Days 19 & 20: Redwoods at Elk Prarie

Yesterday, September 26th I reached San Francisco! It was almost exactly a month for these 1,100 miles. I’ll be hanging around for a bit and getting caught up on the blog before I leave.

Day 19 (2016-09-14): ~ 30 hilly miles from Mill Creek Campground to Elk Prarie State Park, CA

This morning we woke up late after recovering from yesterday’s headwinds and climb. Surprising that we slept till 9:00 given that the person ran their generator ALL night long. Not that you’re allowed to do that. Someone left a note on their window and I added my own – come on people, show some respect. We’re not camping in the peacefully quiet redwoods to listen to your generator.

In the morning we packed up and did the same one mile hiking loop to warm up as we did to cool down last night. We knew we wanted to get warm and moving to open up the musckes before our long climb out of the park. I don’t know the elevation gain buy we climbed steadily for 2.25 miles, varying from near flat (like 1℅) up to at least 5-6℅ grade. Not terrible by any means (I love long climbs), but not how I like to start my mornings.

By this point I was getting really tired of being cold and damp and was thankful by the time we rolled into Klamath the sun was out and it was warm enough to shed my jacket. I blame California for making me feel sick though, because I woke up feeling a bit off on our first night in the state and by the time we rode the 15 miles to Klamath this morning I was feeling sluggish.

Klamath was a nice litttle town, with a small “Discovery Center” were we learned abiut the Yurok tribe, which calls the Klamath River and surrounding areas home. We also stopped for to share a burger and fries from the Country Club Bar & Grill. We got the Ortega Burger – this place looks like it hasn’t been renovated in several decades but the food hit the spot!

Klamath is small, but it is worth a stop whether driving, riding, or walking through.

Klamath is all about the river – it provided life for the Yurok’s ancestors and continues to be an important social, spiritual, and economic part if their life today.

The climb out of Klamath was not all that bad – a couple miles of mild grade on 101and about a half mile of steep climbing on the scenic route – but by this point I knew I was sick because everything felt slow and heavy. But once we reached the peak it was all downhill, about 10 miles to Elk Prarie campground, all downhill through the peaceful redwood forest. The only bad thing was the cold. As we descended into the fog-loving forest it got colder, darker, and harder to regulate my body temperature. We saw the Big Tree, ome of the largest in the park, as well as a ton of other massive redwoods. It was a unique experience and my first with such large old-growth trees, but as my cold sweat chilled my body I began to shiver and knew I needed to get to camp.

Me standing inside a massive redwood, which was still living despite this burn scar.

Cold, grumpy, and wanting none of it I hit the showers as soon as we got to camp and didn’t linger long after dinner before diving into the tent to cozy up and rest. Of course I would get sick when we get to the redwoods…

Day 20 (2016-09-15): Rest Day #3 at Elk Prairie Campground, Redwoods State Park.

Ah man, I feel bad! I’m not the worst off – no headache, stomach is fine, I’m not dizzy or anything.We planned to do a long but easy hike through the park and down to the coast including Fern Canyon (where you walk a streambed and the are ferns all over the canyon walls) that would have been 10 miles or so. About a half mile in and before we even hit our trail I was already huffing and puffing. There was no way I would make it.

Downed redwoods are easier to cut than to move off the trail.

I finished a short loop and read/napped in the sun at camp. I don’t remember much of the rest if the day except I know we started watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (original) that night. Oh, and sometime in the night I heard the resident black bear trying to get into the bear box, but I couldnt get a peek from where we were camped.

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