Around 18mi in we realize we haven’t been drinking enough water and start getting Charlie horses in our legs. To avoid our muscles seizing up, we start walking the uphills and sitting on our seats on the downhills. Even getting onto the seats of our bikes to bike the downhills causes Charlie horses in our calves, so we find side banks to get onto our bikes from. By this point, the ride has transitioned from fun to a slow trudge. 25mi later, we are on the final stretch, smelling the campfires and hearing the sounds of vehicles on the beach.
We arrive at the beach, surprised by the number of people here and the chaos of motorcycles and cars driving all over the beach, in the river, and across the grasses that specifically state “no vehicles”. The area is littered with debauchery, or, as a state park volunteer described it to us later on, “it is the wild west”. The most frustrating part of all of this, is that these are the sorts of people that ruin the freedom of these places for everyone by having the access get shut off. Being as exhausted as we are, we make the best of the situation and start making dinner and setting up the tent. Just before sunset, we go to bed. Within 10 min, the first round of fireworks begin to go off over on the beach. Not too big of a deal, as it is already quite noisy. 30 min later, fireworks are launch 50 feet from our tent. At this point we have had it, we pack up, stash our bikes in the woods, and start hiking the Lost Coast Trail. On the bright side, we will have to hike less tomorrow. . .
Five minutes into the hike and we are already happier! It is nearly a full moon, we are back to being hydrated, and amped from the Advil that we had taken before going to bed. . .we have gotten a second wind. The trail is very brushy, literally having to hike through bushes of flowers that go above our heads and sections have sluffed off down the steep slope, making the trail quite narrow. The hiking is quite slow for being on a trail. Out of deliriousness, we begin joking that we should just hike back to our car in a straight shot without sleeping. A mile away and we still see fireworks going off at Usal Beach. We see multiple sets of glowing eyes, first a fox, then a herd of mail elk, and last some deer. There aren’t many things that gets my adrenaline going more than a set of glowing eyes in the woods at night. Four miles later around 12:30 AM, we arrive at a heavily used campsite in Dark Gulch and decide to call it a night. Resting our heads on our pillows, all we hear is the creek running and insects humming.
Camping in Dark Gulch along the Lost Coast.