As we came into camp yesterday, two glass fishing-net floats were found on the beach. Most of the floats we've found so far are plastic: red, yellow, black, pink; at a distance they look like bowling balls with little handles. It is indeed something to be beachcombing where there are no footprints and where you might be the first person there in a week -- or a month!
We are walking through the Kings Range Conservation Area, where a requirement of our presence is that we carry bear barrels. These are plastic barrels -- picture a miniature beer keg -- with an ingenious locking mechanism requiring the use of a small coin to lock and unlock the lid. All food and scented items like lip balm and sunscreen must be kept in them overnight, so that bears cannot get to what is inside. They work on the principle that bears rarely carry small coins.
After our first morning snack break, we find new tracks on the beach. Were we in Malibu or Santa Monica, they would suggest someone with a severe orthopedic problem. The toes encompass a span of perhaps 8 inches, and tip of toe to back of heel, 5 inches. Bear! Between the high tide of the night before and our arrival, a bear had been walking the beach in the hope that the tides had brought in a fine dinner.
Lunch is at Big Flat Creek, and camp is set up at Shipman Creek early in the afternoon. We laze about; some of us listen to Steve Jones read from his book by John Steinbeck IV. For the first time, we have a convivial campfire with singing, stories and jokes. Some stay up until 9 to see the lights of Shelter Cove come on. (Jon Breyfogle; photos, Linda Hanes)
Left: Flotsam on the beach. Right: Campers relax before dinner.