I remember the first time I heard about the Lost Coast. Immediately intrigued (who wouldn’t be, with a name like that), I knew I had to go.
Life happens, so initial plans for “next weekend” dissolved into weeks, and then several months. But on a recent Friday, four friends and I finally made the drive and set out to backpack the Lost Coast.
This 80 mile crop of rocky California coastline got its name in the 1930’s, when highway planners deemed the area too difficult to build upon and instead routed the coastal highway inland, away from the water.
What they willingly “lost” became a protected expanse of wild beaches and overgrown fields, which later was partially converted into the Lost Coast Trail.
Our motley little crew made the promise to go over one long weekend, and the week beforehand was spent in preparations – buying food that could withstand the conditions, studying the tide map, deciding our timing.
Parts of the trail are completely taken back by the ocean when the tides rise, so you need to be strategic.
Upon arrival, we set out across the expanse, each footfall sinking deeply into the soft white sand. This might be harder than I thought. Early energy and the promise of the next beach kept us moving forward.
We encountered all kinds of unfamiliar wilderness – newly-shed shells in vivid white and violet; aimlessly scattered bits of seemingly brittle driftwood, and all types of rocky terrain. I had no idea stones could come in so many sizes.
We also discovered a lighthouse along the way, with views for miles.
Our late start promised us last pick of campsites, and we passed several full spots before the setting sun pressed us into making a decision.
We ended up on a hillside high above the water, at an angle that invited our sleeping bags to slip straight into the ocean. In spite of that, we fell asleep soon after sunset, full of anticipation for the early morning ahead.
Check back tomorrow for the next installment of the Lost Coast!