After staying the night at Prairie Creek State Park we drove back to the Redwood Visitor?s Center and were met by our guide Everett Henkle from Arcata.We begin walking on the beach. To the east is Highway 101 and beyond it Freshwater Lagoon. After only a mile or so our way is blocked by the Gyon Bluffs. We are forced once again to dawn our orange vests and begin walking along the highway. All in all we will be forced to use the highway for approximately 35% of the miles to Mexico. After only two miles or so we can all see that the highway is not a trail. Hugh semis skim by us at high speed; misguided youth yell out of their pickups. Even with the vests it is dangerous.
The highway safely negotiated we hit the beach again, this time where it fronts Stone Lagoon. Our trail here takes us through clumps of sand verbena and morning glory.Stone Lagoon being unusually high this year, the Coastal Trail fronting it is under water and the Humboldt volunteers have an alternative for us. We continue along the beach until we reach Sharp Point. Here we find a rope to help us clamber up to the top of the ridge immediately behind the point. Then we proceed through head high vegetation along a route bushwacked for us by Everett Henkle, Carle Preston and Bert Taylor. This impromptu trail joins up with the main one which we follow down to the beach fronting Dry Lagoon and make our lunch at the southerly end.
After lunch we face the 3 miles or so of loose sand in front of Big Lagoon. Our individual paces stretch us out and we get back together again at the southerly end of the lagoon where we meet Jon ?Agate Man? Matheson from 50 miles south of Houston Jon is excited about our trip and pulls out a bag of polished local agate and California jade. Each of us takes one of his offerings. He invites us in for coffee at his house further along but we have to decline.
In talking to Jon and to others along the way it seems that when we tell them what we are doing there is a sense of confusion. You can tell when it all registers because it is then that their mouth drops open. ?Wow? is a typical response. As we enter the Patrick?s PointState Park area the trail is blocked by the temporary fencing set up to coral a herd of goats from Oregon They have been employed to eat up the non native English Ivy which is growing profusely here.
After dinner we say good by to our two ?embedded? journalists, Ken Weiss and Al Seib of the Los Angeles Times who have been walking with us since the start. They will rejoin us in a week or so when we begin the backpack portion of the Expedition. (Jon Breyfogle; photos, Linda Hanes)