We finally managed to escape the gravitational pull of the Bay Area (Watch out, you go to visit a few months and somehow find that you are still there half a decade later!) and began our bus trip home to New Hampshire on the afternoon of June 11th. After packing and boxing and many sad farewells, we shed a few nostalgic tears as we made our way through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge to route 101 N and the start of our cross country adventure (Part II).
Our first destination: The Lost Coast for a few days of hiking with a couple of good friends.
We've had a few outdoor adventures with Pete and Mary in the past (most notably the infamous misadventure to Snow Creek Cabin a few winters ago, which is a story for another blog) and we quickly settled into that easy rhythm that you find with great exploring companions. We were off to tackle the several hours of rutted and bumpy dirt road driving required to deposit their car at one end of the trail and our bus at the other in preparation for our thru hike. You might not guess from looking at it, but the bus makes a decent off road vehicle as long as there are not low hanging branches and you take it slow.
The Lost Coast is a section of the California shore deemed too rugged to build the ocean-skirting Route 1 along, which has left it beautifully undeveloped and crowd free. We hiked a section of roughly 20 miles between Needle Point and Usal Campground, spending 3 nights on the trail with a “rest day” left for relaxation and exploration in the middle of a couple of longer day hikes. The trail took us up over the sides of tree covered mountains, through brushy meadows, into deep valleys, across bubbling streams, and onto sunny sandy beaches. The crashing of the blue Pacific was rarely far off.
When not hiking, we explored beach caves, sat in the warm sand, took some chilly dips in the rivers and ocean, sat around the campfire, and enjoyed the finest in campsite gastronomy (no prepackaged hiking food for this crew!). We managed to avoid the itchy unpleasantness of poison oak with some post-hike Technu and cold river plunges. Plus, we didn’t get lost when the trail occasionally disappeared into the bushes, but all of us had a few thorn bush scratches and nettle stings at the end of the trip as testaments to our wilderness adventures and overall badass-ness.
We ended our backpacking venture with beer and burgers on the drive back to our starting point and the little blue boose, where we said goodbye to Pete and Mary and the reality of the long adventure in front of us began to sink in!