Getting back to nature in order to refresh our perspective, shift our mindset, or inspire creativity is a natural part of the human spirit. And there are few better ways to reboot and reflect than by taking a pair of Ford Raptors through miles of logging roads only to descend to a remote stretch of pristine Northern California coast line. We had 36 hours to explore, unwind, camp, and return. Here is our journey:
At 5am we headed North out of San Francisco. After 150 miles of pavement, we reached the logging road entry point where our journey really began.
We found ourselves winding up miles and miles of dirt roads, driving past active logging crews falling and stripping trees.
We eventually entered the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. The park borders the Pacific Ocean and is mostly inaccessible by major roads and highway access, hence its nickname “Lost Coast”. The area takes its name from the native Sinkyone tribe.
Just south of Shelter Cove, we took a hard left down a long descent that lead us closer and closer to the Pacific. After 6 hours of forest driving, the incredible vistas began to open up.
At 4pm, we arrived at the Needle Rock Visitor Center, complete with its small museum of whale bones and information on native animals and plants of the area. The area is the perfect vista to see pods of whales migrating during the spring season. Small, intimate campsites can be found up and down the coastline. Most of the campsites are only accessible by hiking. The sites are all first come, first serve. If you are lucky enough to arrive early, you might even find a barn to camp inside.
Everything about the area was breathtaking. The waves were crashing less than 100 yards from our small, creekside campsite. There are miles of beach that just beckon to be explored. Once camp was set, we headed south for a 3.5 mile hike to Bear Harbor. Bear Harbor once served as a logging run operation transport site. The original railroad tracks can still be seen jutting out of a rock at the western-most point of the cove.
Bear Harbor is a magical place. The small cove is relatively sheltered from the rolling sets of waves and it offers tide-pools and freshwater streams and feels super remote. After 2 hours of nonstop photography, the light was gone and we found ourselves with a 3.5 mile trek back to camp in the dark.
We awoke the next day to a perfect morning: no fog, just a little dew, and that sweet sound of crashing waves. With low-tide at 9am, we decided to hike north to Jones Beach.
Roosevelt Elk roam in herds around the area. They are typically docile animals, but can become aggressive in the spring when their young calves are around.
Getting to the beach ended up being a formidable task. We navigated a steep 200 foot descent via a network of ropes and cables, which opened up to a natural waterfall hitting the beach.
The beach was pristine. Seals basked on the exposed rock and starfish and anemone littered the shallow pools.
At 10am we got back in the trucks and took off for home. As we headed north to Shelter Cove along the wide gravel trails, the Raptors felt right at home! Once we rejoined the pavement, we pushed east to HWY 101, cutting through Humbolt Redwoods State Park. Standing next to a giant majestic redwood that is 10 to 15 feet in diameter is absolutely awe-inspiring.
With our inspiration tanks full and our gas tanks empty, we started the trip back to San Francisco. It was a perfect 36-hour journey!