Sunday, June 28, 2009

The One and Siskiyou National Forest

Blog updated by Matt:

After swimming in the ocean and spending some time Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, we took Highway 1, going North along the coast. Our hopes set on Muir Woods, We made our way down the darkened winding roads that skirt the coastal cliff-sides. These hopes were cut short, however, when we found ourselves dealing with a flat tire on the shoulder of the road. We emptied the trunk, grabbed the donut, and got to work replacing the tire, all the while being watched by another motorist that had pulled off the road perhaps a hundred feet from us and sat idling.

We found no mechanic, and made the irrational late-night decision to continue down the freeway at 45 mph with the blinkers on, looking for a campground. We were only on the freeway perhaps 15 minutes before we were pulled over for the second time on this trip. The police officers directed us to stay at a hotel which they claimed to be quite affordable just down the road a short way. We navigated to this hotel, only to find rates at around $160/night. Needless to say, we left. We located a Motel 6 that the receptionist at the other hotel recommended. There we stayed.

The next morning we replaced the tire which was damaged and no longer held flush against the rim. We continued along The One, taking it rather easy for once. We stayed at Manchester, camping along a secluded stretch of beach in what was labeled as "walk-in camping." Our goal for the coming evening was to arrive and stay in the Redwood Forest. We found ourselves driving 30 min. out of our way at several campground turn-offs, only to find on each occasion that the campgrounds were "Full." Eventually we found a privately owned campground, whose owner's belief it was that the campgrounds were not full, but closed down due to lack of funds. The campground was beautiful and had showers and laundry machines. Of these, we took full advantage.

We never backpacked in what is officially designated as the Redwood National Forest. Instead we chose to hike up from Doe Flat, just east of Gasquet, to Buck Lake. The Forest Ranger asked before we went if we had done any off-roading yet, and what kind of vehicle we were driving. We assured her that the Honda Civic out front was really a trooper, and we went on our way. It was a brutal drive down to Doe Flat, but the ol' girl made it so no complaints, right? Stronger hikers now, than when we first set out from Lincoln, we missed the turn-off for Buck Lake only 45 minutes up the trail. We overshot it by at least an hour, hiking down steep switchbacks before realizing the error of our ways. With hesitance, we decided to schlep our way back to the lake. It was the right decision. We found this still, pristine lake was all ours for the night. The sunset over the mountain that night was beautiful.

The goal for the following day was to make it to Mt. Shasta, which was recommended by many a friend and stranger. We were even told by a woman at Love of Ganeesha (near Haight & Ashbury, SF) that it was "one of the vorteces of the universe." We met a very cool fellow at the Doe Flat parking lot who gave us lots of pointers on Mt. Shasta and Mt. Shasta City. Our plans were cut short, however, when we reached the top of the hill that leads to Doe Flat, only to find ourselves dealing with another flat tire. We were forced to stay outside the crusty old town of Crescent City which, for all its shortcomings, can at least be said to have cheap groceries! We stocked up and spent the night in yet another beautiful little Redwood campground.

We were running short on time, and abandoned our Mt. Shasta plans. So it was up 101 and 199, over to Interstate 5, through Portland over to I-84, up to I-90, and out towards Missoula.

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