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2014 Update

28 Sep

For the first two weeks in September of each year, I am the Camp Host at Needle Rock Visitor Center in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.

I get an update from the Sinkyone Rangers on the trail as well as feedback from backpackers hiking by the Visitor Center.

Last winter, the Sinkyone park staff did trail maintenance from Usal to Bear Harbor, cutting many trees that lay across the trail.  I understand that just north of Usal is an area of pampas grass along the trail that needs to be cut back.  I plan on doing that sometime in early 2015.

During the 2014 Spring, Boy Scouts did work trail work around Bear Harbor and Whale Gulch. They brushed the sides of the trail and I saw there super efforts.

The Sinkyone State Park staff is aware that a couple of the bridges between the Needle Rock Visitor Center and Jones Beach need replacement. The bridges are still standing but obviously need attention. We are working on getting assistance to do the repairs.

The road from the Needle Rock Visitor Center to Bear Harbor is closed to vehicles but is open to hikers and backpackers.

I had a group of hikers from the Midwest stop at the Needle Rock Visitor Center. They had been coming down the trail and the last person looked behind and saw a male elk with antlers “following them with bad intentions.”  They were concerned about continuing their backpack.  I explained that backpackers have to share the trail with the elk.  The only intentions male elk have this time of year is to mate with the cows since it is rutting season.  So, you can walk around the elk if there is room or you can just let them pass. They are used to humans on the trail and really have no interest in you.

I had two men and their dogs show up at the Needle Rock Visitor Center. They had been hiking from Usal with the dogs.  The men were fine, the large dog was fine but the other thin dog was totally exhausted and could not move. First, I told them that dogs are not allowed on the Sinkyone State Park backpack trails.  Also, elk have been known to kill dogs. Second, I noted that the exhausted dog did not seem like the type you would take on a 20 mile backpack.  They apologized and admitted their stupidity.  Bottom line, I had to shuttle all of them to Shelter Cove.  I mention all of this here because I would hope not to see this again. An example of very poor judgement.

Have to report that a hiker had bear spray go off in his crotch area while at Bear Harbor. I will let you think about the details as I will not report them here.  My point in mentioning this is that there is no need to carry bear spray. There have never been any bear attacks along the Lost Coast. As most of you know, they are after your food, not you. Wild bears are afraid of you.

If you have any other updates, please let us know.  Happy hiking!!

Lost Coast Al