April 16, 2024


sights and trips

Sea to Summit Portion 1: Bald Mountain | Get Out

We couldn’t all cycle alongside one another in April of 2020, obviously. Biking with a peloton of racers breathing heavily and sprinting uphill was not likely to materialize. Snot would fly as thighs burned, a dynamic that suddenly carried a novel, risky threat that was consistently evolving. We all questioned what the upcoming held in this new limbo of riding from household, doing work and schooling from dwelling. Following getting derailed just one year into a multi-calendar year bicycle journey, I started off the summertime seeking for intent and adventure. Embracing the unfamiliar took on new indicating as journey limitations hemmed us in and pressured us to get imaginative on what it intended to take a look at.

We could not ride en masse but it’s possible we could ride “collectively” separately. Local biking legend Mark Severy designed a team on Strava (a social media platform the place athletes can article a experience, operate or surf, and review occasions), and chose unique segments all over Fieldbrook that people could “race” solo in a week’s time.

In June, Severy retired the weekly troubles and launched an experience series termed “Sea to Summit.” He selected 10 peaks within just Humboldt County to achieve with negligible regulations and an emphasis on the journey. The principles were being: 1) Get there by your have electric power 2) start at the ocean and get your toes salty (the bay didn’t rely) 3) conclusion on a single of the peaks and 4) every single peak expected its own ocean start. You could bike, hike, pogo adhere or rollerblade there, carrying your individual treats or with a car or truck carrying your things. It could be performed in file time or just take times.

One afternoon in late June, I casually rode to Mad River Seaside, returned for a transient cease at my property, then headed up to Bald Mountain for my initially of the 10 peaks. I started out slow, not contemplating too a great deal about the day’s journey. I hadn’t mentally committed to all 10 peaks and was discovering my biking legs once again soon after a considerably-required break because coming household. The Korbel climb was a familiar sting in my thighs, but the steep gravel pitches right after that experienced me digging deep and attempting not to walk my bike. I emerged from the chilly summer season fog and ran out of drinking water, cursing myself atop a sunny and hot gravel street. Experienced I not toured by way of 13 nations, regularly assessing h2o resources? I was no rookie and felt silly for my mistake, vowing to do improved on the next nine peaks, if I even got that considerably. I texted my spouse, inquiring him to set some h2o in the fridge for my foolish self. I was so parched that cold water was all I could think about as I descended, dodging fully loaded logging vans on the way residence.

I took a single full working day to map out the rest of the peak routes, scheming and bouncing suggestions off of my husband, who presented to engage in support when necessary. Where is Grasshopper Peak? And Salmon Mountain? Was it in the vicinity of the Salmon River or nearer to the ocean? What about Sign Peak? Powering Black Lassic … anywhere that is. I pored over the map. I missed poring in excess of maps. I was in. I was so in. I hoped to attain all 10 summits but was even now battling with some medical concerns immediately after my 14 months in South The united states. Could I do it? Would I do it? I was not absolutely sure but I would sure as hell try out.

Currently being compelled to start out from the ocean designed all the routes distinctive, and the beach front additional a tiny slice of cloudy relaxed and a probability to say hi to the waves. It also produced achieving that initial summit amazingly fulfilling and I was hooked. I still longed for Argentina and Algeria, but, as the months wore on, I suddenly identified myself entirely content checking out my have backyard, recognizing how fortunate I was to have these an comprehensive and majestic backyard to revel in. My state of mind adjusted from looking at journey as border crossings and new languages to embracing the undertaking of locating hidden gems, ravines and trails much more regionally.

Just one by 1, I pursued the peaks. The logistics of acquiring to spots like Salmon Mountain and Black Lassic made for epic days, in some cases a number of days. Even though I remembered every agonizing uphill pedal stroke, I nevertheless questioned the excursion the moment atop a peak, “Did that actually materialize?” The great coast felt eons away from each pinnacle. As the months and months passed, the journey series productively produced a neighborhood of persons, engaging with each individual other when we all felt in any other case isolated. Encouragement, inspiration and info flowed freely, and that stoked my fires even more.


I tried out to recruit other people for this from time to time masochistic quest but settled for bringing distinctive good friends along on every single trip, spreading out the agony so my good friends would however in fact want to ride with me. There were organizing co-conspirators and individuals coming along for the journey. My husband was unwaveringly supportive, listening to my plans and providing strategies or a experience property from the extra significantly-flung summits. Some buddies cherished it, other individuals did not. We dodged wildfires, from time to time started out prior to dawn and ended following sunset.

I obtained out of my convenience zone, piqued my very own curiosity, and observed the objective and experience I craved. At times I desired to give up mid-trip sometimes I was so nauseous I couldn’t consume in some cases I felt like my eyeballs would explode from the warmth, or my fingers ended up completely numb from the cold. I ran out of water as soon as extra, idiot that I am. Every journey was like a neon billboard that reminded me what an incredible area we live in and, surprisingly ample, I experienced one particular of the ideal summers of my lifetime. Humboldt County genuinely embodies California’s motto: Flexibility to Roam.

Continue to be tuned for dispatches from the journeys to the future nine peaks.

Hollie Ernest (she/her) is a botanist and forestry technician on hiatus from an intercontinental bike tour. She is composing a guide about her travels, gardening and exploring the corners of Northern California. Stick to her on Instagram @Hollie_holly