I woke up early as the sunlight streamed through the curtain-less windows and slammed into my face. I shook myself awake and forced myself to stand up and look out at the new day. The sun was already up and rising behind the house giving way to a clear, blue day.
I lingered for awhile sitting near the edge of the cliff looking out at the waves and enjoying the morning. Once the construction crew arrived I made my way out of Shelter Cove. One more stop at the general store for gas and I was back on the winding road.
I drove about two and a half hours south back towards Fort Bragg. The road through the mountain was less daunting this time around and I was able to get through it pretty quickly. The plan at this point was to get to Fort Bragg and MacKerricher State Park early enough to spend some time on the beach and find a suitable campsite. I also needed to get to an area with service to call my uncle and let him know my arrival was imminent. After MacKerricher, I planned to hit Auburn to see my uncle; Folsom to see my aunt and Citrus Hills to see my other aunt and get a nice little break from camping.
I pulled up to MacKerricher with time to spare and secured the exact same campsite I had gotten on my north bound journey. I rushed myself here last time and I really wanted to spend time with that black sand and also walk the trails a little more. Seeing it in the day was well worth the extra trip as I spent a couple hours swimming and reading on the beach.
I also got to explore the area around the beach more and found it to be much larger than I anticipated. I climbed over and around a couple large rock formations and found a great stretch of beach that I hadn’t seen before.
I took the boardwalk hike after I finished exploring the beach. It’s not a challenging hike whatsoever but I love the views it offers the entire time you are on it. It grazes the edge of the water following the coast out until it eventually turns back through the few trees that dot the coast and find yourself back at the beginning. Quick, but devastatingly beautiful.
Eventually, I settled into my campsite and spent the night by the fire looking up at the stars. I reflected on the last few days and the sites I had seen and the beauty I had witnessed. I was now comfortable being out here by myself and I truly was enjoying the journey. The most important thing I learned on this trip was to sit back and let things be. Enjoy every moment and don’t look too far forward or backward. “Journey before destination.”