The journey from Mt. Shasta to the Lost Coast
through the King Forest is unmapped, the way
so steep the highway is discontinued above Eureka.
Burnt bark sequoias hover straight and silent,
narrow roads hiss danger at ten miles per hour,
wild pink flowers, like strands of feathers, wave to the sky;
flat spreading rivers curve into currents
exposing rock that lies humped like an old whale.
Our first glimpse of the beach is: turquoise waters, rippling
wavelets coursing up to an endless white-sand empire strewn
with behemoth driftwood sculptures, armatures of prehistoric
hippopotami, dinosaurs tossed onto shore by a violent Pacific.
We exult in this unexpected playground, desire to spend
the night in our tent under the stars, California dreaming.
But first, an expedition to Honeydew, sweet town
of ganja fragrant Humboldt County for provisions.
On the wall of the grocery-with-post-office a Wanted poster:
someone has killed two campers on the beach.
We locate a weathered cabin motel, a vacant room, an iron
bed with a mattress caved in the middle that stinks of old fish
and sleep falling toward each other, reminiscent of last night
on Mount Shasta when we pitched our tent on the wrong side
of the slope and slid down the mountain all night long.