As a part time resident of Shelter Cove and a Lost Coast Trail rat here's my advice having often covered this ground during late fall. Compared with tamer times of the year (May-September) there are a number of additional variables that you may want to consider if planning a trip along this stretch of the Lost Coast this time of year. Weather, of course, is going to be the decisive factor. The King Range, which looms over this route is, I believe, the wettest spot in the contiguous US. That means when a major storm comes in we're talking about a whole lot of water funneled your way- you may be better off wearing full wet suits because you can experience many hours of relentless rain coming in almost sideways. You might be in for a couple of arduous days best described as cold, wet and dark. Of course I've also sauntered from Shelter Cove to Big Flat and back on sunny days that got up to 70 in December that could not have been more perfect. However even if the weather's nice and non-threatening other variables can make the going tough. Although there are, of course, low as well as high tides, just like other times of the year, there are times during this time of the year when even low tide comes way in, waves sweep all the way to the cliffs and parts of this journey can be really treacherous, maybe even impassable even if you try to time it just right. Stream crossings, mainly the kind you can jump over or have even diminished to a trickle by late summer can also be challenging. Even if it's not currently raining, if it's been raining a lot lately expect a bit of waist high wading though a bit of forceful current. Last winter an otter slammed into my hip while I was crossing a chest high stream- my idea of a good time but perhaps not for one of your newbies. If it is raining a lot or has been recently and you're either walking close to cliffs or thinking about camping right below one you might want to exercise a bit of caution. I've seen a number of water logged cliffs and landslides go without warning like a million wet sacks of flour dropped 200-300 feet in an instance. If you're too close you're a gonner but on the bright side you'll save your loved ones the cost of a burial. Finally, since you're probably planning some kind of point to point shuttle do take note that once in a while the road into Shelter Cove from Redway can become quite icy and even potentially impassible for a day or so. Not such a big deal if you've got a solid vehicle with 4-wheel drive but a major suck fest if you find yourself stuck at the Black Sands Beach parking lot on a gloomy cold rainy day waiting for your ride. So here's the deal - if you get lucky, study the 4-5 day forecast and it looks clear or partly cloudy and you time the tides right you're in for a wonderful trip but if the weather does not look favorable you might want to have a Plan B.