This last day, we awaken early to go as far as we can and wait until the tide recedes enough for us to continue on. There is a long place that we are supposed to hike in low tied and one place where a lands slide has pushed the trail out into necessitating very low tide.
We begin the hike at dawn. The grass on the bluff is damp. Fortunately, the grass is low and there are no shrubs as of yet. We hike on the bluff for as long as possible because the rest of the day will be on the beach. The bluff hiking doesn’t last long, and so we are forced downward. Here we keep watching for the possibility of an inlet and the height of the tide. As the day is beginning to warm us we pass a group of trail volunteers clearing pampas grass and they tell us the beach is good. We head out and around points on those wet slippery tide pool rocks. Balancing is tough as some move with our weight and none are dry. The bones and carcasses are thick today.
By 10 we reach a beautiful creek with a few camping spots. A couple is packing up to head out. We give them some room and sit on the opposite side of the creek resting, snacking, and cooling our feet. This is the last creek before the low tide area. We are on the up side of the tide and know we hike slowly, so we choose to stay here while the tide comes in and starts to recede. We see that the tide could possibly come in quite high, so we move over to the other side of the creek where it is higher and more likely to be dry. We wait a few hours refilling our water, napping, eating, and exploring. On some of the boulders and logs, there are whole shells and pretty rocks. I think on this for a while and decide that they are offerings to the gods. We have spoken with them a couple of times on the trip, so I place a shell on one place and a rock on another praying for safe passage. The water doesn’t seem to raise much. In an hour, the tide should start receding. Seeing how it couldn’t possibly get high enough now to block our trail, we load up and continue on.
The day is getting hotter. So we relish the shade when we can. We walk on a bank until we get to a log laying in the shade of one of the few trees on the beach. Here we sit; the land slide should be around the corner. We could let the tide drop farther. While drinking water, we spot a seal swimming new the beach and a seagull flying just overhead. Neither stray far.
Hiking on, we go slowly not needing to rush the tide. A few miles further we turn the farthest point on this trip again risking much crossing the rocks. Damazon and I slip at the same time, but I catch myself. When I look up Damazon is down; his arm is under him and his leg is bent awkwardly. I see him struggling to get up, but I cannot help as I am too far away. By the time I reach him, he is up and walking along again with no limp. Relief.
I’m back on the bank, but I hear a raining sound. As I start to move away from the cliff, Damazon warns me that rocks are falling. A few hit my leg, but all is good. This happens one other location. This proves the instability of the cliffs I have always been warned of. We reach the landslide area and begin walking in. There is little ground to walk on and many downed trunks to block our path, but we begin. One large pile blocks the ground, and the water is high here. We wait for the tide to go further out. While sitting and talking, we see the seal swimming back and forth in front of us. The seagull calls from above. Do we have protection? I think back to my offerings.
After what seems like hours, Damazon looks around. There is actually a path we can take behind the logs keeping us out of the water. We continue and so do our protectors. Once the seal is pushed ashore, but he doesn’t leave his post.
Miles later and tough slogging up and down the beach looking for the firmest ground, we are out of the low tide area. We rest and say goodbye to the animals. From here on out is a wide beach. We can see our destination ahead. Still we constantly search for the best hiking ground. The sun beats down on us causing us to stop often. We enjoy our view and still see the bank of clouds off to the northwest. But my thoughts turn to what I want to do when we get back.
Once when the sun has beaten us for hours, we find some drift logs to rest at. We hope for shade, but not finding any, we make some with my tarp, rope, and trekking poles. It works for a bit, but the sun is dropping and our shade shortens. My thoughts turn to what I want to do when we get back. It has become obvious that we won’t be back in time to drive to our relatives, so where we will stay is on the top of that list. A hot shower is second.
Usually on backpacking trips, I dream of a meal of veggies. This time, I have eaten at every stop, and dream of getting the stench off of me. I cannot stand the smell of myself when I stop long enough for it to penetrate the area.
We hike on with our eyes to the hill we will be climbing. When we reach the split rock, we stop this is the last possibility of shade until we are at the parking lot. We are close but the sand is getting softer. A good rest is necessary. My energy is depleted, but I feel good. My feet don’t hurt, I have hunger, and my back is fine. This is the best I have felt on any of our backpacking trips at this point.
As we walk across the last bit of beach, a family comes down from the parking lot and greets us. They ask about the trail because they wish to hike it the following year. My first reaction was that it was different. Different in scenery and in how I felt. Different in my reaction all the way. I didn’t talk about the difficulties or the scares. This was different too. I think I have reached a new level in backpacking.
The hike up the hill to the car wasn’t horrible. We load up, go to the campground, and take a shower before even setting up camp. Dinner comes next. By the time we are ready to set up camp, it is dark and windy. But, we are happy and satisfied.
Sleep is sweet until a snuffling sound wakens me. I pat at the tent hoping to scare off the dog sniffing at the corner. The critter moves on to Damazon’s tent and he taps at it too. This time the dog doesn’t move on; instead, we hear a crunching sound. He hollers, “Get out of here.” The critter comes by and sniffs but moves on. We’re awake now. Thinking it is almost morning. I go and get dressed and packed up. Coming out of the bathroom, Damazon informs me he saw a skunk while he was waiting for me. Then I realize I hadn’t seen any dogs out when we walked to the bathrooms. We are both relieved that the skunk didn’t spray any of the times we tried to scare it off.