Blonde Beasts on the Lost Coast

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I’ve been on a handful of backpacking trips. This was like no other.  I’ve been on longer backpacking journeys, with surfboards in tow, but I’ve always had a man with me. For this trip we made it our mission to turn down every guy who wanted to backpack with us. This was to be an epic female bonding adventure; and a way to see the Lost Coast through our own eyes.  

We had a bit of an interesting start. My flight up to San Fran was delayed several hours. Once I did land, my friend was waiting to pick me up, at the wrong airport. By the time we got to our friend Holly’s house in Mendocino, it was 5am, just in time to sleep for one hour before heading out the door. Feeling nauseous from the winding road to Shelter Cove and delirious from the lack of sleep, we set out on the trail with our 50 + lbs. bags. Three girls, three boards and a pup, looking for empty waves and adventure.  What we found in the beginning of our journey, was a bit of a grueling experience. Hiking on sand and rocks for 20 miles, in the middle of the day, on no sleep, with overpacked bags quickly felt like a bit of a challenge. However, we aren’t named “The Blonde Beasts” for nothing. There were a few times where we wanted to stop and rest, and maybe even sleep before our destination. But hiking the Lost Coast is very tide-dependent. If you miss-time the tides, you can literally die. The signs at the trail-head “gently” warn you of this.  We had tide charts….actually we left our tide chart at home…don’t tell Holly’s boyfriend. However, we knew the tide was rising, and we had to keep moving at a good pace, especially since we had a late start. Holly seemed to really know this well, and the entire time we struggled to keep up with her, our charging Blonde Beast Leader. 

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There was really no one walking in the direction that we were hiking, which is typical of “Blonde Beasts”. Most people hike the Lost Coast in the opposite direction. Whenever we met people in passing, we felt like celebrities. Almost everyone whipped out their cameras to take photos of us or ask us questions. I even gave a middle-aged asian woman a quick “surf lesson” on the sand because she was so mesmerized by us. 

Along the way, we saw purple, blue, pink and yellow wildflowers, whalebones, velellas, eagles, sea lions the size of elephant seals, and lots of waves. When we finally arrived to our destination, we were presented with playful offshore barrels at a perfect little setup. The place was a dream-come-true. We surfed, by ourselves…just three girls out.  We laid naked on the beach. In fact, we walked around naked much of the time. We cooked food and tea by the fire. Our Beast Leader Holly somehow hiked in Yams, Onions, Zucchinis, Lentils, eggs and ayurvedic spices. We had feasts by the fire. Toasted to the sunset. Slept in the rain. We watched a mama deer defend her babies from a coyote, right in our campsite. We bathed in the cold river. And perhaps most importantly, we talked about life and it’s challenges, and how we can overcome them as strong, determined women. 

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It’s adventures like these that really do help me to feel my strength and to know my own worth.

I hesitated to write something about the Lost Coast because I would hate for a bunch of people to read this and then all go there in masses. However, I do hope that someone reads this and is inspired to get outside, “away from civilization”, away from a phone, material luxuries and creature comforts,  and do something wild. 

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Taylor Cotton