This is now the new blog site for the Wilderness Ranger of the Lost Coast. The reason I have created a new blog is because the last one (kingrange.blogspot.com) was created by the previous Wilderness Ranger, DC. A mishap with passwords left me with only the ability to make posts and unable to change anything else on the site. After much failed attempts to get the password situation sorted out I decided to just create a new but similar site, which you are on now. I encourage you to check out the old blog if you have not been there before. It is now an archive full of tons of useful information about the Lost Coast and the King Range.
So, now that that is cleared up, let me tell you about my weekend on the trail. I did what we call here at the office the, “Saddle, Rattle, Buck Loop.” I started at Saddle Mountain Trailhead and hiked the King Crest Trail to Rattlesnake Ridge Trail which I took down to Big Flat to camp for the night. I then took the Lost Coast Trail to Buck Creek Trail back up to Saddle Mountain Trailhead.
There is still a lot of snow between Maple Camp and Rattlesnake Ridge that makes hiking a bit more difficult. You can see here that is fills in the trail at about a 45 degree angle. Use caution and plan for this section taking you a bit longer than your usual hiking rate. I counted more than 60 trees across the trail from the top of Rattlesnake Ridge down to the first creek crossing. Only a handful of these impede travel but you can still get around them with a bit of ingenuity. Our plan is to have it opened up by early to midsummer. Buck Creek Trail is steep, it gains over 3,000 feet in 3 miles, so prepare your trip accordingly. If you are going to do this loop plan to do it in a minimum of 3 days for maximum safety and enjoyment. Also, know that there is no water source on Buck Creek Trail so fill up everything you have before you start your ascent.
About 50 yards up Buck Creek Trail I had one heck of a surprise:
Yes, this is what you think it is (the image has been slightly edited so you don’t lose your lunch). I would like to believe that the person who left this for his/her fellow hikers had the best intentions. Proper Leave No Trace states that you should go 200 feet away from campsites, drinking water sources and trails to dispose of solid human waste. You then need to dig a 6-8 inch hole to make your deposit and cover it with soil. This stage is very important so the waste can break down and you don’t end up with the scene above. This is proper backcountry practice when you are on any of the upland trails in the King Range and most other wilderness areas. However, when you are on the Lost Coast Trail you need to actually go towards the ocean in the wet sand below the high tide line (or as close to the wet sand as you can safely get). This is because the narrow beaches and steep slopes within the major drainages along the trail make it nearly impossible to find a place 200 feet away from camp, drinking water, and trails, as the case above clearly demonstrates. You might be thinking, “I thought you said 200 feet away from water!” but that is for drinking water sources, which the ocean is not. Also, the microbiological activity in the sand, along with the daily tidal actions, makes it the most ideal place to do your business while you are on the LCT. It’s natural to feel a bit bashful about this since you are out in the open on the beach. I personally just go for a little walk until I can turn a corner or crouch behind something. Hey, think about it this way: how often do you get an opportunity to relieve yourself with such a beautiful view and exciting atmosphere? That’s something to write home about!
Remember, there were people here before you and there will be people here after you. Do the right thing and help keep the Lost Coast clean and enjoyable for everyone.
Drop me a line if you have any questions or need help planning your trip to the King Range.
Your Wilderness Ranger,
707-986-5405, This is my office phone
707-986-5400, This is the main line to Pam, our contact representative. She can also answer any questions you may have.