It was a strange night at last night’s camp. It was a typical evening as everyone was in their tent by 9/9:30pm. After the rumblings of other campers adjusting their sleeping bags came to a stop, and I finished writing in my journal and reviewing maps, I drifted to sleep only to be awaken by a trumpet/vuvuzela-like noise. Definitely not a man-made noise, I concluded it had to be from an animal. But what kind? There I was, eyes wide open, heart beating faster than it was biking up that climb earlier in the day. “Maybe one of those elks the ranger warned us about?” Images of my body being crushed by a stampede of wild elk raced through my head. I stared anxiously at the mosquito net lining of my tent thinking of what to do. After several minutes of silence, my fatigued body took over and I fell asleep.
The next morning, I ask my dad if he had heard this noise. He replied, “No, but something did bump into me.” (!!!!) I believe that an elk walking by, didn’t see my dad in his hammock, walked/bumped into him, was startled and let out an “ahhh!” noise. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
As we were leaving the Prairie Creek Campground, we actually saw some elk resting in a field. They are quite majestic looking, with their large antlers. In the picture below, they are just below the fog line (another foggy/dewy morning as you can see!).
We had heard there was a good diner five miles south of camp, so Dad and I decided to skip our oatmeal this morning and get breakfast on the road. I guess all the other cyclists at camp last night heard the same thing because we ate with about 10 others!
Stomachs full of french toast and eggs, we powered through the morning riding by towns like Trinidad (great supermarket), Arcata (hippie haven) and Eureka (largest CA city north of San Francisco with lots of Victorian architecture). We entered and left Eureka on Rt. 101, which became a freeway at this point. Imagine cars/semis/logging trucks on your left side going 65+ miles, exit ramps every two miles, shoulders littered with debris…. it was totally mentally and physically taxing on us. Thank goodness our ACA maps directed us off the highway five miles after Eureka onto country roads alongside Rt. 101. To give you an idea of what it’s like riding on Rt. 101, we took this picture from an overpass.
Although our route was longer (and much hillier) than continuing straight on Rt. 101, we had gorgeous views of the Eel River and farming valley.
We had an hour and a half left of riding when we entered the aptly named Avenue of the Giants, a scenic highway that runs right through the Humbolt Redwoods State Park.
Shortly after we started riding on the Avenue of the Giants, it started to get darker…and darker…and darker. Dad and I joked that at any moment, the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz were going to appear over our heads haha! Luckily car traffic was non-existent and our headlamps are powerful lights. We safely arrived at camp at 8:55pm. By 9:05pm, it was pitch black. Whew!
Weather: Chilly morning (52 degrees); Temperate day, never rising above 65 degrees
Riding conditions: Decent until the Rt. 101 stretch starting after Arcata — it felt like we were on a interstate highway! So thankful for the country road detour provided by ACA (although those hills were steep!)
Campground: Burlington Campground in the Humbolt Redwoods State Park; $5/person ($1 for 10min shower); short distance from the road; camping among the stunning redwoods. Grade: A+