Cyclin’ in a Winter Wonderland

26 December 2011 in Trails/Hiking, Traveling


We’ve driven down Howland Hill Road a few times now and noted how we’d like to take a bike ride on it someday. With a beautiful day blooming and the holiday season upon us we decided today would be a nice quite day in Jed Smith State Park. As we’ve previously described Howland Hill Road is a single lane dirt road that snakes through old growth Redwoods within Jed Smith. It’s usually pretty quite and traffic moves slow so it seemed a nice place for a bike ride.

After inflating our tires and lubing our chains we loaded the bikes into the truck and rolled on down to the beginning of the old growth section. From here it would be a seven mile ride to the other end on the outskirts of Crescent City. It was probably one of the most pretty rides we’ve ever done. A bit bumpier and hillier than either of us would have wished, but you couldn’t beat the surroundings. At this pace we could truly enjoy the wonders around us. There’s no roof to block your view of the canopy and nothing to prevent you from stopping wherever and whenever you wish. Plus you had the crisp, clean air passing by. This combined with a heavy silence only broken by the gentle rattle of our bikes provided a complete experience of the senses. I guess it’s very similar to hiking, but with the added joy of coasting effortlessly and swiftly down a hill and the warming struggle of chugging up the seemingly never-ending otherside. To our surprise Crescent City came a lot quicker than we had thought it would. This caused us to pause and consider riding to the beach which we could see from the hill at the end of Howland Hill Road. We decided to ride on a little ways into town, but ultimately turned around before getting too far for fear on the way back we’d find ourselves biking in the cold dark of the thick forest. From past experience we knew this area would begin to drastically lose light around 3 pm at which point the temperature can begin to drop.

The ride back was equally pleasant and we were able to locate a tree we had been looking for each time we entered this area. Last year when traveling with friends we discovered a tree with a hollowed out core that was large enough to accommodate six guys and one girl with room to spare. Lindsay and I had been looking for this and we falsely remembered it to have a large opening allowing entrance. But on our way back I notice a small opening in one of the trees, stopped and found our missing tree. The opening was quite small and set to one side making it invisible to one traveling in the opposite direction. I’m not sure how we even found it the first time, but it was great to know it is still standing. We entered the cavern and looked up remembering that the tree was hollow all the way through. A small circle of light shone through hundreds of feet above us, but failed to make it’s way down so we stood in complete darkness.

Our next mode of travel down this road will be one with a hint of danger. A dare devil feat we shall unveil only after its safe completion. Stay tuned.

26 December 2011 Trails/Hiking, Traveling

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