We returned from an EPIC backpacking and trekking trip a couple weeks ago. 3 dads and 3 teen daughters! It all started with an early morning flight to Oakland and then a 5 hour drive north to Black Sands Beach, the south end of the Lost Coast Trail. Unfortunately, we missed our shuttle to the north end of the trail, but made the quick decision to explore the Red Woods for a couple hours and then made our way back to the beach to set up camp. We packed up early the next morning and boarded our shuttle to make the 65 mile trek to the north end where the trail begins at Mattole Beach. Within a half hour, we were off to start the 25 mile adventure along the coast, a combination of hard packed single-track trails up on the bluff (our favorite) or more slow-going on the beach with sand and rocks (big and small). The weather was nearly perfect ... high 60's and low 70's most of the time with the exception of the first few hours where we had strong winds. Along the way, we took in all the breathtaking views around us and explored the Punta Gorda Lighthouse and an old abandoned shack with an outdoor bathtub overlooking the water. After about 9 hours on our feet, we arrived at our camping spot at Spanish Flat and quickly set up our tents and pulled our food out of the bear vaults (required in King Range National Conservation Area) for dinner. And wow, those freeze dried meals were delicious! From mac-n-cheese to pad thai, it hit the spot. Day 2 was another 9-10 hour day hiking, passing Big Flat along the way. We finally crashed around 9pm and slept soundly with the rattlesnakes (really).
One of the unique parts of the Lost Trail is the planning required to keep out of the tidal zones during certain parts of the day when the beach is completely under water. So, on both days, we were able to stretch our legs a bit for a couple hours to wait out the tide. There are also fresh water streams every couple miles, so there is no needed to carry excessive amounts of water. Just refill from the stream, treat and go! The 3rd day was a short day of hiking along the Black Sands Beach back to our car. And then back to Oakland to catch our flight (with a stop in Berkley for a fun little dinner at a local Mexican restaurant). All in all, one specular trip! The girls were troopers the entire time, and despite the big packs and long days they kept moving forward with great attitudes ... and had fun doing it too! I couldn't have gone with greater guys ... my friends Chuck and Russ. A big thanks for Chuck for having the vision and foresight to make this all happen (and letting us borrow your second pot). Lots more stories to tell, but hopefully these pictures will give you a taste of our adventure.