Mendocino County. Schooner Gulch to the Sonoma County line

July 2: Mendocino County
Schooner Gulch to the Sonoma County line. 12.0 miles

Today was another day devoted mostly to road walking. It being the middle of the week, traffic was fairly light. We started a half-hour earlier than normal so that we could finish the day early and be able to start our scheduled layover day a bit early. Tomorrow we will have nothing more to do than laundry and catch up with our post cards. For three nights, we will be staying at a rental in Sea Ranch. One of the reasons for this rather posh stay is that without either renting or buying here, we cannot walk two-thirds of the bluff top controlled by Sea Ranch. More on that tomorrow.

It is amazing how we can now click off the miles. In order to meet our scheduled pick-up time, we had to continually take breaks — snack breaks, lunch breaks, coffee breaks in Anchor Bay and Gualala. Our mileage is now being determined by a GPS [global positioning system] unit. At the same time, it calculates our moving average speed, our overall speed (including breaks) and the time spent walking and resting. On roads, our moving speed is 2.8 – 2.9 miles per hour. Give us soft sand, and we drop down to 2.0 – 2.1 mph. A 12-miler on roads is getting to be a walk in the park (if you can forget about that logging truck bearing down at you). Our increased fitness for long walks is also reflected in the state of our feet and legs. Moleskin and Motrin are not such hot commodities as they were the first two weeks of the walk.

So, what happened today? We went 12 miles. We saw what we believe was a Pileated Woodpecker in a Bishop Pine forest. We noticed that equisetum and ferns are perfectly capable of sprouting up through the asphalt of Highway 1. We met some interested and interesting people along the way: the editor of the Coast Observer who took our picture; two men on Harleys going to Hollister. We found a wonderful little trail, perhaps only 150 yards long, in downtown Gualala; it runs behind some buildings, connecting a driveway and a parking lot. The sign said it was the Gualala Bluff Trail, and it was a nice respite from the highway. (Jon Breyfogle; photo, Linda Hanes)