Sep 6: Burlington Campground to Standish-Hickey State Recreational Area (48.9 miles)

Last night I was joined by Rob and Katie from the UK, Carsten from Germany and Noora from Holland. We had all been surprised by the lack of a store in Redcrest and were all bemoaning the lack of our nightly beer. A group of motorcyclists arrived and set up camp next to us. Terry came over to chat with us and hear our stories, and then asked if we needed anything.

Noora immediately responded “do you have any spare beers?”. And just like that we all had a beer!

Today was an average mileage day but with a lot of hills. I followed Noora all day, she keeps a good pace. We completed the Avenue of the Giants and proceeded on and off Why 101 to Standish-Hickey State Recreational Area near the town of Leggett.

There were not a lot of new things to see on today’s ride. The ride through the large redwoods was nice, but soon it turned into views of the South Fork of the Eel River and a few small towns. There were a surprising (and depressing) number of spent gas cartridges on the side of the road all afternoon today. I’m talking like nearly 100 all they way into and out of Garberville. I’m assuming they are from addicts abusing Nitrous Oxide.

I also did notice a very large bear poop on the side of the road, but alas, did not see any bears.

Noora and I arrived at camp, still in the redwoods

and was soon joined by Rob, Katie and Carsten.

A few people have asked me to compare my bicycling experience against my long distance backpacking.

From the equipment side, I pretty much took the contents of my backpack and balanced them weight-wise into my pannier bags. I did upgrade to a 2-person tent, and replace hiking clothes/shoes with biking clothes/shoes, and added tools and spare tires.

From the physical side, biking is much easier on my feet, a bit more workout for my ankles and my shoulders, and about the same on my legs. I tend to tighten my shoulders when climbing and am constantly trying to learn to keep them more relaxed. I am often wearing shorts and a tee shirt, so I am getting some pretty impressive tan lines on my hands, arms and legs.

From the mental side, bicycling is more demanding. When backpacking, I have lots of uninterrupted daydreaming/thinking time, but not so much with biking. I need to be aware of road conditions, traffic and road signs. This is especially true when screaming downhill at 30-40 mph. There is a lot of gravel and junk on the side of the road to avoid, and I’m constantly trying to determine if the car/truck/RV coming up behind me will see me and give me room.

So far, this has not been much of an issue, with drivers crossing into other lanes or slowing down to pass when safe. But every now and again some driver will pass me closer than I think was necessary.

At the end of the day, my butt and shoulders are sore from hiking compared to my whole body being tired when backpacking. I like the serenity, remoteness and often isolation that backpacking provides. I do like the greater sense of accomplishment from biking though – ending a day 60 miles away is pretty nice!

Also, the biking diet has a lot more fresh food!

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