Day 4: Ups and Downs and Ups

Saturday May 29, 15.3mi/24.6km

Jones Beach Campground (37.9/110ft) to Anderson Camp (53.2/120ft) (CA)

The walk out of camp felt different today, everything was very quiet, even the ocean could barely be heard.

We walked on the old two track road for a mile, then veered away from the beach.

Around the next corner was a ranger station. The guy came strolling over to collect $10 each from us… which was a little surprising. The spot we had camped at last night was technically in the State park, and he wanted the fee. But there was no signage at our campsite mentioning a fee; obviously we would have camped elsewhere. After scraping together $22 between the three of us, he let us pass. Sheesh!

The next mile of trail made us forget that whole unpleasantness. Elk were everywhere!

And even more elk …

Around the next corner was another herd of elk.

And these two elk got uncomfortably close. They are clearly used to humans.

And more elk…

After binging on elk viewing for 30 minutes, we moved on.

The trail meandered back and forth between coast and deep forest.

The floor down here on the coast is fascinating. So many different flowers!

We realized we were approaching the next camping area, when this privy appeared. The buoys were a nice touch.

As we were hiking away from the camp area and back into the thicker brush, a lone elk scared the s*** out of us!

After this point the trail became noticeably less maintained. There were a few blowdowns, and we played the game of “over versus under”.

Also the trees became huge.

Parts of the trail were slightly overgrown, but at least it was nice flowers and not poison oak.

It was a cool forest. Some huge trees…

And some groves of Aspen.

After an hour the trail dumped us back onto the beach near Wheeler Camp.

We walked on the beach for a quarter mile, and saw another group laying out on the sand.

At the other end of the beach, we found a nice grassy area and took a lunch break.

I saw a few other people hike by as we were eating. I suspect there is a trailhead not too far from here, given how clean they looked. We hiked on, and the next mile of trail is the most overgrown part of the whole hike.

Topshelf leading thru the ferns.

A cool purple flower.

After 20 minutes the trail opened back up, and we even had some views.

Looking down to Little Jackass creek

The next section of trail was in a dense old forest, and some of the trees had burned.

A little banana slug crawled up as we sat around the tree.

After leaving this nice forest, there was one final section of overgrown Trail.

It’s strange how the trail alternates from overgrown to very nice. On the final downhill to our camp, we were surprised by yet another elk.

A bull elk!

This one was a massive bull elk, and he was kind of blocking the trail, so we waited until he slowly meandered away.

We explored the Anderson camp area, which clearly had been neglected compared to the other campsites we’ve seen so far. We set up our tents on the uppermost tier, since the spots down by the creek seemed dark and damp.

It was a small campsite, so our three tents are basically touching each other. It’s our last night camping so we ate dinner, and also a bunch of our spare food. I was pretty full and I fell asleep quickly.

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