In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
The journey is the destination – Start North Coast Trail – San Josef Bay to Nissen Bight
2:00 a.m. Rain whips against the tent. Storm gusts lift our herring pins that anchor the tent. I am awake. This has been going on for four hours now. Will our backpacks stay dry outside under the tarp? If our personal belongings are completely soaked, we can just cancel the trip or just not start at all. There is no other way. I have to get out again. Against my will, I reach for my headlamp in the dark and then for the next-best pair of hiking boots. Mine are too far away and there are more important things to do now. I fight the wind gusts that press against the tent, go outside and rush to the tarp. Everything is still dry, but the wind would soon have lifted the cover. We are lucky. I fix the tarp and run back to the tent, and by now I am soaking wet. For a long time, I lie awake and listen anxiously to the roar that from in the tent sounds worse than it is actually is outside. In the early hours of the morning I finally fall asleep. The sky is apparently just as sad as we are that David and Fabian are no longer here, because it rains for the next few hours. Fortunately, the storm subsides. However, due to the ubiquitous wetness and the fine sand, we have to pack all our equipment, wet and dirty. My biggest wish at this moment is that at some point within the next 48 hours the sun will come out so that we can clean and dry everything. But now we’re officially off on the North Coast Trail. We have 15 km ahead of us today, which we already know very well thanks to the last couple of days. The packs are still heavy, but thanks to some repacking and lessons learned, they are a little lighter overall. So, from now on for the next couple of days it is: step by step. The journey is the destination. Slithering over slippery planks, balancing on huge roots over puddles and stumbling through mud, we forge ahead. At lunchtime it is still drizzling, and we are completely sweaty under our rain gear and therefore wet both from the outside and from the inside. Fortunately, we are now a well-oiled machine together, and the mood in the group is good. The old forest with the thick trunks of the giant cedars and sitka spruce, the countless shades of green and the traces of bears and wolves are simply too enchanting for one not to be able to walk through the forest in amazement and observation, despite the rain and the heavy packs. We also know that the hard hike is going to be worth it, because our destination is again the Nissen Bight, a beautiful crescent moon of sandy beach.
On the way we finally get to celebrate this special day, which we had all completely forgotten due to the short night and the somewhat chaotic morning – Carina’s birthday! We wander through the forest singing happy birthday songs.
We couldn’t be happier as we finally arrive at the beach after about six hours. It’s only 4 p.m., we’ve successfully completed the first day and can now rest. And above all: We are absolutely blessed with pure sun, so that we can clean and dry everything. In addition, we have an extensive camp made of driftwood, which offers us many amenities, such as boards for a kitchen and sticks which we can use as tarp poles. Now is the time for a little birthday surprise for Carina. Then: watch whales, rest and prepare for tomorrow. In the evening I walk through the soft sand at sunset, while the jumping flea shrimps tickle my feet. What a day.