We know the above mileage is close to correct because yesterday we started using J Nichol?s GPS unit to track our distance as well as our speed.
We awoke at Patrick?s Point to a heavy, wet fog. Fortunately our group camp had a large covered area with full kitchen facilities, so preparing and eating breakfast and preparing our lunches was done in the dry.
We drove back to Clam Beach and led by Jan Mathews from the Redwood Community Action Agency, we began our trek to Manila. Jan?s organization was instrumental in the building of the Hammond Trail, which runs from Clam Beach into McKinleyville and the Hammond Bridge over the Mad River. Built with various fund sources, including the Coastal Conservancy, it follows the alignment of the old Hammond Railroad for most of the way. At the former mouth of the Mad River, it runs up to the bluff, returning again to the old right of way near the mouth of Widow White Creek. At present it is complete with the exception of a section at Widow White Creek known as the ?Hole in the Hammond?. For most of its length, it can accommodate pedestrians, equestrians, bicyclists and those in wheelchairs.
Along the way, people would come out of their houses to say hello. A nice photo appeared on the front page of the Eureka Times-Standard this morning, so folks knew what we were about and about the Coastal Trail. Entering Hiller Park in McKinleyville, we were greeted and given flowers by a contingent of the local Red Hat Society. This group is open to women over the age of 50 who vow to wear red hats, purple dresses, and do exactly what they want to do. Their inspiration was the poem ?Warning? by Jenny Joseph. Self described as a ?disorganization?, they hope to see us again in Eureka.
At the Hammond Bridge our morning guide left us in the good hands of Jenny Hanson of Friends of the Dunes. Her task was to guide us to the beach and then lead us on the five miles of sand to Manila. We arrived at the Community Center to find it in the midst of a large construction project: our campsite for the night is in the middle of a large grading project. (Jon Breyfogle; photos: Linda Hanes)