Lost Coast, August 11-16. Looking for key exchange or hiker with a second car
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Lindsey N
(lindseynewbold) - MLife
Lost Coast, August 11-16. Looking for key exchange or hiker with a second car on 07/26/2014 23:34:27 MDT Print View

Hi! We are a group of three people (two women and one man) planning to do a one-way hike of both sections of the Lost Coast (King Range and Sinkyone Wilderness). We are driving up from the Bay Area together. We were wondering if anyone else might be planning to go at the same time, so that we could swap car keys with you in the middle of the trip to get back to our own cars at the ends. Alternatively, you could join us for the hike and then help us shuttle back to our car. We would be happy to have you along. Note we are not super-fast hikers--looking at around 12 miles per day. Thanks!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Lost Coast, August 11-16. Looking for key exchange or hiker with a second car on 07/27/2014 08:53:49 MDT Print View

How are you going to get from Black Sands Beach to Hidden Valley? Plan extra time for the drive from Usal to Mattole. That 42 mile route in Google Earth is a bone rattling drive, and will take more than 2 hours. I would like to have a vehicle at Black Sands to ditch the bear canister that is not needed in the Sinkyone portion. Both sections are different hikes. You may wish to tweak other items in your kit accordingly.

I'm going to guess that you priced the shuttle costs and this is why you are looking for options.

I ran into group at Mattole last weekend that had their car in Shelter Cove and had bailed on their through hike "'cause it's hard walking on that sand", and now had that transportation nightmare to deal with.

What time are you planning on getting to the trailhead?

Feel free to PM me with any questions.

Lindsey N
(lindseynewbold) - MLife
Re: Lost Coast on 07/27/2014 18:08:38 MDT Print View

Hi Ken, thanks for your advice about the road. You are correct, the main reason we are looking to hook up with other hikers is because we would like to save money on the shuttle. But we also look forward to meeting new people.

We haven't officially decided how to make the transition between the two trails . . . it looks to me like there are at least two options, the Shelter Cove Road option and the beach/Pacific Drive option. Do you have a preference? One description of these routes is here: http://www.gorp.com/parks-guide/travel-ta-redway-northern-california-california-hiking-sidwcmdev_054008.html Do those directions look right to you?

On leaving a car in the middle for the purpose of ditching bear canisters . . . it sure would be nice, but for us it is probably not worth renting an extra car. Has anyone tried leaving bear canisters at the store and picking them up later?

In terms of timing, we will be driving a long way and will probably arrive around 4 in the afternoon, so we may even car-camp at Mattole Beach the first night. Or, if we don't resolve the shuttle issues, we could always just arrive at Shelter Cove and do an out-and-back of the northern section.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Lost Coast on 07/27/2014 19:34:32 MDT Print View

It's kind of an ambitious schedule with the 11th being mostly lost to travel. Has any though been given to through hiking the northern section and doing an in and out in the Sinkyone?

Oh I forgot that you would still need your canister for the bit of trail from Hidden Valley to Needle Rock. Nick's Camp was great, and has one of the best campsite springs anywhere around here.

The two campgrounds run by the BLM, Nadelos and Wailaki were both real nice when I was there earlier this summer. A good option if you have the car at Shelter Cove and want to spend the night before heading out on the southern section.

Two totally different environments right on the coast is real interesting,

Creeks were very low in the northern section last weekend. No rain in the forecast for out there soon. Still plenty for drinking so you don't need to carry. Just be aware of that.

Lindsey N
(lindseynewbold) - MLife
Re: Lost Coast on 07/28/2014 15:56:44 MDT Print View

Thanks, this is very helpful. That's a good idea about the partial out-and-back.

Don't worry, we don't actually have to be done on the 16th : ).

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Re: Lost Coast on 07/29/2014 00:08:27 MDT Print View

Hey Lindsey,

Our good buddy Ken has nailed most/all of the points at this point, but just wanted to drop in and let you know I got your message and headed over here to answer them. Ken beat me to it.

If you happen to be on facebook we have a small but growing facebook group called Lost Coast Trail that you can join and yap with other LCT hikers about a lot of this, as well as stay up to date with issues, laws, weather, trail condistions, and such.

A thru-hike of the entire LCT (North & South) is fairly easy to plan, with the exception of transportation. I really have no idea what the two "licensed shuttle companies" charge for pick-up at the Southern terminus of the Southern half, or even they even offer that. Guessing 99% of what they offer is either at Mattole or Shelter Cove.


As Ken has stated, the Southern half of the LCT is soooo different from the Northern half. Gone is the beach hiking, lots of easy access to water, wonderful fog and long views of the beach and cliffs - replaced with massive elevation, limited water access, much hotter weather conditions, and a lot more remote access.

That said, in many ways I prefer the Southern half, but it is not really the iconic LCT that the Northern half is. The massive crowds of the Northern half keep me away from there. I have hiked most of the Southern half (and a few parts multiple times) and have never seen a single person on the trail.

Getting from black sands beach to the start of the trail of the Southern half is not all that hard logistically. Just involves some road climbing out of Shelter Cove.


Ken brings up an good point about the bear canister issue. The first day of the Southern half you will be legally required to carry a bear canister. The other two or three days you will not. No viable way to get it shipped out so you just have to suck it up and carry it the entire way, but that is probably a good thing.

Without a doubt the cost of the BLM authorized shuttle companies is a big contributor to why a lot of people just yo-yo the Northern section of the LCT. It is 98 mile, 4 hour, round trip drive for them (the SC->Mattole option). For them to drive from SC to Usal road (given they use vans, probably no way they will meet you at the beach, forcing you to dirt walk over to hw 1, of boy the fun) is ~50 miles, they they have to drive the ~90 miles up to mattole to drop you off, and the 50 miles back to SC (which is where I am guessing they live.) So all that works out to about 190 miles and about 6 hours of driving time. So basically a tank of gas and an entire day spent on the road. After waiting around, loading up, cleaning up afterwards, and such, probably works out to a good 7 or 8 hours of work on their part for the full Usal to Mattole shuttle. I did it once for a buddy... Eureka -> Usal -> Mattole -> Eureka and it was literally an entire day of driving... and I only drove about 300 miles... which was an entire tank of gas for me. I love to drive, but that is a loooong time driving for such a short amount of miles.

If time is not an issue, give the entire LCT a yo-yo! Very very very few people have ever done that. Start off with a few days of food. Resupply in SC. Once you get to Usal (Mattole if you go nobo), turn around and head back to SC and resupply again. Would be an awesome way to spend a week out on the trail!

Lindsey N
(lindseynewbold) - MLife
Re: Lost Coast on 07/30/2014 11:54:28 MDT Print View

Thanks John, this is really helpful. I am working on finding another friend with a car, but I see now that even if I find one, the drive will be a bear. I don't know if I can convince my friends to yo-yo the whole thing, but will give it another shot! :)