Mark has logged hundreds of miles backpacking and climbing in awesome places like Yellowstone, the Enchantments, the Wind River mountains and Philmont (the Boy Scout preserve in New Mexico). When he described how he would strap 50+ pounds of camping and climbing supplies to his pack and hike for 2 weeks, I always thought, that's so cool ... yet so not for me. I never even wanted to camp for a day! But recently, I started to reconsider my anti-camping position. Part of it was due to Mark's enthusiasm, part of it was due to moving to the Bay Area, and part of it was due to our friends Julia and John, who inspired me with their love of hiking and camping.
[a herd of Roosevelt elk]
A few weeks ago, I suggested to Mark that we should plan a camping trip. Many hundreds of dollars later, we had a new tent, 2-person sleeping bag and various camping supplies. I picked a spot -- the Lost Coast, the most undeveloped part of the California coastline, about 5 hours north of SF in Mendocino/Humboldt counties -- and he did all the planning.
First, the good: The Lost Coast is amazingly beautiful. We hiked through quiet redwood groves and deserted black sand beaches and along ridges where the Pacific stretched out as far as you could see in one direction and the woods in the other. Because the Lost Coast is so remote, we never saw any other people. Surprisingly, drinking coffee and eating oatmeal was never so fun as it was in the middle of the woods on a sunny morning. And, in such a remote place, it was very comforting to be with an experienced backpacker.
[Mark, filtering water]
The not so good (not that this should stop anyone from going): The drive to the trail we wanted to take was inexplicably closed, and the worker on duty (I refuse to call her a ranger) was unhelpful in describing the consequences, i.e. that hiking that road would add an additional 6 miles of totally hilly terrain to our hike. Hiking 16 miles in 2 days while carrying a pack was not in the plan. Also, I found out that sleeping outside in a remote location is stressful. There were bear tracks all over the place, and my friend Julia Inceptioned me with the idea that a bear would attack our tent. Also, did I mention the tick infestation?
All in all, it was exhausting but fun. I'm a little proud of myself for being so (unintentionally) hard core, though at one point I admit I wanted to throw my pack off a cliff. Next time we venture to the Lost Coast, we'll try exploring King Range instead. And here is a picture of my cute husband, carrying the lion's share of the weight. Thanks Mark!