Chapter ONE.

Published June 6th 2003.

Well folks, the ten hikers participating in the Coastal Trail Expedition 2003 (CTE03) along the California coast from the Oregon State Line to the Mexican Border began their trek on Tuesday.  Lagunan Janette Heartwood, our embedded journalist, was able to jot down some notes and send them to us, as she met the other members of the expedition and they headed off in a group to the Oregon State Line just prior to embarking on their journey.  Already we learn that in addition to the physical stamina necessary to keep the pace, a certain amount of emotional stamina is required when you know you are going to be with the same ten people, not always in ideal conditions, for the better part of four months.  But they are off to a good start and the good news is that the first test of Janette’s field equipment has been passed with flying colors!

Following are some excerpts from Janette’s journal:

Sunday night (6/1).

          "We left Orange County and headed north in our fourteen passenger van. It's named the Melmobile, because Mel is our official driver.

     We camped at San Luis Reservoir State Park just outside Santa Nella off the 5 Highway on Saturday night.  220 camp sites but just a few visitors water skiing on the reservoir amid very large fish.  Low hills framed the view across the body of water and the scene was quite tranquil.  The busy highway felt further away than the actual distance.

     I got a chance to pitch my tent on real earth, rather than the floor of my living room.  Fortunately the temperature was balmy and the air still.  Just to make sure I pounded in plenty of tent pegs. I slept soundly but when  told in the morning that there had been quite a wind in the night, I felt my effort had been validated.



Tonight as I write this we are in Pengrove (north of Petaluma) and all ten members of the CTE03 have assembled, prior to our final day of driving to reach the state line.  So we are all on our best behavior which, if we are fortunate, will prove to be our usual behavior.  As I sit at the dining room table in Jon and Vina’s house ... perfume from a huge bunch of sweet peas fills the room, the noise of continuous passing vehicles behind the high garden hedge disturbs the country feeling more than I am used to in my quiet Laguna neighborhood.  At home I can often hear the waves at night, and in the morning the birds are singing.

Issues of traffic noise are everywhere……”

We will have more each week on Janette’s CTE03 adventure.  In the meantime, you can visit Coastwalk’s website at http://www.californiacoastaltrail.info/cms/archives/cte_2003.php for more information and maps of the various stages of the journey.  Janette also asked me to remind you that you can join the hike for an abbreviated stint at the cost of $75 per day, which covers food transportation of your gear and sleeping arrangements. (Could this be a plea to bring some new faces into a possibly stagnant group from time to time?)

Jennifer Erickson

Coastal Trail


June - Sept 2003