Trip report: 50-miler, Lost Coast – July 2023

This year, the troop voted to go back to the Lost Coast (previous trip in 2018). They had cool and bright weather whilst the rest of us sweltered in a heat wave, and took the time to enjoy the amazing coastline and pristine solitude.

The pics are below for quick access – but thanks to. our Scoutmaster, Glenn Rock, we have a day-by-day diary for posterity immediately following.

July 16-22

Scouts and families met on July 10 for a food hunt – based on the meal planning completed by Bryson and Maanasa , we bought food at 5 stores within 1 mile of each other (thrifty). After food was purchased, all returned to CGS to sort food items into meals, distribute weight evenly, and pack them into bear cans – bear cans required to keep critters out of our food and other aromatic items. More on this later.

Day 0.

Ten participants (6 scouts and 4 adult leaders) met at CGS to conduct a gear check based on the list assembled by Joshua and Pierce (empty backpacks, spread out on ground and have scout and adult leaders review) to assure all personal and group gear was packed. By 9:30am we were on the road north to our planned our chosen staging area – and as fortune may have it, potentially escape the heat. Stopped for lunch and gas along the way where Santa Rosa, Ukiah, and Willits had temps of 106°. As we departed Highway 101 and started our last leg of the drive, hopes for cooler temps were on the other side of the hill. We arrived at Shelter Cove and were embraced by 85° temps and breezy conditions. Breezy = 30 mph gusts throughout the night and little temperature drop until 4:00am the next morning.

Day 1

To the trailhead we go to experience the route planning accomplished by Matthew, Aidan and Aidan. Up at 4:30am for breakfast and a short, hilly hike over to the shuttle pick-up at Black Sands Beach (yes, it is black sand). While hiking to the start, adults drove backpacks to the pick-up location to help all conserve some energy for later. Shuttle ride was bumpy with a lot of turns as best described by a joke the driver shared, “What side of the road do you drive on? On the right side of the road except in Humboldt County where you drive on whatever is left.” Arrived at the Mattole Beach Trailhead, backpacks on and started the journey – and were greeted by clear skies and more 30mph winds with 50mph gusts – too bad we did not bring kites. Saw Sea Elephants, Sea Lions, and Seals along the way. Backpack fit and boot tying issues started to reveal themselves, yet all made it to Sea Lion Gulch. Chose our campsite and learned quickly that everything needed to be pinned down or would blow away. Throughout the day and night, hats, chairs, sleeping bags, and clothes were beguiled by wind as it tried to seduce them away. Another windy night yet signs of change in the morning with some dew.

Day 2

Up at 4:50am, hit the trail at 5:30am. Between us and our next destination, Spanish Flat, lies an impassable zone. Impassable at high tide and scouts’ first experience implementing critical strategy – one trail option that opens and closes based upon external forces beyond control. Backpack fit and boot tying challenges lingered as they were not taken away by the winds of the day/ night before. Regardless, we regrouped, picked up our hiking poles, had scouts help scouts and hiked over rocks of varying sizes and shapes over the first 4 miles. We exited the impassable zone with time to spare – good planning by the scouts. A few miles further, we arrived at the shady and wind calm campsite Spanish Flat. All picked their campsites, explored, napped and found opportunities in the creek to wash off (yes, scouts do ‘bathe’, just not at CHS). 

Day 3

Up at 6:30am, oatmeal breakfast and on the trail by 7:00am. A somewhat contrarian day compared to those experienced – marine layer lended a new ambiance to the trail along with bear tracks, tide pools, creek crossings, dry and packed sand, rocky terrain. Backpack challenges continued to linger yet some were resolved through reorganizing the gear. Shoe tying challenges disappeared. Kinsey Creek brought some respite, play and water refill. Ranger provided guidance on the trail junction ahead. Arrived at Big Flat at 12:00pm had selected our campsite for the balance of the day. Marine layer lingered until 4:15 and brought sun for the balance of the day with a spectacular sunset. Exploration of Big Flat into the evening. Deer unafraid of humans were with us throughout the day/ evening. First real opportunity to understand we were the outlier visitors.

Day 4

2:00am, IT’S A BEAR!!! At least that is what Joshua thought as he woke up Matthew for help.  The bear visited others, scouts and adults alike, throughout the night. At breakfast, all bear sagas were shared and collectively determined that the small black bear was the type known as Mephitis mephitis – skunk. As important as determining our visitors I.D., it was invaluable to learn why food wrappers, toilet paper and the like are stored in bear cans. After swapping stories and collecting gear, all moved across Big Flat Creek to Miller Flat – about 200 yards. Good rest day on the shadier side of the creek brought sightings of more deer and a family of river otters scurrying up the creek.  

Day 5

Up at 4:45am and on the trail at 5:30am. Adventure brought another impassable zone to navigate on our way to Horse Mountain Creek. More large and small rocks to move around and over – some wet and slick, others not so. Arrived at our camping destination and broke out food to assemble brunch (aka use up as much food as possible). The campsite was fully exposed with 12 hours of full sun exposure in our future. Adults options with the SPL – stay or finish the hike early by hiking to Black Sands. After brunch SPL discussed with each scout – unanimous vote was to finish. Backpacks on with the final destination visible in the distance. Push to the end had Pierce and Bryson in the lead, Joshua in the middle and Aidan, Aidan and Matthew in sweep. Sweep seemingly wanted to relive and enjoy the trip as long as possible as they finished that last 1.5 miles walking backward. Together, scouts and adults finished the last climb to the parking area together, All returned to Shelter Cove campground for one last night and a successful trip – 10 entered and departed without injury and many stories to tell.

Day 6

Up at 5:30am – breakfast final pack and return day. Three Little Bears visited the campsite overnight. Lesson learned (again) – don’t leave food or other aromatics outside a bear can. Mr. and Mrs. Moffatt drove up to help with transportation back to San Jose. Caravan assembled and the trip back was uneventful – except for thinking about the next outdoor adventures. 

Trip Report: Camp Hi-Sierra – 2307

Camp Hi-Sierra was another amazing week of merit badges, Treagle, overnight adventures, sausage songs and… dust. The water was cooooold this year, so those that managed their swim test at camp deserve some extra kudos!

With ASM Denver as Camp Scoutmaster, supported by a number of parents, Troop 260 had another strong showing with multiple youth either on Staff or as Counsellor-in-Training.