I’m a Wilderness First Responder again

I just re-certified my WFR for my fifth time. It was one of the better courses I’d taken and it was easily the most beautiful location out of all of my courses. Even more so than Jackson Hole surprisingly. Where was it? Point Bonita in Marin.

I was incident commander for our large scenario. This woman lost a few fingers after a fall down a cliff. There were six or seven other patients around the scene.

I was incident commander for our large scenario. This woman lost a few fingers after a fall down a cliff. There were six or seven other patients around the scene.

Unexpectedly, my friend Jack Laws (on the right) was in the class.

Unexpectedly, my friend Jack Laws (on the right) was in the class.

Backpacking Judge Davis Trail to Wilson Valley

I solo’ed to Wilson Valley recently. After a light drizzle, hundreds of salamanders came out. There were so many that it was hard to walk without stepping on them. I spent a little time going up Jack Canyon and learned about various unmapped roads, routes and trails that I’d like to try in the area.

This guy froze and did pushups for my camera.

This guy froze and did pushups for my camera.

GGG-West 2014 in Henry Coe State Park

I went to my third GGG-West last weekend. As in the past, it was a good time.

The ~3 mile walk to the campsite was a late night affair, mostly done with my headlamp off. The stars were great and the dark outlines of gargantuan oaks made it a neat way to start the weekend. Once at camp it was the usual GGG: catching up old friends, meeting new people, checking in with the “hiking celebrities” in attendance, drinking, avoiding gear talk, being absolutely blown by some people’s gear geekery (in a good way). I spent much of the weekend chatting with Bobcat – a cool dude.

I looped down to China Hole for some exercise.

Ron from Six Moon Designs showed off his new line of packs. It was interesting insight into how a garage gear businesses shifts to a more professionally produced product. Ron and I chatted late into the night. Fascinating stuff.

Early Sunday. There were probably about 100 people at the gathering.

Early Sunday. There were probably about 100 people at the gathering.

Beaches, redwoods and quiet backroads

Wild harvested uni.

Wild harvested uni.

Post Christmas I tied my board on top and headed north. Charlie and I rendezvoused at Big River. It was rough. We turned south again and put in at Albion.

It was my first try at NorCal condition freediving. I only puked a little bit. I wasn’t hunting, but Charlie confirmed that the visibility was mediocre and the fish were hard to find. He still speared five. I really only hit bottom a few times but it sure was neat for the few seconds I was down there. I loved it and will go again.

Camp at McKerricher was infused with beer and grilled fish. CA State Parks are expensive. $43 for the night.

After a walk to the beach, breakfast in Fort Bragg and a stop at the dive shop, Charlie headed home. I went north.

The running tally of the places I went after:

  • stopped at McKerricher and another beach farther north. The fog bank rolling in was beautiful.
  • camped and jogged at Westport-Union up on the bluffs. What a stellar place to camp.
  • lunched under the redwoods at Richardson Grove.
  • stopped at Benbow but there wasn’t enough water to paddle.
  • intentionally drove the very long way to the Mattole via Ettersburg. It’s a curvy and rural few hours on a mostly single lane road. I was surprised by the number of people that live so far off the grid. It’s definitely a center of the west’s back to the lander movement. I’m sure most of them have moved from vegetables to pot.
  • camped two nights at the Mattole estuary. Sat on the beach, walked south beyond Punta Gorda.
  • stopped in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
Just what the doctor ordered: a few days on the beach.

Just what the doctor ordered: a few days on the beach.

Things of note:

I love solos. Read a book, two New Yorkers and two High Country News’. I was asleep around 9pm and would wake up and read for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. I slept in my car each night.

I saw at least twelve whales one afternoon. I didn’t see anyone else whale watching.

It was around the king tide and the lows were extreme. The tidepools extended up and down the coast. I found a lot of cool things, including a fish head that was about 20 inches wide. The sea lions at Punta Gorda were making farting noises with their mouths.