I'm leaving for the Lost Coast tomorrow; will be staying with a friend in Sausalito on Thursday night, driving to the trail on Friday morning.
The original plan:
Starting at Usal Camp in Sinkyone, hike all the way to Mattole, then turn around (about 100 miles total). The plan is for ~5 nights/6 days.
As I have no idea about the area, I'm a bit worried about some of the road reports I've read about the 6 mile drive into Usal Camp. I have a Honda Element, which has a little ground clearance, and I'm not scared of off-road driving, but I don't have 4WD. Most reports say that this road *can* be OK for passenger cars in the summer, but I've also heard it can be muddy and pretty rutted well into summer if there were heavy rains. I'm concerned I'm heading in a bit early, as we're not quite in full swing summer...I also hear it's steep, narrow, and has few spots to back up/turn around. I really don't want to waste a day (or worse) of my trip with off-road car mayhem.
Another concern is leaving the car there for a week; I've also heard through the grapevine that Usal Camp can be a heavy party spot on weekends.
Should I be worried? I have no idea how reliable these sources are. I couldn't reach any rangers today about road conditions.
Think I'd be better off leaving the car at Shelter Cove, heading south to Usal, then back to Shelter Cove and then north to Mattole and back? One advantage is that I could leave half my food in the car before heading north...
Any input is appreciated.