There are 2 stretches of coast, each 3-4 miles long that are “inaccessible at high tide.” You are warned that you can die if get caught there. Well, uh, OK.
To begin with, it was harder going than I thought. My pack was really heavy. There was a rock slide upon entering the first part of the northern no-fly high tide zone that had to be clambered over. I hadn’t brought rain gear, either for me or the backpack, because the weather report had said no rain…well, 20% chance of rain the first day…and it started raining. Shit, if it poured I’d be screwed.
Onward, or…upward. I had a moment climbing over the rock slide; I slipped, almost fell backward,and got a shot of adrenaline. I occurred to me if I fell and got hurt, I’d be screwed. No way to get word to the outside world. What had I got myself into? And yeah, grudgingly, being 80+ has taken its toll in strength and agility. In my mind I’m still 18, but that just ain’t the reality with an aging body. The kids that passed me that day seemed so strong and bouncy. God, I used to be like that.
I was a bit spooked, got to the end of the tidal zone and felt too tired to make it around the final point.
I found a ledge above the water, pitched my tent on the rocky ground, hoping I’d be above the high tide that night (I was), spent a restless night. Had to wait a few hours in the morning for the tide to drop so I could get around the point. 5½ hours hiking the 1st day.
After about 3 hours the 2nd day, I basically flat-lined. I was depressed, wiped out, thinking of all the things that could go wrong.
The wind was blowing, sun glaring, I felt almost dizzy, so stopped at Big Creek, a wide canyon with 15′-wide creek, pitched my tent, which took 45 minutes in howling wind, climbed inside and slept for an hour.
When I woke up, two women from Auburn, maybe in their 40s, had pitched their tents 100′ away and we visited. Renee told me she’d had 10 herniated discs, a back operation, and several pieces of titanium implanted and that it had taken her 10 years to recover, and one leg was shorter than the other. And here she was, on this incredibly tough hike. Shit, what kind of wimp was I? This was inspiration.
That night we sat around their campfire and her pal Pica pulled out a plastic lightweight ukulele and sang songs in a quiet sweet voice. Did I play the ukulele. Well, uh yeah-uh, songs from the ’20s, and I played “Five Foot Two,” “Ain’t She Sweet,” and “Jada.” Fun.
I got several hours of good sleep that night, woke up. I’m gonna make it! I lightened my load by burying a pair of running shoes, some extra food, and a spiral notebook in the sand and set off feeling lighter and inspired the next morning.
It’s Saturday morning, I’m at Trinks in Gualala, with a double latte and piece of berry pie with whipped cream for pre-breakfast, now going to get bacon and eggs. I can’t get enpough food after the trip; listeninng to the Georgia Satellites sing “Keep Your Hands To Yourself:
Rock and roll!