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It's Best To Go

Stay Wild

by Christian Coxen

@christiancoxen // christiancoxen.com

Six o’clock has rolled around, the temp has dropped, and my Bic pen feels like it’s dragging a lead ball as the ink has thickened. I dip it in the fire momentarily and it flows like a river once again. It is no longer 60° and sunny, but probably in the 30s and starry with a horizon haze. I took a nap earlier, observing the tide moving out every time I woke. Still no throbbing lines, tide on the move … still nothing connecting, tide drains further. Eventually, it neared sunset and I decided I’d gather some firewood and wait for the morning low. The surf is always better in the morning—this goes for damn near anywhere.

I made a lentil soup for dinner. Or rather, dumped it from its box and plunged it into my stove. It really tasted like shit at first, but between the slices of pepper jack cheese and its aftertaste of a roasted garlic game changer, I decided it wasn’t half bad and scraped my pot clean with the help of a Surrito tortilla that I cooked on a log. 

It’s pretty peaceful out here. What a different perspective—camping alone. All day I’ve been very much in my own head with no conflict, compromises, distractions, or anything else that comes along with camping, (or traveling for that matter) with another being. The road is smooth, unadulterated, and silent. Time seems to expand and contract, and I notice every minute of it.

I drank coconut porters and standard IPAs next to a one-man-sized fire beneath the January full moon. Buzzing with hops and contentedness, it became apparent that I had become damn good at camping and enjoying the little things. The night sky sang as the fire crackled, the sea was building, and I could feel it in the sand as the sets met the bars.    

In the morning, I swung awake from my hammock and looked down the line into the sandbar as the building swell shook the stack. There was ice on my board. The night brought me deep chills that carried through the day. 

Paddling out after a cup of coffee, the hands and toes never gained feeling beyond the all-inclusive winter ache. There was a lot of water moving in all directions, but I managed to find a rip that I rode out toward the nearly-imaginary peak. There were three identifiable swells through the mix-matched madness. The direction needed for my peak to connect, without walling clear to Alaska and closing out all hope, was so few and far between that by the time one came around I had been taken from the zone and relocated elsewhere. I decided to give up on the picky little swatch of sand creating these one-in-every-fifteen-minute behemoths, dredge left and paddle a hundred yards or so down-beach to my old standby. 

Throughout several hours of getting pitched on double overhead backwash-laced faces and two-turn closeouts, I managed to scrape up a handful of memorable rocketing adrenaline-driven lines along with some ear popping, to depth-driven throttling hold-downs. By the time I said enough is enough, noodle armed and half as buoyant, the water had risen along with the wind and there really wasn’t much of anything to paddle for anyway. The weekend’s mission had all in all been fulfilled—in fact, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

I got out of my suit, snacked, and took a nap swaying in the hammock for a few hours—using the last of my time to relax, tune it down to zero for a minute before I’m back to work for the week. A feeling of worldly connectedness and satisfaction accompanied me as I made my way off cloud nine and back to my rig for the drive home. 

As I sat down I thought to myself … it’s always best to go.