I can’t even begin to describe to you how awesome this past weekend was, but I’m going to try. I know that, without a doubt, the words that come out of my mouth and the pictures I share with you won’t even do this weekend a portion of the acclaim that it is due. I just know it.
But again, I’m going to try.
Do you remember our Pacific Coast Highway vacation? You know, the one we took before we had any clue whatsoever that we’d be moving out here less than a year later? Yeah well, it was then that we discovered this amazing portion of land in Northern California called The Lost Coast. While driving, we’d occasionally look up to the mountains and see hikers, and think about how lucky they were to be out there, wandering through those gorgeous hills, turning corners after a treacherous uphill climb, and being constantly rewarded with what is most certainly one of the most amazing views in the country.
This past weekend we got to be those people.
We “signed up” for this trip a few months back, knowing it would be hard (the words “very. strenuous.” in the hiking books gave us a little warning!) and knowing we’d need to prepare. We practiced by hiking a lot and by slowly accumulating a good supply of backpacking goods. We took a couple of overnight trips, too, before we finally decided that we weren’t going to get any more ready for this trip than we were, so we forged ahead with our planning. And then, Memorial Day weekend crept up on us like nobody’s business, and all of a sudden it was time to get movin’. So we did.
We drove up to Leggett Friday night and hopped up early the next morning where we drove to Usal Beach (and for serious – the Mini just about died out there on those roads, but she’s a tough one, that lil’ thing) and met our shuttler, who drove us up to Needle Rock for the start of our 20-mile 1-way hike. The hike was killer – the hills were relentless on multiple occasions (both down and up), the trails shoddy since the park lost it’s ranger not too long ago (apparently California funds don’t make it to supporting State Parks like they used to…), and the views of the mountains, the Redwoods, the rocks, and the ocean were breathtaking – every time. We were only on the trail for two days, but had we not had a hotel reservation afterwards, we could have easily stayed longer (in fact, we were told more than once that we probably wouldn’t make it out in two days, but we proved them wrong, and with “ease”).
Next time, we will.
Amidst the sweating, the paranoia that poison oak was around every corner, and the tick gnarling it’s way into my stomach, we found a serenity like no other. We found peace and quiet. We found the joys of no cell service and the sounds of the ocean while we slept. We found a hike that was worth every bit of planning, every ounce of weight on our backs (literally), and every blister on our feet. We found The Lost Coast, and it was so amazing that I almost couldn’t even stand it.
And to think, we only had to take a little road trip over a holiday weekend to make it happen.
We finished the trip off with a couple of nights in a town of <300 people, at a hotel that continued the theme of serenity. We stared out at the ocean that we slept in front of the night before. We read, we napped, we ate, we complained (rather, I did) about our sore muscles and we (ahem, I) searched constantly for the first signs of poison (and found none!). We relaxed, feeling lucky that we had AT&T, which meant absolutely no service, again, for miles. I turned my phone off and left it in the car until we headed home.
And then, to make the trip complete, we did a little wine-tasting on the way home.
I tell ya, it just doesn’t get any better than this.
The rest of the pics can be found here.
Also, Chris just made a fancy lil’ video for your enjoyment: