Rain, Redwoods, and Thanksgiving
By Sarah Frantz
It had been months since any of us had felt a raindrop.
While winter rainfall allows for our gem in the Pacific to
burst with vibrant flowers and lush vegetation in the early springtime,
Catalina typically reverts back to its arid climate as the island tries to
conserve its water resources during the warmer seasons. Beginning this year’s
bike tour in Humboldt Redwoods State Park was a welcomed change of scenery for
our staff and a wonderful reminder of how different ecosystems are in various
parts of the world.
The first thing to note about this adventure in the Redwoods was that it rained. A lot. And by “a lot” I mean pretty much constantly.“All of this rain is allowing us to become one with the algae,” Travis joked cheerfully one morning. Most of our clothes, shoes, backpacks, tents, pillows, and sleeping bags drank the rainwater like sponges. Even our waterproof gear threw in the towel after three days of non-stop rain (or at least mine did). Sometimes we even had to relocate our tents in the middle of the night to avoid a new stream that crept through our campsite! The relentless rain sparked our creativity to find new ways to keep ourselves dry. We turned trash bags into ponchos, bagel bags and duct tape into socks, and…
We built a fortress.
Tarps, trees, bus.
(Note – this was the ultimate team-building task).
Here’s a little known secret about the CELP staff. These nature-enthused, bicycle-loving, adventure junkies are also very creative chefs! Fortunately for us, our bike trip coincided with this year’s Thanksgiving holiday. If I had to pick one holiday to spend with my CELP family, Thanksgiving would definitely be the one.
Apple slices, an assortment of cheese and crackers, homemade cranberry sauce, deli sandwiches, cheesy polenta, stuffing, mashed cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, potatoes, and hot beverages to warm the soul.
With happy hearts and tummies, the next few days were spent eagerly exploring the magical Redwoods!
Did you know that California Redwoods…
“Live over 2,000 years old
Weigh up to 1.6 million pounds
Grow up to 367 feet tall
Have a diameter up to 22 feet across
Puff Ball Mushrooms
After a few days of relaxed exploration and soggy fun, we prepared ourselves for the beginning of our ride! To do this, we set up our own personal bike tune-up station underneath the rain tarps. We opened up our tool kit and busied ourselves with lubing up bike chains, adjusting seats, and airing up tires.
Claire Bear demonstrated how to change a tire tube like a pro!
On our third and final morning in the Redwoods, thin golden streams of sunshine finally peaked through the tall canopy of trees as the rain began to subside. We packed up our campsite, loaded the bus, and snapped on our bike helmets. The first 32 miles of our ride were along the strikingly scenic California highway known as the Avenue of the Giants.
Why drive through a tree when you can bike through one?!
Mother Nature scores a 10/10 with the CELP staff for her awe-inspiring ancient forest.