True to their word, we don’t hear a peep from the boys all night and they beat us out in the morning, but we are off by 9:45 - pretty good for us night owls. We make it the X miles to Wheeler in two hours and eat lunch. Contrary to my usual packing paranoia, I underestimated our food consumption and we are hungry, doling out the final rationed bites of salami and cheese.
Coming down off the hidden trail we see someone at our old camp, peering at a map. “Is that the way to Jackass?” he asks. Yes, we say. His confusion makes us feel a little better about our own mistake.
Near the outhouse we see a couple of big areas that have been trampled and uprooted since we were here 24 hours ago. The bushes rustle. Sure enough, Steve soon spots the fabled little black pig, to whom we will later give a death sentence.
Another two hours and 4.3 miles to Bear Harbor, where we eat our last Clif bar and chocolate and say goodbye and thank you to the Lost Coast for the lovely sojourn.
Back over the rolling hills for 3 miles to Needle Rock by 4pm, where a different host, Karla, is filling in. We return the rope and report Steve’s pig sighting. She frowns and says “I smell bacon - I’ll have to get someone down there with a rifle”. Steve and I joke about how much that pig could be sold for in a fancy restaurant in SF. Raised on only the finest meadows of the Lost Coast.
Driving up the dirt road is easier than the way down, and we head to Garberville/Redway, eager for some serious calories. Steve gets a burger and fries and I down a coffee milkshake. Then back down Briceland Thorn Road to my friend Michael’s parents, with whom we’ll spend the night.
At dinner Michael’s dad Bill tells us about an expedition he and Michael’s mother Gayle took to the Lost Coast in 1981 when Michael was still inside Gayle’s belly. They were part of a group of environmentalists, local politicians, and nuns from the nearby Redwood Monastary scoping out the land for conservation. After many days of bushwhacking and following threads of old fire roads, they all made their way from Usal to Bear Harbor. According to Bill, the organizer, Richard G., spent most of the trip trying to locate Doug Bosco, who had somehow been misplaced.
Wow, pretty cool to end the hike with a small bit of the living history of its creation!