Skyline to the Sea

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Draped in a young vine, a taut silver branch bows down over the trail forming an archway for our processional. White light plasters the sky, hunting for the artist to paint its canvas. The Nebraskan flowers, Marina and the golden rod, smile adoringly up, not bothered by the blinding luminosity. Along with some other relaxed shrubs, the perennial Nebraskan opens up to some spotted critters and leaping bugs. A sunken trunk, rouged with reds last spotted in the cosmetics aisle, sinks into the ground near the plant brothel and drips pitter-pattering rain drops.

Skyline to the Sea is a 32 mile gift. (It’s mostly downhill and only 3 days.) Although the trail is very well marked, it isn’t difficult to accidentally loop, which joyfully lengthens the time you get to spend in nature with a friend. And I’d recommend going with a friend. It’s not that the trail is physically exhausting: it’s just more fun to laugh in the rain, instead of being sad about it getting into your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

You’ll have to book your campsites in advance, we stayed at Watermon Gap the first night and Sunset Camp the second. Typically people stay at Jay Camp the second night.  But I wouldn’t.  Sunset doesn’t have water but it does give you an extra hiking stretch peppered with waterfalls as well as it providing a cozy, tucked away spot to camp (Jay’s location is near headquarters and piping with people).

Here are the links we used to plan:
http://www.redwoodhikes.com/BigBasin/S-to-S.html
http://www.everytrail.com/guide/skyline-to-the-sea-trail

There isn’t any cell service after the first day (at least for AT&T) so plan in advance when you will be picked up from Waddell Beach. Also, I’d recommend mosquito repellent and some water purification mechanism.  The latter is more of necessity rather than a recommendation if you are planning on staying at Sunset Camp.

Lastly, if you go, look up!  Unless you are superman, you will get tired, cold, hungry, an ache in your lower back from where your backpack rests…but you just got to look up! You have the opportunity to see the wildest things. The skeletons of cars vomited from highway 1. Newts snuggling up next to your feet.  Your best friend silently laughing really hard at your ridiculous getup.

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