My second day on the Lost Coast Trail was hiking from Wheeler Campground to Usal Beach Campground. I slept in a bit and really enjoyed the slow breakfast ritual. Because I knew that no one camped at the campground other than myself, it was a very quiet early morning and I appreciated the solitude moment. I think that it was the first time since my solo backpacking trip ever at Haleakala in Maui almost two years ago.


Breakfast – blueberry bagel, oatmeal with maple and brown sugar and a banana with instant coffee. Once I was done, I also drank green tea.

While boiling water for oatmeal and coffee, I separated a set of eateries for ‘lunch’ on which I munched while on the move. I rarely stopped for snacking on this Lost Coast Trail trip. I sort of took up a habit of eating constantly (or frequently) and taking a bite before I felt hungry.

Snack on the trail
Snack on the trail – 2 Clif bars, trail mix, PowerGel, Pocket Fuel, gummy bears and a granola bar

I didn’t do any calorie counting before leaving for the Lost Coast Trail trip, so I would not know exactly how many calories they were (or I could do it now since I have photos of what I actually ate posted here for the whole world to see) but it was a good amount to keep myself up and walking. And for dinner on this Lost Coast Trail trip, I had my own dehydrated spaghetti, which was delicious as always.

College graduates backpacking the Lost Coast Trail
A group of recent college graduates whom I ran into the day before spent the night at the beach, which is about a quarter mile away from Wheeler Campground. We briefly chatted about the weather condition the night before. They were talking it easy, maybe go for a few more miles up, but would head out on the same day. I said good bye and went on.

Once I left the campground, the immediate campground is located right by the beach. Maybe less than 1,000 yards from Wheeler and this is where a group of college graduates from Upstate New York whom I met the day before spent the night. I would not necessarily oppose to the idea of camping right by the ocean but if I don’t know whether or not there would be wind and if the water source is close.

Beach near Wheeler Campground
Beach near Wheeler Campground

According to them, there was hardly no wind overnight, which is good, but still they had to come to the water stream nearby Wheeler where I spent the night, so I was fine with that. Besides, once I crawled into my sleeping bag, I was ready to close my eyes anyway, it would’ve made no difference whether or not I spent the night by the beach. And while having a quick chat with these campers in the morning, I got to enjoy the view of the beach anyway, it didn’t really matter.

Beach, Wheeler Campground, Lost Coast Trail
Turned around for another quick peek at the beach as I was gradually walking up the inclining trail.

And for the record, the California Grey Whales travel by the Lost Coast Trail between November and April, mostly in January, so I had nothing to lose by setting up my camp at Wheeler.

Ocean view, Lost Coast Trail, blue sky, clouds, backpacking, hiking,
Found a little corner on the cliff where I was able to see the almost 200 degree of ocean view. It was quite breathtaking.

After a bit of uphill climb, I got to the part of the off trail that led to an open area of the Anderson Cliff, where I could see the whole thing in about 200 degrees, the ocean, both sides of the cliff and wide open sky.

Beach view, ocean, Lost Coast Trail, trail, backpacking, hiking,
I turned around in the direction of the beach where I walked past less than a half hour ago, and there it was. The college graduate backpackers were still there, and it was remarkable to realize how much of elevation that I gained.

It was so breathtakingly beautiful. And from there, I could see the beach campground where the young campers spent the night.

Ocean, Lost Coast Trail, green, blue, waves, rocks, rock formations,
Bottom of the cliff

I moved on quickly to still think that I could finish the whole Lost Coast Trail in 3 days but of course, by the time I climbed another hill, I had to revise the plan.

California poppy, Lost Coast Trail, nature, flowers, trail, California, wild flowers,
I had no idea that I would run into California Poppy in the Lost Coast Trail. But then again, why is it so surprising? After all, it is California Poppy.

Along the Lost Coast Trail there were a couple of flowers that I had never seen before, along with Pampas Grass, California Poppy and Clovers.

pink flowers, Lost Coast Trail, nature, flowers, plants, beauty, appreciation, hiking, backpacking,
Never got around to learn the name of this flower. Does anyone know?

Particularly, the pink flowers were just eye catchy. I bet I took more than five photos there.

Pampas Grass, Lost Coast Trail, invasive, plants, tall, not native plants, California,
These are the tallest Pampas Grass I’ve ever seen. The ones I usually see are in Santa Monica.

Speaking of Pampas Grass, they grew so tall and so densely here that the sharp edges of the grass were literally scratching my arms. There was no other way around them but walking through them, so I did, but frankly it was quite annoying.

clover, Lost Coast Trail, California, Central California, lush,
I really liked these clover beds though.
Big White Rock, Lost Coast Trail, California, Central California, backpacking, trail,
Big White Rock

After Little Jackass Campground, which is located in the wooded part of the trail and is in a way perfect on rainy days to stay dry, and Anderson Campground, whose toilet is abandoned and is wide open so it would not be a good choice for rainy conditions although the creek is so close, I reached a point where Big White Rock was so prominently seen.

ocean, ocean view, rocks, Lost Coast Trail, sky, clouds,
Ocean view from the trail

The whole view of the ocean from this point is spectacular, but also I was very glad that Usal Beach was not too far away from there.

Big White Rock
I zoomed in on Big White Rock. It is a distinctive landmark, so backpackers and hikers would know where they are in relation to where the rock is located in the map.

The water was so calm, and the way that the vast ocean was seen was just nothing but spectacular.

Ocean, Lost Coast Trail, California, Big White Rock,
Panoramic view of the ocean from one end of the trail to the other. As I was walking farther away from Big White Rock, I was also getting close to the last creek that I had to cross. Meanwhile, the sight of the ocean never left me.

Especially, when I crossed Dark Gulch, the last creek, where I could get water for the last time, till I reached Usal Beach, I knew that hiking for the day, in particular, after another uphill climb, was soon to be over and that camping at the beach would be a good idea when I saw the view of the beach.

Usal Beach, Lost Coast Trail, California, backpacking, hiking, Central California
Finally Usal Beach revealed itself. A corner of the beach appeared in sight, and I got really excited.

Specifically, with a sunset view in mind. Of course, it turned out that none of them was happening as I wished.

Usal Beach, Lost Coast Trail, California, Central California, backpacking, hiking,
Usal Beach seen from the top of the hill. As excited as I was, it also occurred to me that I had to hike up this same hill to return tomorrow. However, I was so glad that I was so close to the end of the trip for the day.

When I reached Usal Beach, I realized that there was no visible sign of water.

Usal Campground, Usal Beach, Lost Coast Trail, California, Central California, backpacking, hiking, camping, solo trip,
Bulletin board at the trailhead near Usal Campground

There was a creek supposed to be flowing with water under the bridge nearby a memorial, but the creek was dry as a bone.

Usal Beach, Lost Coast Trail, California, Central California, backpacking, camping, hiking,
Some kind of memorial

Literally no water source was in sight and I was walking around the campground and the beach for close to an hour for nothing, so I had to ask for help. Especially I had enough water for the night, but it was all electrolyte infused water, not for cooking. Besides, I would not want to look for water next day when I wake up.

Usal Beach, Lost Coast Trail, Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, backpacking, hiking, camping,
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park bulletin board didn’t say a word about no water availability or where else I could find water source.

Thankfully there was a couple who was car camping by the beach, and with their help I was able to find another campsite near the entrance of the whole area from Usal Dr., which is opposite side of the beach. There was a shallow creek right by the site where I could see water still flowing, and that was good enough for me.

Sunset, Usal Beach, campground, Lost Coast Trail, backpacking, hiking,
The sunset view was not as impressive as I hope to watch. Nonetheless, I got my water and was ready to head to the campground.

At least I was able to get a few early sunset shots from the beach before heading that way, so I was so ready to set up a camp and cook dinner. It was dark by the time when I reached there (Usal Beach recreation area is quite huge) and no one was around. It worked for me.

Dinner, Lost Coast Trail, Usal Beach, campground, backpacking, hiking, camping,
Dinner – hydrated spaghetti

Soon it was my favorite meal time of the day again, and once I was done with my rehydrated yummy spaghetti, I was ready to hit the comfy pillow.

Have you camped at Usal Campground? What was your experience like? When you camped, was there enough water in the main water stream? 

Thank you reading. Don’t forget the 3rd day on the trail.


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