Last week at 6:06 am a total lunar eclipse was to set occur, completely unknown to the group 9 backpackers headed to shelter cove for a weekend trip that was set to leave at 3pm on friday.
Now, with all camping trips some delay in departure is to be expected, last minute things need to be obtained. Batteries and fuel are normally on this list, as well as any item that falls under the “Oh I thought you were brining that” category. Add to this 9 people and 4 dogs in 3 cars the delay seemed to be exponentially increased. Almost everyone had forgotten something, from fuel to sunglasses to bear cans and food to put in those bear cans. One person had even forgotten a sleeping bag.
A quick stop by SlingFin base camp solved the major issues like the sleeping bag, battires and fuel. This however came with the time munching, yet inevitable tour of the amazing tents set up all over the shop. Next, off to REI to rent the bear cans, then to a market with foodstuffs for the un-provisioned. Long story short, the caravan didn’t hit the road till 12:30 am, and by that point most nerves were frazzled and we just wanted to get on the road, and for good reason too, the drive from Berkeley to the lost coast is about 3.5 hours… If you know where you are going.
At the last pit stop the clerk asked where we were headed and if we planned on seeing the eclipse. We had noticed how bright and full the moon was that night. I told him we were headed to shelter cove and he said, “Oh man, that maybe the best spot to see this eclipse in all of California”.
And he was right.
This is my old trusty windscreen.
After about an hour of beach hiking we came to a bluff that over looked a large rock among the surf getting pounded by waves in the moonlight. The sky was clear and filled with shooting stars as we all settled into sizzling bacon on the camp stove and the twelve year old single malt. Just then the shadow of the earth began to over take the moon and the group went silent, a few minutes later a voice said,”Perfect timing”. We realized that all the delays and last minute stops had allowed us to arrive at what was in fact the perfect time. Had all gone according to plan, and we arrived at dusk as proposed, that big beautiful full moon would not have lit our way due to the high cliff and treeline to the East, as only further on in its cycle would it reach the beach. And if we had gotten to camp earlier the chances of the entire group braving the cold long night, even with fresh bacon and fine scotch were low.
Trips tend to be more satisfying if you “go with the flow”.