• JustagermanHiker

Great Western Loop: Day 166 - 168: Shelter Cove to Ft. Bragg

Day 166: Rollercoaster (29miles)

The night at the campground had been a bit uncomfortable. After eating a burger at the local brewery I felt really bad and went straight into my tent.

Several times throughout the night a skunk tried to steal my food. We fought for quite a while, but than I eventually (accidentally...) kicked the skunk's nose and it disappeared for good.

From the coast, I initially followed a road and than reconnected with the southern part of the Coastal Trail. It was a rather steep climb of some 2500ft that didn't really provide great views, but hiking through a forest was much easier than hiking through soft sand.

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The trail than followed a succession of steep climbs and descents over the next 20miles. After each climb the trail lead to another secluded beach with often great ocean views.

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My plan was to get as close as possible to Usal beach, but after talking to a lovely State Park Volunteer, I decided not to camp there. Usal beach is known for attracting many car campers from Ft. Bragg and is therefore oftentimes quite noisy and crowded.

(American Elk)


Day 167: All wet...(39miles)

Day 167 was one of the roughest days in a long time. I had heard about potential rainfall in Shelter Cove and indeed woke up to a nice summer rain. This warm and soft rain intensified over the next couple of hours.

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Long before noon it was raining cats and dogs. I stowed away my phone to prevent it from getting wet again and put on a stubborn can-do attitude.


The last miles to Usal Beach were slow going and slippery and so I fell pretty bad, when some fern wrapped itself around my foot. I got lucky as my fall was stopped by a few trees, before it got worse. I sprained a finger, but had no other injuries.


Miles before reaching Usal Beach I heard, what the volunteer had been talking about the day before. Loud beats and party music.

From Usal Beach I hiked along a dirt road and than another 28miles along the Shoreline Highway.

Even in this rain, this section offered some great views, but without any protection from trees or hills, I had to face strong winds and a more and more intense rain. Before long I was completely soaked and feared the worst for my gear. Fortunately it was still a rather warm day, but I still had to keep hiking to not get cold.

I initially had hoped to find a dry place in Westport, but didn't get lucky and so I pushed all the way through to Ft. Bragg.


Day 168: Planning...again (0miles)

With most of my gear wet and the decision to leave the California Coastal Trail to return to the PCT I once again stayed in town, to dry my stuff and to plan the 330mile hike through central California.

As of now, I have completed 75% of my hike and roughly 1600miles left. I should be able to finish my hike within the next 2 months.


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