the "sweet spot", you don't sink.

 

One of two crossings between the Mattole River and Spanish Flats which required walking through the creek.

 

Ken and Roxy in the lighthouse, our first stop during the hike in on Saturday.

 

Resting out of the wind in the fuel room adjacent to the lighthouse.  From left to right are John, Jesse, Ken, Matt and Kat.  This photo was taken on Sunday during our hike out, so Joseph and Lisa, who where headed to Shelter Cove and back, are not pictured.

 

Much of the trail hugged the cliff.

 

A small part of the trail was on large rocks such as this.

 

A lounging native.

 

Ken and Jesse on the bluff overlooking one island full of birds and another full of sea lions.

 

Our second break on Saturday high up on the cliff, sheltered from the wind at this rock.

 

Heading south.

 

Our third stop during on Saturday was behind another rock which sheltered us from the wind, this time at sea level.

 

Shoes, Dirty Girl Gaiters, Rainbow toe socks, and red toe nails.

 

Just before we reached Spanish Flat, our campsite, the sun came out as we walked on a hard packed level bluff through fields of poppies.  The experience inspired me to declare to Ken Thompson "I love you man!"

 
The campsite at Spanish Flat, inland from the beach, came with a fire pit already stocked with wood.

 
After setting up camp, Kat and I decided to explore.  Can you see us in the photo?

 
Near the top of the grass in the previous photo.  To get there, Kat and I climbed on all fours most of the way.

 

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