May 14, 2016
Redcrest Resort to Wailaki CG
49.7 miles, 6:27 in the saddle, 6498 ft climbing.
Total Miles: 581
I left Redcrest at 8:40 am with grey skies after a little rain last night. I knew from the ACA maps that there was a big climb of about 2600 ft and then a decent into Honeydew. The first few miles on Mattole Rd to Honeydew were gentle climbs through magnificent Redwoods. There was an area called the Big Trees that I went through. Though I’ve seen a lot of them by now they always impress.
I kept expecting the climb to start but it was several miles in when I saw markings on the pavement that said summit 6.7 miles. And then the climb started. It was relentless, silently climbing through timbered slope. At one point I got off and pushed, at which point I realized just how heavy my rig is. A deer watched me go by, unconcerned. I slowly climbed into the coastal fog, and it persisted despite my hope I would pop out above it. I stopped about 2/3 the way up and made a cup of coffee and a PBJ sandwich. As I continued it started to rain, a steady drizzle. The drizzle persisted to the summit, when I stopped and put on my Showers Pass rain jacket (I had been wearing a light weight Gore wind jacket) and gloves for the decent.
The rain let up as I decended and it was actually quite nice in Honeydew. The general store in Honeydew had a weird vibe. There were lots of young (20-30s) men coming and going, getting propane, buying food, etc. There was a young man ahead of me with a $200+ bill for propane that he paid for with a huge wad of $1 bills. Not sure what that was about, but it took awhile to count it all. Nobody said anything to me. I got some food to eat and some water, and rested a bit before packing up and heading up Wilder Ridge Road.
I did not know anything about the profile of Wilder Ridge Road but soon I was climbing, steep climbing, but it was paved, well mostly. It was tough going but finally I reached the turn off for King Peak Road. I was using this map as my reference, and I had uploaded the Google Map data for the area so I could make sure I was on my intended route.
I’m not sure what they are hiding (well I have a guess – marijuana) but all the private property on the steep wooded hillsides were prominently marked “No Tresspassing” and had elaborate privacy fences constructed to prevent seeing what was going on – in the middle of no where.
King Peak Road is unpaved, and more of a 4WD track than a road. It immediately pitched down in a series of rough eroded switch backs. I stopped to adjust my front brake that was squeeling like a stuck pig.
The miles went by slowly due to the rough road but I eventually passed a couple of BLM campgrounds, that I had considered using, but they didn’t have water. So I continued on. The road improved as I got closer to Shelter Cove Road. After a short run on Shelter Cove Rd I turned onto Chemise Mtn Road that took me to Wailaki CG, my home for the night.
Wailiki is a nice CG, but there were only a few other campers and I spoke to no one. The place was littered with the debris from the winter, branches, pine cones and needles and so forth. Kind of like it had just opened and hadn’t been cleaned up. Pit toilets only, but there was water.
It was a really long, hard day, but satisfying.