Sea Lion Gulch to Miller Flat
Brian wakes much earlier than I expect and begins making coffee on our pointy perch above Sea Lion Gulch. Apparently the tilted terrain did not translate to tranquil sleep. He is tired and a tad cranky. I chow down smashed Little Debbies, while Brian and Bri make the best of their cinnamon PopTarts. Bri clearly would prefer a fruit flavored tart, but the sweet views of the sea more than make up for the disappointment.
We leave camp well before our neighbors, and have the sandy beach all to ourselves. We take turns walking in each other’s footprints, as if sand drafting. The second and third steps on the same spot are clearly firmer and easier than the first. Looking back, it appears as though only one of us is making the Lost Coast journey.
We spot the balancing rock, which is our visual clue to leave the beach for an up and over. We need to get around an impassable point. We eventually reach a private residence, and drop through a gate and down to the beach. The last part is so steep and muddy, we wonder if simply scrambling the rocks of the impassable point might have been easier.
The sandy beach occasionally changes into a field of lawn bowling and regular bowling size balls. We plod forward, trying to find the sweet spot of firmness between cliff and sea.
We rest briefly at Randal Creek, which is closed to camping for restoration. We then push on towards a late lunch spot in the sand and sun. Brian is hoping for an afternoon swim. On the way, we meet a large group of BLM employees on their way to perform trail work. Carrying Mcleods and Pulaskis, they stop to chat and check our permit. They seem pleased and almost surprised we actually have one.
At lunch I cut and eat slices of salami, while Bri mixes up powdered hummus. Brian rolls up the hummus and apple slices in sweet flat bread. It is strange, but quite tasty. Brian takes a short heart-stopping swim. He returns quickly, mentioning something about losing both feeling and control of his legs.
As we hike on, the sea gods bring us a variety of gifts. We are presented with dead birds, a smashed kayak, and a washed up whale. The downwind odor from the whale is beyond words, at least words I am willing to write here.
We push through Big Flat, and cross the creek to Miller Flat, where we find a very nice and protected camp in the trees. We make stroganoff and enjoy a nice fire. Too tired to get up after our 11 miles of beach walking, we enjoy the filtered sunset through the trees.
With fewer miles to travel, tomorrow will be an easier day. This is welcome news, because the 7:00 am high tide will delay our start through the next 4.5 mile impassable zone.