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Hiking along the California Coastal Trail can be complicated, not to mention backbreaking.

But if you go on a Coastal Expedition organized by Coastwalk California's volunteer guides, all of the logistics, transportation and meals are already taken care of.

"A support team moves the gear," said Hannah Faire Scott, program manager for Coastwalk California.

"We have a chuckwagon, and our volunteers cook all the meals. When you arrive at camp, they give you a hot meal and a glass of wine."

This summer and fall, expeditions on the North Coast range from two-day family trips at Doran Beach in Bodega Bay to nine-day backpack trips along the rugged Lost Coast.

There are also "classic" expeditions through Mendocino and Marin counties, which require moderate to strenuous hikes of 6 to 10 miles a day for up to a week.

The goal of these Coastal Expeditions is to groom a new generation who can pick up the baton and lead the 31-year-old nonprofit into the future.

"We're hoping to educate a new generation," said Una Glass, executive director of Coastwalk California, based in Sebastopol.

"We want to foster a new generation of coastal stewards."

Prices for the expeditions range from $150 for weekend trips for kids to $450 for longer hikes that stretch over a week or more.

The California Coastal Trail stretches over 1,200 miles, from Mexico up to Oregon, and serves as the cornerstone for California's public access.

"Where there is a coastal trail, there is public access," Glass said.

"Coastwalk has done the entire trail twice, and we're looking at doing another 'through' hike in the next few years."

It takes nearly four months to hike the entire trail, and logistics are complicated, with cars often required to transport the hikers.

"The trail isn't complete, so there are large sections that are difficult to hike," Faire Scott said.

"It's very hard to do without car support."

This summer, the California Coastwalk will offer 14 hikes along sections of the trail, many of which would be hard to access on your own.

For this summer, 10 out of the 14 hikes take place along the North Coast, from San Mateo to the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Some of the most popular hikes — such as the Wine & Mystery weekend in September — have already sold out, but most still have openings.

Both of the family hikes take place in Sonoma County. The Bodega Family Coastal Cleanup, based at Doran Beach June 27 to 29, includes hiking and camping, tidepool exploration and educational programs on marine debris.

On July 16 to 18, families will camp and explore the scenic trails of Salt Point and Fort Ross state parks.

"You get to hike through the Pygmy forest, all the way to Stump Beach, where you can collect salt," Faire Scott said.

"It's almost like a family reunion, with families coming back every year."

The Humboldt Redwoods Classic, June 15 to 21, provides moderate hiking through the redwoods, from Prairie Creek Campground to Patrick's Point Campground.

"You do a river crossing on a kayak or canoe, and the Native American local tribe does a dance at the end of the walk," said Faire Scott.

"It's beautiful."

Another popular expedition is the Mendocino Classic, a moderate hike held July 10 to 14 that starts at MacKerricher State Beach and goes to Van Damme State Beach.

The Golden Gate Headlands Adventure provides moderate hiking aimed at families and first-time coastwalkers.

"You camp in San Francisco, cross the Golden Gate, and head out to the Marin Headlands Hostel," she said.

"A mapmaker leads that."

The Wild Coast of Marin Classic, Sept. 15 to 20, allows hikers to hoof it to remote spots in Point Reyes and Mt. Tam without having to carry heavy equipment and food.

"You get to see Marin in a whole new way," she said.

"At the end, they climb to the top of Mt. Tam and end at the Alpine Lodge near Muir Woods, then hike all the way down to Stinson Beach."

Founded in 1983, Coastwalk California grew out of a grassroots protest against the Sea Ranch development. It started out as a coastal hike from Gualala down to the Marin County line.

"Everybody had such a good time, they wanted to do camping and hiking every summer," Glass said.

"We have them all over the state now."

Coastwalk California recently launched a new program, the California Coastal Trail Association (CCTA), modeled after organizations like the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

The CCTA is a coalition of county and local government members, plus nonprofits, who want to preserve and promote the trail.

"It's partnering with local government, and asking them to join us," Glass said. "The long-term vision is to have a continuous trail."

To register for a walk, go to coastwalk.org.

(You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@rpessdemocrat.com.)

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