Plans for our first WWOOFing experience were abruptly canceled when the farm owner failed to make contact. Finding ourselves in Santa Cruz with two weeks to kill, we decided to go camping. After much discussion, we attempted a trek to Butano State Park through Big Basin and back. The day started earlier with a free bus ride to Boulder Creek. From there we hitch-hiked up the 9. While waiting, a group of kids no older than 16 years-old start shouting hitch-hiking advice to us, bragging that they hitch-hike to San Jose all the time. Eventually we got a ride with two self-described hill-folk. At first, they pull over and have to put the two 30 packs of Coors in the trunk, handing a beer to one of our female spectators. While sipping on a Sparks, they casually drive up the curvey rode, gas gauge well below empty. “I’m ganna pistol whip that mother fucker!” exclaimed our driver. Furious over the theft of his freshly cut fire wood, stragically guarding his weed patch, the driver emphasizes his frustation with a good “thwack” on the stearing wheel. “He don’t know how we hill-folk are! I’m sick of these city boys from San Jose.” When the car rolled to a stop on China Grade, we got out, collected our packs, and watched the car speed back down the hill to cyphon his neighbor’s gas. We caught another ride down China Grade, which was mostly uneventful, and were dropped off at a trail head around noon. We climbed to the ridge and started down Butano Fire Road into Butano State Park. The road was long and we decided to make camp before the planned destination. Wandering off trail, we found a beautiful, flat camp spot just inside the park boundaries. That night we had out most aggressive bear encounter yet. He stamped loudly around our tent chuffing, after a hour or so he went on his way and didn’t disturb us again. Day two was spent in search of water, we walked much further than we wanted to, finally filling our water bags as the sun was setting. Day three was a rest day, we sat beside Butano Creek, played cribbage and ate Quinoia. A camp spot near the ranger station was hard to find considering we had planned on doing this whole hike for free, and there were at least 4 ranger trucks surveying the park. We got lucky and found a nice area very close to the main road. We constructed an A-frame out of our camo tarp and kept quite all night. Day four started out with us hitch-hiking out of Butano, past the ranger station to Gazo’s Creek road. Our spirits were a little down considering the hike that faced us. If we failed to get a ride the 9 miles up the road, we would have to climb 1200 feet in the distance of a couple miles. We started walking down the road, expectantly glancing behind us at every gust of wind, hoping to see a car. Twenty minutes into the walk, we were ecstatic to hear the distinct sound of tires. We turned around and threw our thumbs into the air. The car slowly pulled over and we jumped in, to a find a friendly face. He told us that in the fifteen years of living down this road, he had never seen a hitch-hiker before. Happy to accommodate his first hitch-hikers, he took us all the way up the hill, and showed us the trail that we wanted to take. We climbed to the summit and the view was breathtaking, it was decided that we had to stay. After finding a secluded flat area on the top of a mountain, we got comfortable and built a fire. After an afternoon of reading, we set up camp and read eachother to sleep. On Day five we planed on taking another easy day and just make it to berry creek falls. The walk is mostly downhill and we got there easily. The search for a suitable camp site was unsuccessful. We turned to eachother and said, “fuck it, lets do skyline to the sea in one day.” We ended up walking about 20 miles in day five, making it to the sea by early evening. Exhausted and hungry, we laid on the grass at the entrance to the park, remembering the beautiful scenery that surrounded us only minutes ago, but glad to have successfully finished our hike. Walking to highway one, we start hitch-hiking. In some time, we got a ride and had him drop us off at the closest pizza place around. With full bellies, we headed back home to the forest for a peaceful sleep.
To see a map and more photos of our hike visit Google Maps.