Author Topic: Skyline to the Sea!  (Read 717 times)

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Offline woodsorrel

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Skyline to the Sea!
« on: August 20, 2018, 10:57:59 PM »
Hi Everyone!

I've noticed that most bushcraft forums I read have seen fewer posts lately.  I enjoy reading everyone's posts but don't post often myself.  So I thought I'd share a trip I did this summer.

Skyline to the Sea is one of the most exciting hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in California.  The trail stretches 33 miles, descending nearly 3,000 feet from the mountain tops to the Pacific Ocean.

I've wanted to do this hike for years.  And I finally spent four days making the journey.  Below are pictures from the hike.

I'm at the top of "Goat Rock" about 3,000 feet above sea level.  The Pacific Ocean is beyond the last ridge.  We need to hike through everything in between.



Here's a quick look at my gear.  My goal was to keep my dry pack weight to 20 lbs. Hahahaha....!  :) 
Actually, I wasn't that far off.





We saw plenty of wildlife, including reptiles and amphibians.



The coast redwoods are spectacular - with plenty of waterfalls!



I also got to practice some "traditional skills!"  On the second day we processed and cooked California Brome grass seed (Bromus carinatus).  I've eaten it before, and it's yummy!

Here's a link to an article that chronicles my entire journey.  It has many more pictures and details than I can provide here.  It shows how we processed the Brome grass, and has pictures of more wildlife, coast redwoods, and waterfalls.  I also describe what it's like to hike solo in old growth forest.

https://www.natureoutside.com/skyline-sea-backpacking-santa-cruz-mountains/

My question for the group: Do you have an "epic hike" you would like to do?

- Woodsorrel
The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
Bushcraft tips and tricks:  www.NatureOutside.c om

Offline madmax

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Re: Skyline to the Sea!
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2018, 11:41:26 PM »
When I was healthy I knocked out some on my bucket list.  Na Pali coast on Kauai.  The AT through The Great Smoky mountains. Etc.  I guess two that I didn't get to would be the trek into Everest base camp and the one up to Machu Picchu.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Skyline to the Sea!
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2018, 08:22:50 AM »
Nice trip WoodSorrel.  I have always lived inland and, while we have visited the coastal areas, I have never hiked in that kind of environment.  Looks like a great trip.

Regarding the Brome seeds, what do you do to them to eat them?  Soaking, cooking, or what?  Out grasses are headed out right now and you can get a coffee can full of seeds in about ten minutes.

Thanks for posting it. 
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)

Offline woodsorrel

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Re: Skyline to the Sea!
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2018, 09:20:16 AM »

... Regarding the Brome seeds, what do you do to them to eat them? 


wsdstan, the article contains a full description and pictures of every step for processing and eating Brome seeds.  It was challenging to take the pictures, because we processed the seeds after dark.

Much of the wild grass you see in California is actually an invasive.  Avena fatua (wild oat) was introduced by Europeans as a forage species for their cattle.  It replaced the native grasses which were wonderful-to-eat for people!  As someone who loves wild edibles, it makes me a little sad.

It is also important to make sure that the seeds you collect do not have any type of fungal infection, like ergot.  That would be bad news if you tried to consume it!

Check out the process described in the article and let me know if you have any questions.

- Woodsorrel
The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
Bushcraft tips and tricks:  www.NatureOutside.c om

Offline woodsorrel

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Re: Skyline to the Sea!
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2018, 09:23:22 AM »
When I was healthy I knocked out some on my bucket list.  Na Pali coast on Kauai.  The AT through The Great Smoky mountains. Etc.  I guess two that I didn't get to would be the trek into Everest base camp and the one up to Machu Picchu.

I've hiked only a few miles from one end of the Na Pali coast.  It was gorgeous!  Color me jealous.  :)

madmax, Machu Picchu has been on my list forever.  I've procrastinated to the point where there's probably a McDonald's on the corner of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.  :)

If I ever get my act together, I'd like to hike the Inca Trail (or at least the last few miles) into Machu Picchu.

- Woodsorrel
The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
Bushcraft tips and tricks:  www.NatureOutside.c om

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Skyline to the Sea!
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2018, 10:23:34 PM »
Most of the treks on my 'bucket list' are in the 'shouda-coulda-oughta' file now, including a 35 mile float down the Stillwater River here in Montana. I wish I could have spent some time in New Zealand.
Back when I was young, restless and unemployed, my fiance and a friend hiked from Mt. St. Helen to Mt. Rainier.  Got tired of walking so we set up camp and stayed 6 months. :shocked:  Spending time in one place and getting to know all its inhabitants, I think, was more fun (and educational) than just passing through.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Skyline to the Sea!
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2018, 10:58:26 PM »
...
Here's a link to an article that chronicles my entire journey.  It has many more pictures and details than I can provide here.  It shows how we processed the Brome grass, and has pictures of more wildlife, coast redwoods, and waterfalls.  I also describe what it's like to hike solo in old growth forest.

https://www.natureoutside.com/skyline-sea-backpacking-santa-cruz-mountains/

...

Excellent narrative on you blog, with photos to match!  Thanks for sharing your adventure.  The included bird recordings was a nice touch.
The fellow with the sling for his pack after my own heart.  Everything possible was always hung off the ground. Neater camp, fewer creepy-crawlies, and easy access. We even hung our axes on double-loop lanyards braided for the purpose.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline woodsorrel

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Re: Skyline to the Sea!
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2018, 12:40:39 AM »
Most of the treks on my 'bucket list' are in the 'shouda-coulda-oughta' file now, including a 35 mile float down the Stillwater River here in Montana. I wish I could have spent some time in New Zealand.
Back when I was young, restless and unemployed, my fiance and a friend hiked from Mt. St. Helen to Mt. Rainier.  Got tired of walking so we set up camp and stayed 6 months. :shocked:  Spending time in one place and getting to know all its inhabitants, I think, was more fun (and educational) than just passing through.

The Mt. St. Helens trek/base-camp sounds amazing, Old Philosopher.  It's rare that one gets to spend that much time in a wilderness area.  Most of us visit and leave like tourists shuffling through a museum. 

I just returned from a week in the back-country of interior Alaska.  I wish I could have stayed for as long as you did on your trip.


... The fellow with the sling for his pack after my own heart.  Everything possible was always hung off the ground. Neater camp, fewer creepy-crawlies, and easy access. We even hung our axes on double-loop lanyards braided for the purpose.

I really liked what he did, too.  When I saw it, I thought "Doh!  Why didn't I think of that!"  I have some webbing, with buckles, from an old external-frame pack.  Do you think it would work for suspending my pack from a tree trunk?  The webbing and plastic buckles are a lot lighter than cordage.  I guess I need to experiment and see...

  - Woodsorrel
The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
Bushcraft tips and tricks:  www.NatureOutside.c om

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Skyline to the Sea!
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2018, 03:06:14 PM »
Most of the treks on my 'bucket list' are in the 'shouda-coulda-oughta' file now, including a 35 mile float down the Stillwater River here in Montana. I wish I could have spent some time in New Zealand.
Back when I was young, restless and unemployed, my fiance and a friend hiked from Mt. St. Helen to Mt. Rainier.  Got tired of walking so we set up camp and stayed 6 months. :shocked:  Spending time in one place and getting to know all its inhabitants, I think, was more fun (and educational) than just passing through.

The Mt. St. Helens trek/base-camp sounds amazing, Old Philosopher.  It's rare that one gets to spend that much time in a wilderness area.  Most of us visit and leave like tourists shuffling through a museum. 

I just returned from a week in the back-country of interior Alaska.  I wish I could have stayed for as long as you did on your trip.


... The fellow with the sling for his pack after my own heart.  Everything possible was always hung off the ground. Neater camp, fewer creepy-crawlies, and easy access. We even hung our axes on double-loop lanyards braided for the purpose.

I really liked what he did, too.  When I saw it, I thought "Doh!  Why didn't I think of that!"  I have some webbing, with buckles, from an old external-frame pack.  Do you think it would work for suspending my pack from a tree trunk?  The webbing and plastic buckles are a lot lighter than cordage.  I guess I need to experiment and see...

  - Woodsorrel
The friend we had with us had worked on a survey crew a few months earlier. The crew was still operating north of Crow Basin on a Forest Service road in the planning.  At one point, he hiked to their camp and came back with an order: They needed as much box wood cut and split as we could manage for their camp cooking stove.  We filled a backpack with our offering and sent our buddy back to their camp.  He returned with 3 big baking potatoes, and 3x 1" thick ribeye steaks!  This was the only other human contact we had in 5 1/2 months, and only our friend saw them. Yeah...we were isolated. ;)

As for the slings, if you are going to us webbing, I'd get some straps with sliding fasteners (like they put on trail cams) and a plastic carabiner for each one.  That way you can accommodate any size tree you find.  We just spliced loops into both ends of a small braided rope for hanging the axes/hatchets...one loop around the bit, another around to poll, and hang it from the stub of a branch.  The other object were hung from lengths of paracord, of which we had plenty.  When breaking camp, we hanked up the shot lengths and threw them in a pack pocket for the next use.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline woodsorrel

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Re: Skyline to the Sea!
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2018, 05:45:53 PM »
That's really remote, Old Philosopher.  I bet you appreciated those steaks!   :D

Thanks for the explanation of the different hanging methods.  I'm going to try them on my next overnight.

  - Woodsorrel


The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
Bushcraft tips and tricks:  www.NatureOutside.c om