First, I just want to say I love these forums, and I've got lots of useful information from them. That said, I am planning a trip to the Lost Coast Trail with my best friend for June 5th-9th (but could extend all the way to the 11th if we need more time.) This is our annual "Cleansing Hike", appropriately dubbed for a variety of reasons. We were originally heading to the Sierra Nevadas, but recent snows are making that near impossible. I've checked the weather and realize we might be heading into a storm on the 5th and the 6th. However, we both have experience backpacking in some nasty storms, so we're not all that worried about mother nature. Rather, we are concerned with bringing the right gear, and choosing the safest stretch of the trail to explore. We're probably not interested in doing much more than 7-10 miles a day, as we will eventually have to loop back to where we started -- but we're both in the best shape of our lives and up for any physically demanding challenge. We both live in big cities (I live in Los Angeles, and my best friend lives in San Francisco), so we're definitely looking for a sparsely traveled area; one that feels like we're miles from anyone or anything remotely civilized. Another goal of the trip is to make it as cheap as possible -- as we're both struggling students. We would be coming up highway 101 from Santa Rosa early on the morning of Sunday, June 5th. Now that I've set the scenario (and sorry it became somewhat of a novel), I was hoping you guys might be able to answer a few questions, and possibly offer some advice:
1. What would be the best place to start our journey -- the north or south fork of the trail?
2. Is there a place where I can get a map of the trails online so that we could start tentatively planning?
3. Any special supplies or food you would recommend bringing?
4. Is there spots for shore or stream fishing along the way?
5. Permits -- prices, where to get, what different types we need (for example fire permits, overnight permits, etc.)?
6. Is overnight camping allowed anywhere we please along the way, or is it all in designated areas?
7. On several message boards I've seen reference to a historic lighthouse, is this possible to reach?
8. Any other cool sites, trails, or must see points of interest you would suggest checking out?
9. I have a fully functioning water purifier, but I don't believe it can purify ocean water, is there a plentiful supply of freshwater streams to fulfill our water needs, or will we have to hike in with our water supply?
10. I know that great care has to be put into preparing for the tides, could you give me a rundown on this, and how to properly prepare?
11. Stream crossings, are we going to get wet regardless, or is there ways to navigate around the water?
12. Anything else we should know before venturing out here?
That's all I can think of at the moment. Any information would be greatly appreciated. And, I do apologize for bombarding the post with questions, it's just we get one chance a year to get out into the wilderness, and it's getting harder and harder just to find time for this one trip. I was extremely excited when I stumbled across this little gem, and I want to make the most of it. PS. I plan on creating a detailed photo journal of the trip and then reporting back to you guys. Thanks for all the help! ^__^