Lost Coast Trail Part Four

After a great night’s rest we began our final full day – Friday – on the Lost Coast Trail. Today we pass the final 4.5 mile high tide impasse area. Fortunately it was not as bad as the previous one and although difficult and slow, we made good progress.

I noticed that although I was extremely tired that my leg was in fact getting stronger. There is no doubt that my trekking poles saved me from falling flat on my face many times, and it did give way on several occasions. I persevered though, and I was very pleased with my physical efforts.

We walked 7 miles to the final creek before Shelter Cove, Horse Mountain Creek. In fact we were so close to the end that we could see Shelter Cove from our campsite. We could have made it in Friday but we did not want to.

We arrived in plenty of time to erect our shelters, yet again in a wonderfully protected area, and have dinner. Just as it was going dark we saw some hikers and a dog walking down the coast in our direction. It was our friends from earlier in the week.

We had assumed that as they had to be back at their vehicle by Friday that we would not see them again, but see them we did.

We hailed them and asked how they were doing. The response we received from Wailing Wilson was priceless. Rather than greet us with the usual “Hi” or “hello” etc, the wailing one stunned us yet again with this unforgettable gem:

“Are You Shittin’ Me? I’m F********* tired”…..

We had to turn away to hide our natural amusement (read that as howling laughter). The only sad thing was that their poor old dog looked like it was in agony. It could hardly walk. There are plenty of warnings if you do your research that although dogs are allowed on the trail it is not advisable unless you get them some booties to go over their paws. The trail is just way to rocky for their feet and it cuts them up, which is what happened here.

They decided to camp near us and they asked us if we would give them a ride back up to Mattole Beach on Saturday morning. We agreed as we were in no rush and told them that we would be leaving around 9am the next morning and that if they wanted a ride to join us and walk into Shelter Cove with us.

True to form, Saturday morning there was no sign of our fine friends. They were still sound asleep so we left them to their own devices. We had visions of them still being in Shelter Cove trying to get a ride back to Mattole Beach…

We made the short 1.5 mile walk back to Shelter Cove fairly quickly. Yet again the weather was almost perfect. We had not witnessed a single drop of rain the whole trip.

Shelter Cove is marked by a giant rock in the middle of the beach. We reached it and took the customary photographs before heading up from the beach to begin our long trip back home.

This was one of the best trips I have ever been on. It is a lifetime’s dream come true for me, especially given my circumstances, and hopefully it is the first of many more to come.

The Lost Coast is amazing in it’s natural beauty and ruggedness. I was also amazed at how few people we actually saw on the trail. Aside from our aforementioned two friends, we met a scout troop and a few surfers in Miller Flats. We had almost the entire hike to ourselves and it was a glorious experience.

I hope that one day we can revisit the Lost Coast and enjoy it’s splendor once again.


Jim Chatterton


And finally:

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