Lord Ellis/Berry summits
Earlier this week CP asked me where I planned to ride.
My answer: Somewhere far away.
I didn’t know where I would be pedalling, but I wanted to log a lot of miles, do some serious traveling and come home really tired. You know – no pain, no gain.
I checked the weather forecast Wednesday and determined that Thursday would be perfect for a ride east on State Highway 299. I would climb some mountains and perhaps even make it as far as Willow Creek.
As usual, I awoke later than planned. I ate two fried eggs, a piece of toast, loaded up the bike and got ready to leave. Then I decided to take a shower.
What? Who the heck showers before a long bike ride? That doesn’t make any sense.
The thing is, taking a shower is part of my morning ritual. If I don’t follow that routine, I feel out of whack. So it’s dumb, and a sure sign of a serious mental flaw, but it had to be done.
After a short shower, I filled a canteen with some piping hot Earl Gray tea and by 8:30 a.m. I was rolling across the Arcata Bottoms, above. I would conquer those mountains in the distance.
I made my way to Valley West and proceeded up 299 to Blue Lake, where I came across this sign. There’s no food and no water. You’re on your own out here, which I planned for.
Besides the small canteen with the tea, I had three large canteens with water, one V-8 Splash, a tuna sandwich, assorted dry fruit, a slice of Morning Bread from Sutter’s Mudd and a Snicker’s Bar.
A short distance up the hill from Blue Lake I stripped down to a bicycle jersey and shorts. I was sweating like a pig. Good thing I took a shower before I left.
I came across lots of snow and made it to the top of Lord Ellis Summit, elev. 2,263, above. Then I descended down the other side to Redwood Creek. It was a long, chilly descent.
I felt like I was cycling in the Alps. I was surrounded by mountains dotted with snow. When I got to the bottom I began climbing the next mountain.
Above is the view looking southwest on the way up to Berry Summit. I came up and over that mountain in the distance, descended into the valley below and climbed up to where this photo was taken.
As I got closer to the summit, there was a strong easterly wind. I stopped at the Vista Point, above, and consumed some fuel. I didn’t see a sign indicating I had reached the actual summit, which is 2,859 feet, according to my map. But I was close.
At this point I was about 8 or 9 miles from Willow Creek. I thought about going all the way, but that would involve an extra 16 of 18 miles of cycling along with more than 2,000 feet of additional elevation gain on the way back.
Could my legs handle it? I wasn’t sure. So I turned around and came back. I climbed back to the top of Lord Ellis Summit and coasted down to Blue Lake. I decided to take Fieldbrook Road home and got back into town around 3:30 p.m. I had enough time to stop at the office, make a few phone calls, and then swing on by Soulshine for a juicy tofu burger smothered in jalapenos.
When I got home I realized that, although tired, I felt pretty good. There were several hours of sunshine left in the day. Next time I’ll go all the way to Willow Creek.