Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 17

June 8, 2011

Seals on the beach across from my campsite this morning

On day 17 I rode from Salmon Harbor RV Resort to Elk Prairie campground in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. I had two challenging climbs this day. One was a 1200ft climb and the other was 800ft. Just after passing through Crescent City, I switched maps to the one that goes from Crescent City to San Francisco, and then started to tackle the first big climb of the day. I churned away in second gear on the endless, but not very steep, climb. The trees got thicker and thicker as I increased in elevation and all of a sudden I looked up and saw a very large tree. Oh hello there Redwood. I didn't see you coming. So I made it to redwood country. The rest of the climb was somewhat enjoyable with all the amazing trees to look at. It was past noon, so I quckly descended the mountain and stopped at a beautiful beach for lunch. It was another strong southward wind day again, so it was getting quite chilly just sitting down at the rest stop. I bundled up in my rain jacket and sat behind a rock wall as a shelter from the wind.

Later on in the day I encountered the second climb of the day. Afternoon climbs are always more difficult than morning climbs. I had been riding for a few hours at this point, so I was tired and it was quite warm outside as well. Finally I made it to the top of the climb a few miles after entering another redwood forest and started the descent. 

The descent was very nice. It was a super gradual hill, so I just went about 16mph, which was nice because it gave me time to look at all the redwoods along the way. I was starting to realize that redwoods are definitely something to be experienced. Looking at pictures of the trees is nice, but there's something really special about standing right next to one. To know that this is a living thing, it's 10ft in diameter, and over 1,500 years old really makes you feel like you're standing next to a giant. Just 2 generations of redwoods stretches back to Jesus' time on earth. While redwoods are something to be experienced, I'm realizing that I'm not a fan of the forest. It's pretty and it's amazing, but it's gloomy. There isn't much light and you can't see very far. I'm enjoying my time in the forest, but wouldn't like to be in it forever.

My mileage estimate was about 10 miles off somehow, so I arrived at my campsite after 50 miles instead of 60 miles as I was expecting. After buying a post card at the visitor center I stopped and chatted with some drunk old men. We talked about backpacking and the outdoors and then they started talking about how it's easy to take care of little bullies by making threats to kill them. All you have do is scare them real good. Well. It's time for me to make my dinner. I'll see you guys later!

At the hiker/biker site I met a dad and his daughters who were doing almost the same tour as me. The dad had limited vacation time and needed to get to San Francisco fast, so they hadn't taken a rest day yet! That's about 2 full weeks without a rest day and they had another week to go before they planned to rest. And they were averaging 70 miles per day, 15 more than I'm averaging. We talked for a good 45 minutes about touring and how much we love eating vast amounts of ice cream and other related things. The girls were studying Electrical Engineering and the dad is a Computer Scientist, so I was glad to run into a few nerds.

Later that night Alton, the marijuana farmer, pulled in. I said hi and then went to bed.

I was to wake up the next morning to realize that I had lost my rain coat along the road more than 25 miles back. Fiddlesticks!

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