Three hikers needed the assistance of a helicopter crew from the U.S. Coast Guard to be extracted from the Lost Coast Trail on Monday. The incident serves as a lesson on the dangers and unpredictability of the legendary Lost Coast Trail
Coast Guard MH65 helicopter crew hoisted the three stranded hikers when inclement weather, rain-flooded creeks, and high seas cut off their only routes out. Watchstanders in the Sector Humboldt Bay command center received a request from Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to assist with the rescue of the hikers south of Punta Gorda. Fortunately, the hikers had a commercial satellite messenger that allowed them to notify authorities of their situation.
One of the hikers, Amy Perkins, explained the situation on a post on her Facebook page:
“I want to address all the negative posts about the Coast guard being called in to rescue us. First day was great first night was too (if listening to elephant seals grumbling all night counts lol) As we woke up and got going there was still no rain the wind had picked up but still looked great. When we came to Cooksie creek it was at knee level and going fast but passable but the wind had gotten so strong that we were too exhausted to keep going forward and had 2 miles to get out of the clutch point. We took shelter at cooksie creek and decided to take a break until the next low tide. Then the bottom fell out and a squal came through. 50mph gusts and the rain stung it was hitting so hard. Then the creek started rising fast so we went out to look and see what the tide was doing and even though it was a low tide the wind was pushing the tide in further than it would have been and we felt like it was going to be an impass. We all hunkered in one tent and weighed our options. We decided the best thing we could do is get help from the Garmin center so we issued our SOS they responded and made sure we weren’t injured and if we had food and could shelter in place.”
“We moved up to higher ground and started setting up our 2nd tent. Then we got a message saying the coastguard was on the way and would be pulling us out before evening. So we tore down camp and they were there within an hour. Read that again we did not call the coastguard the powers that be reassessed our situation and they decided we needed to be pulled out. Do not hesitate to ask for help, sometimes all the help we need is reassuring that the path will be passable the next day but sometimes outside intervention is necessary. I don’t know why the decision changed but I do know that I had prayed and asked for us all to be kept safe and within 30 mins a decision that was “stay there “ was changed to “help is on the way”!”
A mention of the Lost Coast should never be omitted from any comprehensive discussion of California’s best outdoor attractions. The misplaced shoreline accommodates nearly 100 miles of unadulterated beaches. It’s the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the continental United States.
Those up for the hike of a lifetime can take a three-day excursion down the Lost Coast. Hikers begin their journey at Mattole Road to the north, and trek all the way south to Shelter Cove, which remains one of the few signs of civilization in the area. On the 72-hour trudge, explorers get to see epic ocean views, sprawling forests, open prairies and unique wildlife. The adventure down the seaboard is a meditative and peaceful endeavor as you may not see another human being the entire way.
If you choose to take on this difficult and remote journey on the Lost Coast Trail, be prepared like these three hikers.