Skyline to the Sea Day 3

First glimpse of ocean, on our last stretch of Skyline to the Sea

Sunday, 22 May, 2016. Jay Camp/ Big Basin HQ to Waddell Beach. 10.2 miles.

I woke again to the sounds of birds, trilling at first light, and occasional loud insect buzzing. A woodpecker also made its presence known. Mosquitoes were still out at this hour, though thankfully not as much as the evening prior.

Breakfast (Mountain House Scrambled Eggs and Bacon is not as good as Mountain House Breakfast Skillet), camp breakdown, a last scouring of the area to make sure we are LNT, and we were off. Hooray for warm water coming out of the taps in the bathrooms!

Heading out of Big Basin HQ

Big Basin, even at 10am on a Sunday morning, was already crowded with a goodly number of visitors. As we set off from HQ, we passed numerous groups who looked like they were on their own walkabouts, and some who appeared to be headed to Berry Creek Falls.

Unlike the day before, it was a little sunny in certain sections, but the tree cover provided a great canopy and shade so it never really got too warm. The trail thinned out in sections and began to get crowded again as we neared the Falls.

Scored a bench facing Berry Creek Falls

We were lucky to happen upon a bench where we could pause for a bit, eat some food, and snap photos of the falls. My snack/ lunch then were bite-sized bits of salame (salamini) sausage from Olli – we find these in Whole Foods or Andronico’s. They are perfect little bits of porky, funky, tastiness. I also had Baby Belle Cheddar Rounds and some mozzarella sticks and lavash flatbread crackers.

After we left the Falls area, we reached a junction with a set of bike racks. The road widens and becomes a multi-purpose cycling road. This is the last stretch that meanders next to Waddell Creek and heads towards the beach.

The crew

The hike becomes a bit monotonous, but the fire trail is nice and wide, and it is still very pretty. The canopy provides more dappled light, and the occasionally-babbling creek is just a delight.

Stachys Bullata - Hedge Nettle

There were not too many flowers on this stretch of trail, but there were a couple of species that appeared with regularity.

A bit of trail yoga

We pause, just 2 miles out, to do a little bit of stretching.

Waddling to Waddell Beach

And then, we are done, and head to the water’s edge to officially touch the ocean.

Christina and Caiti

JW by the Seashore


It was a simply gorgeous, windy, blue-bright puffy-cloud day at the beach.

We had finished around 3:45pm and none of us relished waiting for the bus which would arrive at 5:15pm. To get back, we had been banking on a pay phone at Waddell Beach to call a taxi. There was none to be found, not even by the bathrooms. I hiked back to Rancho del Oso Ranger HQ to use the payphone there (after DD had gone back the mile himself to retrieve his hiking poles that he’d left at the ranger station while buying us Arizona Iced Teas). DD’s Runkeeper data will show that extra 2 miles to and fro.

The taxi ride back to Big Basin eventually cost us $140 (w/ $30 in tip). But we were on the road and back home with the puppykins by 7:30pm.


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  • What a great trip report! Those trails are some of my favorite anywhere. I’m not much of a camper, so that aspect doesn’t attract me, but taking your time and really soaking up the trails sounds really great! My first 50K was the PCTR Skyline to the Sea. In retrospect, I would recommend doing the Marathon since you get all the best trails (the 50K has you do a 5M loop just to get the mileage up, and it’s not a fun loop). Coastal’s version has a bit of a different finish than PCTR’s, but both are awesome. Oddly, neither finishes at the sea though.

    • Hi Allen! Thanks! That’s so interesting that the races don’t finish by the beach – it’s fairly windy and exposed, so that might be why the race doesn’t end there, and Rancho del Oso is a nature preserve… it was nice to get a course preview – definitely on the list for next year!