7/27 Day 16 - Today started out gloomy and wet. It wasn't raining though so we didn't have to pack inside the tent. We did our usual routine and tried to dry the rain fly out as much as possible. Once we got it as dry as we could we got out of there. ASAP. That place gave me the heebeejeebees.
We knew we had two really big hills to go over today and we were both dreading them big time. Our legs are in need of a break. We rode 16 miles into Crescent City, but decided it was too early for lunch. We went to the visitor center to get a map and then headed to a nearby park. We sat on the pier and had a snack. The sun was just starting to come out which felt great, but did not make us feel any better about the huge mountain we had to bike over.
We had been warned two days ago that there was a hill over 1000 ft in elevation just outside of Crescent City. When we checked the elevation chart we found out it was about 1200 ft. The biggest one we climbed in Oregon was 752ft and we had to walk most of the way. We were super nervous.
We left the park and headed south. We came to the hill pretty quickly and pulled over to take our long sleeves off and prepare for the journey. We never found anywhere to fill our water bottles so we took a few sips of what we had (fully aware that not having water for this hill is not a good idea) and started up the monster.
We took several breaks and it took us about an hour to get to the top. It was 4 miles of uphill biking. It was terrible, but coming down the other side felt great. What didn't feel great was knowing that we had another 1000ft climb ahead of us.
Anyway, our first priority after the mountain was water. We stopped at a tourist attraction that takes you up into the trees in a gondola type thing. No water though. There was a giant Paul Bunyan though and his giant ox Blue (which had giant ox parts). Some guy on a speaker was animating Paul and making really awkward jokes. Ethan thought it was hilarious. I thought it was dumb. We took a picture with him anyway.
After that it was a few more miles to a teeny tiny town, but there was a pretty nice gas station there (it had slot machines in it) so we stopped for food and water. We filled up our bottles then got some tacos from the "cafe." They were no Taco Bell tacos but we were hungry so it didn't matter.
After our late lunch we only had 14ish miles to go to the campground. But we still had that 2nd hill.... And we got to it a lot sooner than we thought we would. After only going a little bit up the hill we regretted the tacos. We ended up having to walk the second half. After we got to the top we had a little downhill and then we turned off 101. And the hill kept going. It was another 600ft up and we walked most of it. I tried to ride, but Ethan was walking faster uphill than I was biking. He ended up pushing me on my
bike for a while. It was fun and a little embarrassing. But the scenery on the way down was cool. It was through an old growth coastal redwoods forest. The downhill actually took us right to the campground which was awesome. We stopped a little before it though to check out what they call "big tree" (creative name huh?). It was pretty big though so it earned its name.
When we got to camp there was only one other person, a hiker, which hasn't happened in a long time. It felt weird not having the people there that we're used to seeing. Anyway, we set up and I started making dinner. A group of bikers rolled in that we hadn't met so we chatted with them for a minute. While I was still cooking three elk (all male) strolled very close to the camp. I could only look for a minute because I was cooking, but Ethan watched them for a while. He has been wanting to see some for a long time.
We ended up eating dinner with the new group and the hiker. It was nice, but I like the other group better. After that Ethan wanted to hike a really short trail nearby and, after some convincing, I went too. It took us to the amphitheater where they were showing a slideshow about elk. We sat and listened for a while and even answered a quiz question correctly. The ranger asked what animal was on the national park logo. We had seen the sign going up hill #1.... It was a buffalo. We won a postcard!
We left halfway through because it was getting dark and we still had stuff to put away. We did all of that and made some hot chocolate. T'was delicious. Now it's time for bed! Tomorrow we're headed for Eureka where we will hopefully be getting a motel room :].