There are many things I fear in life:
1. Animals. Large or small. In flight or on foot. Domesticated or wild. I’m just not a fan. I’ve tried to love them, but I just don’t. I’m sorry. The exception to the rule: Alpacas. I cannot get enough of alpacas.
2. Heights. Mostly if I have to climb up or jump off. My fear of falling is pretty intense.
3. Roller coasters. I used to love these. Now I’m wondering who invented such a ridiculous death trap. At this point in life, I get nauseous just thinking about spinning.
4. Fog (this one is new). Particularly driving in it. With the possibility of fear #1 showing up while wildlife watch is difficult.
5. The dark. Not in the “I think the boogie man will get me” kind of way, but in the “driving in the dark is the worst” kind of way.
Lucky for me, we combined all of these for our drive from Eugene to Petrolia, CA. Okay, maybe not the roller coasters, but I’ll get to that in a second.
So, there’s no quick way to get to the Lost Coast. There’s no interstate, so we took Highway 101 down the coast as far as we could. Once we hit the ocean, a heavy fog settled in (fear #4). Then it got dark (fear #5).
We literally couldn’t see 30 feet in front of us because of the fog. At one point, we saw a sign for a radio station with elk information. I made the mistake of tuning in to hear that there are several packs of elk (fear #1) in the area. Apparently a single elk can weigh up to 1200 pounds and run at 35 mph. They are also unpredictable and particularly dangerous in the fog.
Luckily, we didn’t see any elk. But we also couldn’t see anything else. By this point, it was getting really late. We left Highway 101 to get on a much narrower, windy road, where we couldn’t see anything. At all. I have never focused so hard on the little yellow line in the middle of the road. We went up and down and curved all around (conjuring up images of fear #3). Luckily, we had been warned that the roads were pretty crazy, so I took some dramamine in advance. At least I eliminated my fear of throwing up so that I could fully focus on my fear of hitting a deer in the dark. And we did see a lot of deer.
So while we’re on this road, we literally can’t see anything to the sides of our car. And since we’re completely unfamiliar with the area, we have no idea what we’re driving on (except that it’s a rough road with a lot of potholes). So I’m imagining that we’re on top of a mountain, driving on the narrow crest at the top with steep slopes down both sides. Bring on fear #2, specifically falling off the top of a mountain. (We would learn a few days later that this was, indeed what we were driving on.)
Eventually, we made it to our destination a little after midnight (read: way after our bedtime).
Arriving in total darkness made waking up in the morning pretty exciting. Everything was new and unfamiliar, and we really had no idea how we got there! We set out for a hike along the Lost Coast, hiking a small portion of the Lost Coast Trail that ended at an old lighthouse. Now, the guide said that it was a strenuous hike, but I didn’t take that seriously. Let me tell you, hiking 6 miles in the sand is strenuous. Especially when the sand is also full of rocks that like to settle between your feet and your shoes. At least I’ll have a nice souvenir from our trip once I finish digging the stones out of the arches of my feet.
The Lost Coast gets its name from its isolation. The King Range mountains proved to be too rugged for highway building, so the area is only accessible by crazy back roads (i.e. what we drove to get there). The mountains meet up with the sea and provide a pretty beautiful landscape. It’s the most undeveloped and remote portion of the California coast, which made for a really beautiful, peaceful hike. We only encountered a handful of people on the beach on a Saturday afternoon.
We hiked to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse, which is no longer in use. But you can climb up inside of it, which is pretty neat.
After 6 miles of hiking through the sand, we were sufficiently tired and hungry. Eric seriously rocked the grill and cooked some incredible steak and asparagus. We realized we hadn’t had steak in at least a year, which made this even more delicious. Eric is the bomb. And isn’t everything 100% more delicious when eaten outside? Yes.
We spent the rest of the evening playing board games, jamming to 90’s music, and eating ice cream. The perfect way to celebrate three years of marriage.