Tour without a goal – 24 August 2014

Dry Lands

all withered–
grasses I walked over
going nowhere

big hills into big trees
Packing up this morning I received a surprise as when I was pulling,stuff out of my Hobo Bag (the handlebar bag) a giant hairy, tan spider charged out. A wolf spider I’m pretty sure, (though perhaps a hobo spider!) it was about the size of a fifty cent piece. I shooed it away and it hung out under the picnic table for the duration of my time there. This is hot land for sure, the campground fee collector had a group move sites because they were right below a hill and at night “the snakes come down where its cool”.

view down the valley

This was a hot day and it featured some of the toughest climbing of the tour. I was at around 750′ and I had to climb up to Kings Canyon at around 6500′. So over 5500 feet of climbing. This was done in three big stages each doing near 2000 feet. The first was the shortest stage, but it was on these back country roads with no sort of grade limits. So steep through ranch land and heading right into the fierce morning sun. The second stage occurred after a brief stint on hwy 185 which was busy so it was good to return to the back roads. This stage was the longest climbing over 2000′ and I finally made it out of the dry valleys. Trees appeared beyond the black oaks, and manzanitas that there had been so far. There was still dry rivers though, and it was hot out of the shade.

Entering Kings Canyon

There was only a short stint on relatively flat land before the final haul. This last stage was hard, as I’d already climbed a lot and was plenty burnt out. It was steep too, a series a switchbacks that climbed the bulk of the altitude in short order. During this time there was an increasing swarm of gnats, or black flies or something buzzing around my head. I couldn’t pick up enough speed to lose them and it was only the occasionally breeze that would blow them away. There was plenty of big trees now, so e redwoods for sure among much bigger pines than I’d seen in some time. Finally I turned back onto hwy 185 for just the last six miles or so. I passed 6000′ just a bit after this and the final miles while still uphill wasn’t too hard. But I was plenty tired. So I was happy to enter Kings Canyon National Park and I made my way to Crystal Springs Campground.

climbing so slow
even the flies have to double back
to buzz me

This being a national park there was some concern about the campground being full, though if hoped showing up on a Sunday would ameliorate that somewhat. Well can’t fears were unfounded as the campground was nearly empty. I had the quietest night in a campground I. Quite some time.


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