I found it hard to imagine parts of California still considered “lost” when my parents told me about their upcoming backpacking trip they wanted my wife and I join them on. The story goes the landscape was too treacherous for HWY 101 you get built down this stretch of the California coast so they left it as is and build around it, now its the King Range National Conservation Area or Lost Coast.
The plan was pretty strait forward and mellow, 30 miles in 5 days from Mattole Trailhead to Shelter Cover. The entire hike was along coastline and almost every mile was on the beach, which sounds great at first, but after miles and miles of sand you start to beg for firm solid ground. Nevertheless it was a beautiful experience with my family and dog, Bambi. Trail reports mentioned something about dogs having issues with the sand inside of their paws and it irritating them… I ignored it like a true overconfident pet owner. Bambi did great for the first day and half but by the end of day two she was pretty sore, the sand had gotten inside of her pads chaffing them raw. She wasn’t comfortable hiking any further and I wasn’t about to carry her the next 20 miles so our remedy was duck tape and some rain fly material. Each day, multiple times a day we had to re-tape her up because it was hot and she loved playing in the waves.
Each night we stayed at a different oasis, perfectly constructed campsites along fresh water creeks that pool up before they dump into the ocean. Since we spread the 30 mile hike out over five days, each day started late (sleeping in) and ended early usually with us swimming in the next oasis and watching sunset. The trail keeps going past Shelter Cover but thats where we called it quits, which isn’t bad because the town has an amazing resort looking over the coast line you just backpacked, throw in some pizza, beer, a hot tub and its an obvious decision.