After getting back from the rodeo on Saturday we started planning what we were going to do to entertain Derek and Lauren on Sunday. We suggested Fern Canyon, but Derek said Lauren liked long hikes, and after our snowshoe trip last January, I knew she was up to it.
Reviewing a best Humboldt hikes article we had saved from the paper a while ago I remembered about Punta Gorda Lighthouse, a hike I’ve wanted to do since hearing about it. So Sunday around noon we left for the drive along the Lost Coast Loop and made the detour on Lighthouse Road to Mattole Campground. Derek was a bit bewildered that the road stopped at this point. I pointed out that’s what happens when you keep traveling west, eventually the Pacific Ocean proves to be a major hurdle for road building.
The hike from the campground to the lighthouse is about 3.5 miles. We had a nice 3 mile hike out, enjoying the tidepools and collecting shells along the beach. By the end of the trip Lauren had all her pockets and most of ours filled with her collection. At the 3 mile mark major exhaustion seemed to set in and as the wind was picking up we huddled behind a rock for a rest. I went down the beach to the look around the next point figuring that if I didnt’ see the lighthouse we’d turn back. Well the lighthouse came in to view, so we decided to push on.
We finally got to the lighthouse and spent some time exploring what’s left, which isn’t much. But the most interesting thing is the stairway, and more specifically, the opening to the light room itself. There must have been a requirement that you had to be a skinny person to be the lighthouse keeper. In order to gain access I had to push my camera bag and tripod on ahead of me.
By the time we turned around and started heading back, the wind was really howling, at times almost knocking us down. On the trip south we walked the beach all the way, going back north we found a trail further up the beach that in some parts was more packed and made the hiking a lot easier. 7 miles of flat walking sounded easy, but throw in that most of it you’re walking across sand, and then add in the 40 mile winds on the way back and we were all pretty exhausted by the time we got back to the car.
We continued on the loop through Honeydew and the Avenue of the Giants, but we were all too pooped and we were running out of daylight so we didn’t do any more hiking.
We got back to Grizzly Bluff just as the sun was making a beautiful departure, and then picked up a pizza before heading home. A great ending for a nice day away from the house and yard.