Friday, January 25, 2008

Weekend Review, Part 2: Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Fortunately there was an Arsenal match on at 7 a.m. so I was up and about: barring that I would have struggled a bit. The Hit slept in until the match was over, then we all had a mondo breakfast, geared up, rented him a mountain bike, threw all 3 bikes on my car, and rolled down the coast towards Santa Cruz. It was a deliciously beautiful day so the drive down was perfect.

{click pics to enlarge}

Pidgeon Point Lighthouse, California coast

Our destination was a sweet bike & hike from the ocean up into Big Basin Redwoods State Park, where there are 3 waterfalls that you can hike to from the end of the bike trail. The idea was to start by 2 p.m. which would have us finish back at the car, right on the ocean, in time to chill out on the beach, have a drink and some snacks, and watch the sunset.

The view from the trailhead was decidedly average.

As it turned out we didn't leave the city until almost 1.30 p.m. and we didn't set out until 3.30. In other words, we were up against it, as sunset was at 5.20.

Let's roll

The Hit, pre-bonk

As we rode up into the hills, it became apparent that we were going to be chasing the daylight, and also that the Scorpion Bowls and jetlag had teamed up on the Hit and caused him to begin to bonk. Waterfalls 2 & 3 were soon ruled out, and as it was it was going to be tricky just to reach the first one and descend back out of the forest in time.

This might be my fave mountain bike trail evah

We finally made it up to where the mountain bike trail ends, locked our bikes, crossed a stream, and hiked about a mile up to the first waterfall.

Damn treehugger

It is a really beautiful spot, down in a valley between towering walls filled with redwoods, and we stopped to rest a bit and take in the scene.

Berry Creek Falls

Made it

It's hard to look happy when you are an hour into your bonk

Time check: 5.20, meaning the sun had just set and we were staring at a hike back to the bikes and then several miles back down through the forest in ever darkening skies.

How much would Olin Mills give me for this photo?

By the time we got back to the bikes it was damn near dark. I did have a little headlight on my bike, so I took the lead and called out obstacles, sticks, mud, etc to The Hit & Bonita who were close behind me. This "worked", although we had to go really really slow just to be able to see what we were doing. By the time we were halfway down, it was full-on dark. Thankfully we had a new best friend: the three-quarter moon which helped illuminate our path in patches.

It was at the same time miserable and exhilirating; frustrating and one of the most fun things I have done- mountian biking in the dark in the middle of nowhere with help from a bright moonlight, through forests and next to a mountian stream with various unknown animal noises from time to time.

La luna: our new best friend

It felt great to finally put the forest behind us, and the last mile or so back to the car was out in the open, where the unobstructed moonlight really took over and lit our way. I sorted out the bike rack in the dark and we headed back.

It was a very fun time, and I have to credit the Hit, who valiantly fought his way through the biggest and longest bonk I have ever witnessed. Dude is a soldier.

Here's the full set of pics from our coastal bike & hike adventure.

Got home, ate and crashed, but there would be no sleeping in on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Love Big Basin park, but never have been able to get too far away from the HQ -- too much tree gazing, and certain members of the party have too-short legs.

Kanu said...

Funny. I have done this bike & hike 4-5 times from CA1 into the park, but I have never driven around to HQ via Santa Cruz & Hwy 9/236. It's been on the list for some time- hopefully one day I can combine it with a trip to the Mystery Spot with some late afternoon beach time in Capitola.

The Hit said...

All I can say is... that f'king sucked. SB I and SB II kicked my ass. I should have puked. Oh well, there is always next time.

Kanu said...

Fuck that, dude. You were a rockstar.

And one day vengeance will most certainly be yours.