Next week Tom is taking me to one of my favorite places on earth to celebrate my 50 years of living – Sinkyone Wilderness State Park on the Lost Coast in Northern California. The Lost Coast is so named due to the lack of major road and highway access to the area.
Embedded in the 60 mile stretch of the Lost Coast, Sinkyone is a beautiful park rich with Native American History. To get to the Sinkyone State Park, visitors must get off the major highway onto a secondary road which ends at the access road to the park. This access road is a 3.5 narrow/one lane, steep, and winding path which opens up to a cliff that overlooks the ocean when you get into the park. The road continues along the park to various areas where you can camp. On any given day a visitor can see a herd of elk wandering through, take delight in watching seals play in the surf and on a clear day hope to see a whale off in the distance. This is in addition to the pristine beauty of the surroundings. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to this respite.
From the California State Parks site on Sinkyone’s history:
For thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived, the Sinkyone Indians lived in this part of the coast. They occupied permanent villages alongside streams and rivers, and moved out in family groups to hunt and forage in the hills during the summer. They spent time along the coast fishing, gathering seaweed and shellfish, and hunting seals and sea lions, and harvesting the occasional dead whale that had washed on shore. Fish were an important source of food during the winter. All kinds of fish were caught, but the seasonal salmon run was especially important.
Most park visitors today assume that human beings have had little impact on this area. But every trail, road, or flat spot has been modified by human activity. Game trails were turned into pathways for pack mules loaded with tanbark for the tanneries of San Francisco. Roads were carved and graded for lumbering operations. Open areas and marine terraces were farmed and used to pasture sheep and cattle. Occasionally, what appears to be a wagon road or a modern jeep trail is actually an abandoned railroad right-of-way.
Here are other links with additional information I found on the Lost Coast:
King Range National Conservation Area: The Lost Coast
Hiking the Lost Coast
Hiking the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park