Lost Coast Trail Backpacking Day 2

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My second day on the Lost Coast Trail was hiking from Wheeler Campground to Usal Beach Campground. I slept in a bit and really enjoyed the slow breakfast ritual. Because I knew that no one camped at the campground other than myself, it was a very quiet early morning and I appreciated the solitude moment. I think that it was the first time since my solo backpacking trip ever at Haleakala in Maui almost two years ago.

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While boiling water for oatmeal and coffee, I separated a set of eateries for ‘lunch’ on which I munched while on the move. I rarely stopped for snacking on this trip. I sort of took up a habit of eating constantly (or frequently) and taking a bite before I felt hungry.

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I didn’t do any calorie counting before leaving for the trip, so I would not know exactly how many calories they were (or I could do it now since I have photos of what I actually ate posted here for the whole world to see) but it was a good amount to keep myself up and walking. And for dinner, I had my own dehydrated spaghetti, which was delicious as always.

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Once I left the campground, the immediate campground is located right by the beach. Maybe less than 1,000 yards from Wheeler and this is where a group of college graduates from Upstate New York whom I met the day before spent the night. I would not necessarily oppose to the idea of camping right by the ocean but if I don’t know whether or not there would be wind and if the water source is close.

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According to them, there was hardly no wind overnight, which is good, but still they had to come to the water stream nearby Wheeler where I spent the night, so I was fine with that. Besides, once I crawled into my sleeping bag, I was ready to close my eyes anyway, it would’ve made no difference whether or not I spent the night by the beach. And while having a quick chat with these campers in the morning, I got to enjoy the view of the beach anyway, it didn’t really matter.

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And for the record, the California Grey Whales travel by the Lost Coast Trail between November and April, mostly in January, so I had nothing to lose by setting up my camp at Wheeler.

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After a bit of uphill climb, I got to the part of the off trail that led to an open area of the Anderson Cliff, where I could see the whole thing in about 200 degrees, the ocean, both sides of the cliff and wide open sky.

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It was so breathtakingly beautiful, and from there, I could see the beach campground where the young campers spent the night.

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I moved on quickly to still think that I could finish the whole trail in 3 days but of course, by the time I climbed another hill, I had to revise the plan.

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Along the trail there were a couple of flowers that I had never seen before, along with Pampas Grass, California Poppy and Clovers.

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Particularly, the pink flowers were just eye catchy. I bet I took more than five photos there.

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Speaking of Pampas Grass, they grew so tall and so densely here that the the sharp edges of the grass were literally scratching my arms. There was no other way around them but walking through them, so I did, but frankly it was quite annoying.

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I really liked those clover beds though.

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After Little Jackass Campground, which is located in the wooded part of the trail and is in a way perfect on rainy days to stay dry, and Anderson Campground, whose toilet is abandoned and is wide open so it would not be a good choice for rainy days although the creek is so close, I reached a point where Big White Rock was so prominently seen.

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The whole view of the ocean from this point is spectacular, but also I was very glad that Usal Beach was not too far away from there.

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The water was so calm, and the way that the vast ocean was seen was just nothing but spectacular.

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Especially, when I crossed Dark Gulch, the last creek, where I could get water for the last time, till I reached Usal Beach, I knew that hiking for the day, in particular, after another uphill climb, was soon to be over and that camping at the beach would be a good idea when I saw the view of the beach.

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Specifically, with a sunset view in mind. Of course, it turned out that none of them was happening as I wished.

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When I reached Usal Beach, I realized that there was no visible sign of water.

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There was a creek supposed to be flowing with water under the bridge nearby a memorial, but the creek was dry as a bone.

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Literally no water source was in sight and I was walking around the campground and the beach for close to an hour for nothing, so I had to ask for help. Especially I had enough water for the night, but it was all electrolyte infused water, not for cooking. Besides, I would not want to look for water next day when I wake up.

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Thankfully there was a couple car camping by the beach and with their help I was able to find another campsite near the entrance of the whole area from Usal Dr., which is opposite side of the beach. There was a shallow creek by the site where I could see water still flowing, and that was good enough for me.

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At least I was able to get a few early sunset shots from the beach before heading that way, so I was so ready to set up a camp and cook dinner. It was dark by the time when I reached there (Usal Beach recreation area is quite huge) and no one was around. It worked for me.

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Soon it was my favorite meal time of the day again, and once I was done with my rehydrated yummy spaghetti, I was ready to hit the comfy pillow.

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About H Peter Ji Photography

I am a photographer. My photos have been sold on EyeEm, Adobe Stock and ShutterStock and also featured on ViewBug and G+ Landscape Photography Community, and via Death Valley National Park Instagram and Facebook. My work is the natural byproduct of my love for outdoors - backpacking, hiking and camping in nature.

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