Day 21, Burlington Campground to Standish Hickey Recreational Area, 46 miles
The ride today starts with last few miles of the Avenue of the Giants. Quiet, cool, impossibly large trees, the mystical quality of being so close to ancient forces, wise old beings. There’s a roadside memorial, complete with pieces of the broken car which I assume the person died while crashing, the a few miles later a road killed red fox, beautiful, as if sleeping.
I stop at the Daily Grind in Myers Flat, chat with the owner. We talk shop, he shows me the art of his daughter who just started at UC Santa Barbara. His coffee really is the best on the west coast. Then I’m back cycling the Avenue, climbing through Miranda. There aren’t enough more miles of this gentle road left, I’m force back onto the 101 freeway.
The afternoon sun is hot now, a stark contrast from the days of cold and cloud and wet and wind. Now I’m sweating up the hills around Garberville, then Richardson Grove, then the last four hills before camp. I’m pausing often, to catch my breath, to drink more water, to breath and think and let it all go.
I arrive at the campground near dusk, Tanguy greets me and we head over to the Peg House for the amazing burgers I bragged to him about. I’m too exhausted from climbing to fully enjoy the meal, but it’s nice to share companionship and dinner.
I grab a shower after I get back to camp, then collapse into my sleeping bag. I’m aching, and fearful for tomorrow’s climb. I’ve done Leggett Hill many times before, I tell myself. Just go slow. But I don’t know. I just don’t know.