Along the King Range National Conservation Area lies the Lost Coast Trail, a hike of twenty-five miles as measured from Matthole to Shelter Cove. The trail itself is beautiful, possessing all the wonderful elements of a remote Northern California coastal hike. Turbid waters churn in turquoise coves, glorious waterfalls descend verdant cliffs, cold rivers traverse shimmering gullies and then spill out across black sand beaches or rocky shores before drowning in the bluegreen layers of the boundless sea. The inland valleys are brimming with giant redwoods, evergreen pine, and cypress trees. The golden prairies are covered in colorful wildflowers that close their petals at dusk as the fields are illuminated in a raging sunset inferno. Lush areas of the coast exhibit tropical qualities in that dark waters wind past stream banks of pink foxglove and run through groves of willow trees, saturating the neon algae of hanging gardens and the blooming tower of jewels jungles. Inversely, the arid devastated areas showcase scenery akin to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride in Disneyland, where amongst the dry chaparral hills and rocky ravines, some scorched and bearing the black scars of bygone wildfires, one may catch a glimpse of the Country Bear Jamboree band plucking their banjos like animatronic fairytale beasts that wander aimlessly through the lunar wilderness and scavenge without purpose beneath the light of a full and unholy moon.
The Lost Coast features a host of animals, alive and dead, that hikers will encounter en route to their destination. The animals that I saw and photographed included squadrons of pelicans and dive-bombing cormorants; there were also monk seals, elephant seals, stellar sea lions, baby rattlesnakes, water snakes, octopi, gumboot chiton, river otters, humans, and more.
The average Lost Coast hiker can complete trip within three days, and should account for rising tides, intense winds, and a solar beat down. On the hike you will see planes traveling at an altitude of 30,000 ft., at an approximate rate of 500 miles per hour. These incredible machines (which were first invented by the Wright Brothers in 1903) can traverse in five minutes the same distance one may cover by foot in three days on the Lost Coast. Don’t let the planes passing by intermittently overheard get you down, for to be along the Lost Coast and cut off from civilization, even for just a short time, is worth much more than a plane ticket anywhere, except for possibly Iceland.