Dark and ominous storm clouds were charging towards us, sheets of rain visible for miles to our west out across the roiling Pacific Ocean. Our fellowship of six humans and one dog (the sometimes comical and always adventurous Smokestack-Ligting) had set off from Mattole Beach in the early evening to hike a twenty-five mile stretch of wilderness in Northern California: the Lost Coast. With the sun quickly diving towards the horizon, a sideways rain, encouraged by the stiff and relentless north wind, picked up momentum causing everyone in the group to dig into their packs for rain coats and pack covers. It was a rough start to our four day trek.
That’s when it happened. The sun, that sneaky ball of fusion, found a tiny sliver of space between the cloud-line and the horizon. In an instant near darkness was transformed into a warm illuminating glow, like someone had suddenly turned the dimmer dial to full power. Blessed by a million bright ambassadors of sunset, rain drops in air prismed the evening light, liberating every color of the visible spectrum. A magnificent double rainbow painted on a canvas of storm clouds just above our heads, pointing the way forward (photo below). Space and time were distorted to our minds. Awe and inspiration, achieved.
The Lost Coast is a magical place. That much, I’m sure of. The wilderness is deep and remote: steep cliffs rising straight out of the Pacific Ocean into the King Range National Conservation Area made road building impractical. There are no roads, no cell phone service, and no development – except for a few remote, off-the-grid cabins. The weather is schizophrenic and can change its temperament almost without warning. River crossings are arduous and entire multiple-mile sections of the trail disappear near high tide, making timing and planning paramount. Along the way we were greeted by sea lions, giant crabs, migrating whales, deer, pelicans and eagles, and though we never laid eyes on one, bear tracks in the sand were plentiful. At one point a sea otter emerged from the deep with a large fish in its mouth and proceeded to feast on the shoreline directly in front of us.
For this trip, I made a serious effort to reduce the weight of my pack. In doing so, I left my bulky Canon 5D Mark III and lenses at home. In its place I tested out the Olympus TOUGH G-4 point-and-shoot camera. While it’s no replacement for my usual gear – I was pleasantly surprised by the results and definitely appreciated its small size, light weight, fast lens (f/2.0), and waterproof design.
Here’s a collection of images from the adventure:
For a really good guide on hiking the lost coast trail, check out Jeff Hester’s blog SoCalHiker.
The following jargon is mainly for the search engine robots. Read on, if you like. Drew is a San Francisco based International Photographer. Drew is also an Oakland Freelance Photographer and a San Francisco Freelance Photographer and a Bay area Freelance Photographer, a Bay Area conservation photographer, an Oakland freelance photojournalist and a San Francisco freelance photojournalist and a Bay Area event photographer and a Berkeley photographer; while he is based in the San Francisco Bay area, Drew regularly photographs for clients throughout all of California, including Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, San Jose, Marin County, Santa Cruz, Eureka, Santa Rosa, Mendocino, Monterey, Sacramento, Santa Barbra, and Napa, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada, all across the USA and everywhere on Earth. He specializes in creative storytelling and artistic photojournalism, environmental photojournalism, conservation photography, environmental justice photography, and stories about human-earth relationships including urban farming, agriculture, water use, climate change, ocean issues, energy issues, pollution, and natural resource economics. He also specializes in editorial photography and lifestyle photography, portraits and headshots, corporate event photography, non-profit event photography, and branding photography for corporations, non-profits, and small businesses. Drew is also a live music photographer, a Berkeley live music photographer, a Bay Area live music photographer, an Oakland live music photographer, a San Francisco live music photographer, a San Francisco band photographer and a bay area band photographer. You can view more of his photojournalism, editorial, and lifestyle work here and more of his documentary style wedding work here. The photos in this post are connected to The Lost Coast Trail (LCT), hiking, backpacking, adventure, travel, wilderness photography, wildlife, conservation and conservation photographers, photo essays, Humboldt County, and creative storytelling.