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    • Some friends and I had talked about hiking the Lost Coast trail in northern California for several years but I was always a bit ambivalent about it - the logistics of the long drive, arranging shuttle service, long stretches of unstable footing, and planning the hike around low tides and frequent storms made me question whether it was worth it. The more commonly hiked northern section of this trail follows about 25 miles of rugged coastline inaccessible by road.

    • Last weekend, everything fell into place and we went for it. The first day was pretty much consumed with the 6-hour drive (including a lunch stop) to the southern end, a 2-hour shuttle trip to the northern trailhead and setting up at the trailhead campground. The next morning we were off and hiking in cool weather and overcast skies

    • Once the sun broke through, we were rewarded with fantastic weather the rest of the trip. There were definitely lengthy stretches that were slow going, slipping around on loose sand, gravel and sometimes larger ankle-twisting boulders. But, it was also rugged, beautiful and not overcrowded.

    • Hmmm. I thought I already uploaded a photo for the last section but it seems to have disappeared. I'm finding this method of recursive replies to create a short story is challenging my patience. We'll see if I persevere......

    • The highlight of the trip was the incredible display of wildflowers in the meadows of Spanish Flat. This was particularly rewarding because it came immediately after a somewhat nerve wracking mile-long slog over loose boulders on a narrow strip of intertidal beach with slides on one side and an approaching high tide on the other.

    • This major slide is a good example of why this section of coast was deemed too rugged to route Highway 1 through it.

    • With good weather and convenient timing for low tide, we were able to complete the hike in about 2.5 days. That was with a reasonably hard effort but nothing too grueling (other than for my frail knees which were toast for a week afterwards). And, we managed to pretty much avoid poison oak, tics, twisted ankles, sneaker waves and other perils we'd been warned of. Not quite on a par with an ultra runner we heard about who recently completed all 50 miles of the trail in something like 12 hours. Sounds like a good challenge for Chris.

    • Chris MacAskill

      Okay, you've convinced me to take Toni. Thanks for posting! Great photos.

    • The Lost Coast is amazing with its rugged beauty. Almost a step back in time too.

    • This is one of my favorite areas of Northern California but I'm usually riding through rather than hiking. Thank you for showing me another side of the lost coast. Your pictures are beautiful and I am glad you had a good journey through the area.

    • Spanish Flat always delivers! I've hiked there almost twice (helicopter took me north to Arcata before I could reach it the first time), and I long to return. And yes, the approaching tide will weigh heavy on your mind, if you're not up on the bluffs.

    You've been invited!