Lost Coast

The Lost Coast is California’s wildest coast with cliff-edge trails, redwood groves and black sand beaches. We all need one place on the map, one place in hearts that is lost. Enjoy this passage from “Hiking on Edge: Dreams, Schemes, and 1600 Miles on the California Coast” by John McKinney. Soul-stirring, read more.

Lost Coast

I hear the residents of Sea Lion Rocks before I see them— two dozen Steller sea lions. A mile beyond the big creatures is the abandoned Punta Gorda Lighthouse. In 1911, after several ships were wrecked on the rocks and reefs off the Lost Coast, a lighthouse was built a mile south of Punta Gorda, a name meaning “massive point.”

The mouth of the Mattole River, a complication of gravel bars, marks the northern end of the Lost Coast. Sea gulls and osprey circle above me as I watch the harbor seals bob in the tidal area where the river meets the ocean. I look back into the mist at the King Range, at slopes that seem so much steeper than the angle of repose, and that are kept from collapsing into the sea only by some hidden force deep within the earth.

It is not really the coast that is lost, but ourselves. If we cannot find the coast because of the smoke of our cities, the walls we build to keep one another out, the industries we run that run us, it is surely we who are lost.

We all need one place on the map, one place in our hearts that is lost. In a wild place, lost from the mean streets, we can find our selves, our best selves. A place that is peaceful, for prayer and for contemplation, is good; a place that is wild, for challenge and confrontation, is better; and a place that is both peaceful and wild, for the love of life and the lust of living, is best.