Lost Coast Trail: Usal Creek to Orchard Camp (Southern Section)

Trip Update:

First of all, I do want to mention that the Northern Section of the Lost Coast is still scheduled to be closed through May 31st.  I spoke to 3 different rangers, and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park is still open and shouldn't be a concern for us, but I do want to make sure that everyone is aware of this, and as with any backpacking trip, there is always a risk.  Here is the latest news on this:
http://www.times-standard.com/news/ci_23281293/manhunt-shane-miller-day-12-deputies-continue-scaled

With that said, I spoke with the ranger up there today about the road conditions and he said the road to Usal is passable with regular passenger cars, however, the road from there up to Orchard camp is not recommended for passenger cars (passable with high clearance vehicles). I haven't heard from anybody else with 4WD, therefore, to simplify things, I'm thinking of changing the nature of the trip and save shuttle time as well as maximize nature time without impacting the quality of the trip by making this from a one way to out and back.  The plan basically remains the same, (still starting at Usal Campground, hike in to Little Jackass Creek and set up camp), but instead if we like the spot, we can keep this as a base camp, and do a day hike out to Wheeler camp and/or beyond and return to base camp.  Then final day hike out the way we came inThis plan still allows us to cover most of the ground originally planned, while saving the hassle and time for car shuttling.

***********************************************

No luck with the lottery on the other trips and still interested in heading out over Memorial Day Weekend. Check this trip out:

Looking to create a group of 8 for this trip.

Details:
Lost Coast Trail: Usal Creek to Orchard Camp (South Section) - Memorial Day Weekend

Total Distance: 16 miles (one way trip, so will need to figure out car drop off and pick up details):

Total Gain: 5968 ft
Total Loss: 5963 ft

Head up on Friday and camp at Usal Campground
We'll pick up permits at the trailhead. ($5 per night.)
Day 1 (Saturday): Get an early start, shuffle cars up to Orchard Camp (if didn't do this Friday night). Starting from Usal TH, hike 7 miles to Little Jackass Creek and set up camp on the beach. (this will be the most intensive part of the trip with a lot of ups and downs).

Day 2 (Sunday) From there we'll have more flexibility. i.e. relax on the beach for a half a day, explore the area there before packing up and hiking to next spot. Will have a list of potential spots from another beach camp to camping in Redwood Forests.

Day 3 (Monday). Pack up and hike out and drive back to Usal TH to pick up the cars.

Other details:
I've read there could potentially be a lot of Poison Oak, so if you are highly sensitive to that, then this might not be the right trip for you.

Although this is only 16 miles spread out over 3 days, there is a lot of elevation gain and loss, so you should be in general good hiking shape. The pace of the hike will be moderate, meaning we'll have the chance to take our time. Beginner Backpackers with hiking experience are welcome.

Guide of recent trip:
http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/1210577

(Lottery rules in effect if applicable and will be done on Sunday, May 19th).

***Sinkyone Wilderness State Park is located within "Bear Country".  State Park regulations require that visitors store all food and scented items properly at all times.

Bear Canisters are not required here, but do recommend having one.  If you don't have a bear canister, be prepared to hang your food.

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  • patrick k.

    Wowee, what an outstanding trip! It was a true pleasure meeting and hiking with the 3 of ya and thanks so much Gregory for doing a top-notch job of planning it out. Good times!

    1 · May 28, 2013

  • Kirsten S.

    Lovely!

    1 · May 27, 2013

  • Dan

    Have to work on a grant that is due Tuesday. Next time.

    May 24, 2013

  • Dan F.

    So sorry to bail the day before this trip, but I have just been offered some valuable job training over the weekend that I can't pass up. Furthermore, I just drained my bank account to replace a bicycle that was stolen a few days ago and I have almost no money left for transportation and backpacking supplies. I'll remove my name from the carpool list to avoid confusion. I hope you all have a great time!

    May 23, 2013

    • Gregory V.

      No worries Dan. Sorry about the bike, I've been there. Good luck with the training, and perhaps catch you on another trip sometime.

      May 23, 2013

  • Dan

    OK, so who can give me a lift? I can take the caltrain up to the city, and meet someone there. But I'll need to know what time you are planning on leaving, and hopefully that works with my schedule. Also where is this shared google doc located? I'm a noob to this meetup thing.

    May 23, 2013

  • Sanny L.

    Sorry about last min changes. Ended up finding someone to go to the Sierra's with me so I'll pass on Lost Coast this time. Have fun and hope to join you guys another time. Remember to bring tecnu!

    May 23, 2013

  • Dan

    I'd love to go. I'll need a ride though, but other than that I'm self sufficient. I live in Palo Alto and I'll caltrain if someone is willing to give me a lift to the trailhead. I'd be happy to provide jokes and pitch in for gas. I could leave work at 3ish (have a meeting til 2:30) and be in S.F. around 4. I've RSVP'ed but really cannot do it without a way to get there.

    May 23, 2013

    • Sanny L.

      Dan - you can ride with me. My contacts are in the shared google doc.

      May 23, 2013

  • Sanny L.

    Guys I just signed up. First trip with this group, but I'm a decently experience backpacker. I will leave from Burlingame on Friday afternoon, can give ride to anyone who need one.

    May 23, 2013

  • patrick k.

    Weatherman says 40% chance of rain Monday. Might wanna bring pancho along.

    May 23, 2013

  • Kirsten S.

    Thanks Gregory! So looking forward to this. I'd like to carpool with someone with a more rugged vehicle than mine (I love my Corolla wagon, but this may not be the trip for it). Happy to split gas, help with driving, etc. I live in Oakland, but can meet up wherever is convenient.

    May 19, 2013

    • Gregory V.

      Patrick is correct. I spoke with the ranger up there today about the road conditions and he said the road to Usal is passable with regular passenger cars. With that said, the road from there up to Orchard camp is not recommended for passenger cars but passable with high clearance vehicles. I haven't heard from anybody else with 4WD, therefore, I may change the nature of the trip and save shuttle time by making this from a one way to out and back. I have a plan, that I think will work great, without impacting the quality of the trip. I'll work out the details and update this idea shortly.

      May 20, 2013

    • Kirsten S.

      Thanks Patrick. I'm keeping an eye on the carpool doc, looks like I might be needed as a driver. If not, happy to take you up on your offer.

      May 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just got called into work Sunday. Hope someone can take my place.

    May 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just got called in to work Sunday

    May 21, 2013

  • Scott R.

    Sounds fantastic! Now I just need to get off the waitlist by Friday...

    May 20, 2013

  • Amber I

    I'd love to join in a spot opens up. I also live in SF.

    May 20, 2013

  • Erik

    would love to join if spot become available! and I'll be coming from SF.

    May 20, 2013

  • Gregory V.

    There was no need to do a lottery so I moved everybody that was on the waiting list to the Yes list.

    Here is a URL to a Google doc spreadsheet to figure out carpool:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqKnvaGix34_dHRQYzY2bldvaWVVTjM3eURYeHNGZFE#gid=0

    Please fill out the fields by Tuesday so we can iron all that out. If you can no longer make the trip, please switch your RSVP to No.

    RSVP's will remain open for the rest of the week, for any of those that are still interested and space opens up:

    May 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking for a ride, if possible. Thanks :)

    May 19, 2013

  • frank

    I did this trip a few years ago on Memorial Day. It is a rough drive into Usal Camp. Also if you see the Ranger ask about the fees. It is not explained very clearly but if I remember correctly it was only $5.00 total. I remember because we asked and she explained it to us and others we met had paid the $5.00/night. It is really a beautiful hike. Even with this dry year there should be lots of wildflowers. Keep an eye open for wild strawberries to snack on and Roosevelt Elk.

    May 17, 2013

    • Gregory V.

      Thanks for the feedback Frank! I understand the road to Usal Campground is a narrow dirt road, but it's always good to hear from people that have been there. Would you recommend high clearance vehicle to get by, or can a passenger get by it? (I have 4wd so should be good, but wondering about others that will be going on the trip). I'm waiting to hear back from the ranger on current road conditions as well.

      May 17, 2013

    • frank

      4wd is best. Passenger car can make it as long as it is not raining but SLOW. The year we went in it was pouring and someone got stuck the night before. People were there all night.

      May 17, 2013

  • Kirsten S.

    If the area is still closed by Memorial Day how about an alternative route in the TrinityAlps of similar difficulty?

    May 17, 2013

  • Gregory Verrilli changed the location to Usal Campground

    May 15, 2013

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