Hello dampness, my old friend.
A cold mist blew across the ocean bluff, infiltrating my campsite and leaving a film of moisture across my tent and camping equipment. It was time to pack up and face the foggy day. If the weather wasn’t motivation enough, ahead of me lay several sections of the Lost Coast Trail that were only passable at low tide, and waves were already beginning to encroach upon the shore.
I scurried down to the beach with my backpack and pointed my sandals south. Soon the slopes of the King Range steepened so that escape onto land became impossible. The crashing of the waves echoed loudly against the cliffs, suggesting violent consequences for lingering on the sand too long. I could sense the rising tide as a beast at bay – restrained for now, but growing in strength.
Out in the Pacific, seals and sea lions gave up their rocky perches and plunged into the water, seeking some scaly breakfast. The tips of sea palms poked through the ocean surface, awaiting full submersion. I’d never encountered this species of kelp before; they gave the unsettling impression that a horde of Navy Seals were floating offshore, heads and snorkels protruding, waiting for their moment to invade the beach.
Sand gave way to a garden of boulders, and I spent a lot of time staring at my feet, stepping precisely upon each rock so I wouldn’t lose my balance and twist an ankle. At least the boulders had been rocked into settled positions by the waves so that they wouldn’t tip. Not so for the smaller stones at the water’s edge that were constantly bullied about by the heavy surf. The breakers rolled these rocks against each other with a crackling noise reminiscent of how my bones would sound when the waves smashed my body against the cliffs… or at least that was how it would sound if I didn’t pick up the pace a little.