August 7: Monetery County
Gorda to Salmon Creek via the Cruikshank and Buckeye Trails. 12 miles

This is being written on the afternoon of August 8, which is good because it has given time for reflection.

The last three days have all been more than 14 miles, and we are tired. On paper August 7 is just 12 miles, but there are some caveats to this distance.

We began the day by meeting Ranger Gary Nelson in Gorda. For the first 4 miles we were on the highway. Then at the start of the Cruikshank Trail, we met up with Gary?s helpers, Mac Wilson?young and exuberant, helpful and excited about his October 4 marriage back in Memphis?and ?Forrest??older, courteous, knowledgeable and enigmatic. Big Sur is a region rife with pseudonyms. Besides Forrest we?ve bumped up against Tiger Windwalker and Twister; others have crossed our path but their names weren?t recorded.

The trail began precipitously with several hundred feet of switchbacks, and continued precipitously. The day was hot and getting hotter. The country side was steep. I cannot give a percent of slope but most of the country seems as close to a cliff as you can get and still have vegetation growing on it. And it seemed that the predominant shrub along the way was poison oak. For most of the way to our first major break at Upper Cruikshank Camp, the trail was on a north facing slope so there were trees, sometimes redwoods, and shade. Also to this point, the trail was well defined if not a little brushy. We started out near sea level. Upper Cruikshank Camp is at 1,350 feet elevation. Then the fun began. Between Upper Cruikshank and Buckeye Camp, there basically was no trail. To be charitable, one could call it a track. At least it appeared that at some prior time someone walked it.

We crested the ridge at 2,260 feet and had tremendous views of the coast. To the north we gazed back over the last few days of walking; to the south we could see weeks of our future. On the far southerly horizon, we could see to Montana De Oro. Led by Gary we contoured downward into a drainage where small puddles of clear water afforded us a place to dip our hats and use them as buckets to pour the coolness over our heads. Then it was a short climb up to Buckeye Camp and, of all things, a picnic table in the wilderness situated under a large bay tree. Beside the tree was a built-up spring with water pouring out of a pipe.Throwing caution to the wind several of us tank up on this unproven water source.

From Buckeye Camp it was more steep-and-slippery up-and-downs as we went over several ridges and through several drainages until we entered the Salmon Creek watershed and our destination where Salmon Creek hits Highway One. Here most of us took our poison-oak-oil saturated bodies, striped to what seemed appropriate and swam in the cool waters of the beautiful pool under Salmon Creek Falls.

Back at camp we made our dinner of various leftovers, including fresh produce and other goodies left by Bill Albright and Michelle Pattee, folks you might remember from our stay at The Sea Ranch so long ago.

We have gotten into the habit of reading out loud a chapter from J. Smeaton Chase?s ?California Coastal Trails?. This night the reading occurred right after dinner, and then we all crawled wearily into our beds.

An afterthought: As we walk along the crowded and dangerous Highway 1, we constantly are hoping for a means to get off it. But what is needed is some parallel path, not the huge loops that are now available with their built in strenuous elevation changes. These loops utilize trails whose original purpose was to get away from the coast and into the hinterlands. They were tracks leading to settler?s cabins or stock areas. A world class California Coastal Trail will not be achieved by the stringing together of such loops. (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Linda Hanes)

Left: Cruikshank Trail switchback and survey project marker; Right: Hikers under huge buckeye tree.

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MORE JOURNAL ENTRIES
»June 01 - Del Norte: Getting Ready
»June 02 - Del Norte: Planning the Hike is a Big Deal
»June 03 - Del Norte: We're Off
»June 04 - Del Norte: Reached Crescent City with no blisters yet!
»June 05 - Del Norte: From Crescent City to Damnation Trail Trailhead: 12 miles
»June 06 - Del Norte: On! to the Mouth of the Klamath River
»June 07 - Humboldt Northern: Leaving Del Norte on the Way South
»June 08 - Humboldt Northern: Gold Bluff Beach to Redwood Visitor's Center. 11.5 miles
»June 09 - Humboldt Northern: Redwood Visitor?s Center to Patrick?s Point
»June 10 - Humboldt Northern: Patrick?s Point to ClamBeach. 13.3 miles
»June 11 - Humboldt Northern: Clam Beach to Manila Community Center
»June 12 - Humboldt Northern: Manila to North Spit. 6 miles (12.8 incl. boat)
»June 13 - Humboldt Northern: South Spit of Humboldt Harbor to Table Bluff Beach. 5.2 miles
»June 14 - Humboldt Northern: Table Bluff Beach to Guthrie Creek Trailhead. 13.3 miles
»June 15 - Humboldt Southern: Guthrie Creek Trailhead to Devil?s Gate. 10.8 miles
»June 16 - Humboldt Southern: Devil?s Gate to the mouth of the Mattole
»June 17 - Humboldt Southern: A. W. Way County Park, layover day
»June 18 - Humboldt Southern: Mouth of the Mattole to Spanish Creek
»June 19 - Humboldt Southern: Spanish Creek to Shipman Creek
»June 20 - Humboldt Southern: Shipman Creek to Shelter Cove/Hidden Valley Trailhead
»June 21 - Mendocino: Chemise Mountain to Orchard Camp
»June 22 - Mendocino: Orchard Camp to Little Jackass Creek
»June 23 - Mendocino: Little Jackass Creek to 3 miles past Usal
»June 24 - Mendocino: 3 miles south of Usal to Westport Union Landing State Beach
»June 25 - Mendocino: Westport Union Landing State Beach to MacKerricher State Park
»June 26 - Mendocino: Layover Day in Fort Brgg
»June 27 - Mendocino: MacKerricher State Park to Point Cabrillo Lighthouse
»June 28 - Mendocino: Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse to Buckhorn Cove
»June 29 - Mendocino: Mendocino County: near Buckhorn Cove (MP 46.3) to Elk
»June 30 - Mendocino: Elk to Stoneboro Road
»July 01 - Mendocino: Mendocino County. Stoneboro Road to Schooner Gulch
»July 02 - Mendocino: Mendocino County. Schooner Gulch to the Sonoma County line
»July 03 - Mendocino: Layover day at Sea Ranch
»July 04 - Sonoma: Meet the Hikers : Linda and Diana (and we-couldn't-do- it-without-you Mel)
»July 04 - Sonoma: Gualala Visitor?s Center to Stewart?s Point
»July 05 - Sonoma: Stewart?s Point to Salt Point State Park
»July 06 - Sonoma: Salt Point State Park to Fort Ross State Park
»July 07 - Sonoma: Reef Camp at Fort Ross to the Jenner River
»July 08 - Sonoma: Russian River to Campbell Cove on Bodega Head
»July 09 - Marin: West end Doran Beach Road to Lawson?s Landing
»July 10 - Marin: Dillon Beach to Tomales Bay State Park (Heart?s Desire Beach).
»July 11 - Marin: Meet the Hikers: Jon and J
»July 11 - Marin: Olema Layover Day
»July 11 - Marin: Laundry, Reading and Writing
»July 12 - Marin: Tomales Bay State Park, to the American Youth Hostel near Limantour Beach
»July 13 - Marin: Youth Hostel at Limantour to Palo Marin trailhead.
»July 14 - Marin: Marin County. Palo Marin trailhead to Pan Toll.
»July 15 - Marin: Pan Toll to Rodeo Lagoon
»July 16 - San Francisco: Rodeo Lagoon to the South End of the Golden Gate Bridge
»July 17 - San Francisco: Layover Day in San Francisco
»July 18 - San Francisco: South End of the Golden Gate Bridge to Fort Funston.
»July 19 - San Mateo: A Day with the Hikers
»July 19 - San Mateo: Fort Funston to Rockaway Beach
»July 20 - San Mateo: Rockaway Beach to Francis State Beach
»July 21 - San Mateo: Francis State Beach to the San Gregorio Country Store
»July 22 - San Mateo: San Gregorio Store to Pigeon Point Lighthouse
»July 23 - San Mateo: Pigeon Point Lighthouse to Waddell Creek.
»July 24 - Santa Cruz: Waddell Creek to Laguna Creek
»July 25 - Santa Cruz: Laguna Creek (Wilder Ranch State Park) to Downtown Santa Cruz
»July 26 - Santa Cruz: Layover Day, Santa Cruz Hostel
»July 27 - Santa Cruz: Downtown Santa Cruz to Manresa State Beach
»July 28 - Monterey Northern: Manresa to Moss Landing
»July 29 - Monterey Northern: Moss Landing to Marina State Beach.
»July 30 - Monterey Northern: Marina State Beach to Asilomar
»July 31 - Monterey Northern: Asilomar to Point Lobos
»August 01 - Monterey Northern: Point Lobos to Bixby Bridge. 11.5 miles
»August 02 - Monterey Northern: Layover day at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
»August 03 - Monterey Northern: Bixby Bridge to Andrew Molera State Park.
»August 04 - Monterey Southern: Andrew Molera State Park to Partington Cove.
»August 05 - Monterey Southern: Partington Cove to Mile Post 23.6
»August 06 - Monterey Southern: Mile Post 23.6 to Gorda
»August 07 - Monterey Southern: Gorda to Salmon Creek via the Cruikshank and Buckeye Trails
»August 08 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Salmon Creek to Ragged Point Inn
»August 09 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Ragged Point to Vista Point 4, just south of Point Piedras Blancas
»August 10 - San Luis Obispo Northern: A Typical Day
»August 10 - San Luis Obispo Northern: A Coastwalk Perspective on the Hearst Ranch
»August 11 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Vista Point 4 to Shamel County Park
»August 12 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Shamel County Park to Villa Creek
»August 13 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Villa Creek to Morro Bay
»August 14 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Morro Bay to Moñtana de Oro.
»August 15 - San Luis Obispo Southern: Layover day or Foothill Road to Avila Beach
»August 16 - San Luis Obispo Southern: Avila Beach to Pismo Beach State Park
»August 17 - San Luis Obispo Southern: Pismo Beach to Guadalupe Beach
»August 18 - Santa Barbara Western: Guadalupe Dunes to mile post 2.82 on Brown Road
»August 19 - Santa Barbara Western: Brown Road to Lompoc-Casmalia Road/San Antonio Road junction
»August 20 - Santa Barbara Western: Intersection of Lompoc-Casmalia Road to Floradale and Ocean Avenues
»August 20 - Santa Barbara Western: Intersection of Lompoc-Casmalia Road to Floradale and Ocean Avenues
»August 21 - Santa Barbara Western: Floridale and Ocean Avenue Intersection to Mile Post 7.00 on Highway 1
»August 22 - Santa Barbara Eastern: Mile Post 7.00 on Highway One to Gaviota State Beach.
»August 23 - Santa Barbara Eastern: A Santa Barbara Layover Day
»August 24 - Santa Barbara Eastern: Gaviota State Park to El Capitan Beach State Park
»August 25 - Santa Barbara Eastern: El Capitan Beach State Park to the Goleta Pier
»August 26 - Santa Barbara Eastern: Goleta Pier to East Beach.
»August 27 - Santa Barbara Eastern: East Beach to Punta Gorda (Oil Island)
»August 28 - Ventura: Punta Gorda (Oil Island) to the Ventura Pier.
»August 29 - Ventura: Ventura Pier to Port Hueneme Pier
»August 30 - Ventura: Pier at Port Hueneme to Thornhill Broome State Park
»August 31 - Ventura: Layover day in McGrath State Park
»September 01 - Los Angeles Western: Thornhill Broome State Park to El Matador State Beach.
»September 02 - Los Angeles Western: El Matador State Beach to Dan Blocker State Beach
»September 03 - Los Angeles Western: Dan Blocker State Beach to Las Tunas County Beach
»September 04 - Los Angeles Southern: Las Tunas County Beach to the Venice Pier.
»September 05 - Los Angeles Southern: Venice Pier to King Harbor, Redondo Beach
»September 06 - Los Angeles Southern: Layover day at the Los Angeles South Bay Hostel
»September 07 - Los Angeles Southern: King Harbor Redondo Beach to Point Vicente
»September 08 - Los Angeles Southern: Point Vicente Lighthouse to Korean Friendship Bell at Point Fermin.
»September 09 - Los Angeles Southern: Korean Friendship Bell to 54th Place and Ocean in Long Beach
»September 10 - Orange: Day 100: 54th Place and Ocean to Magnolia and PCH
»September 11 - Orange: Intersection of Magnolia and PCH to Crystal Cove Park Historical District
»September 11 - Orange: Meet the Hikers: Ginny, Janette, Jean & Max
»September 12 - Orange: Crystal Cove Historical District to ?The Pilgrim? at Dana Point Harbor
»September 13 - Orange: Doheny State Beach to San Clemente State Park
»September 14 - Orange: Layover Day at San Clemente State Beach
»September 15 - San Diego Northern: Meet the Hikers: Steve and Hélène
»September 15 - San Diego Northern: San Clemente State Beach to Las Pulgas Road
»September 16 - San Diego Northern: Oceanside Harbor to Carlsbad State Beach
»September 17 - San Diego Northern: Carlsbad State Beach to San Elijo State Beach
»September 18 - San Diego Southern: San Elijo State Beach to La Jolla Shores Beach
»September 19 - San Diego Southern: La Jolla Shores Beach to Ocean Beach Pier
»September 20 - San Diego Southern: Ocean Beach Pier to Broadway and Harbor
»September 21 - San Diego Southern: Coronado Ferry Landing to YMCA Camp at Imperial Beach
»September 22 - San Diego Southern: YMCA Camp at Imperial Beach to the Border
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