What was I thinking?

Trip Start Aug 06, 2009
Trip End Sep 03, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, August 23, 2009

Redwood National Forest, CA to Modesto, CA

OK, so I get a good amount of sleep and I’m feeling pretty good, so much so that I will ride my bike to all the shoots. 
I load up the twenty-plus pounds of camera gear, water, snacks and I head out on the trails, not the paved roads, the gravel ones.  The beach will be my first stop on the way to the Canyon of Ferns , which will be an 8 mile-one way trip.  The first mile is easy. Then I start to go down hill, not for a little bit but for about a couple of miles.  Of course it then hits me that I will have to come back up these roads with the gear, not to mention the fact that I have been passed by about 5 cars on the way down.  

I finally make it down to the beach but the fog is thick and it’s a little overcast, on to Canyon of the Ferns.  The roads are bumpy as all get out, reminding me of a certain bike ride in Tuscany, but at least they are level.  Making good time until I turn a corner, coming face to snout with the godfather of elks.   Now with bears and cougars you are supposed to back away first or make a lot of noise to make your-self appear bigger, not with elk, it’s just the opposite.  Elk are very aggressive, notice the reindeer game he is playing with one of his competitors.  I could try to reason with him.  Convince him that I’m not interested in his harem but I’m pretty sure he can chase me down on the bike so I back away slowly- then I notice that he is walking towards me at a faster pace.  Well time to fly so I turn the bike and start to sprint.  I stop after I get around the corner and watch for horn sign, nothing.  I then reason that he has gone into the adjacent meadow to feed, silly me, just as I get around the corner he is waiting for me.  He starts to snort and stamp the ground, that was my cue to do an about face and head back around the corner.  I look for an alternative route but there is none to be found.  10 minutes passes before I venture forward, is he there?  Nope he’s moved to the meadow and that’s my cue to ease on down the road. 

2 miles later and I make it to the canyon but another challenge, a herd of does are feeding directly on the path to the ferns.  They are a much more reasonable and willing to share the path, so I walk the bike slowly past them and they part like the Red Sea. 

I leave the bike to travel the rest of the way on foot.    The Canyon should look familiar to movie  fans, it’s featured in Jurassic Park series, part 3, with Vince Vaughn and Jeff Goldblum.    The sun starts to fill the canyon creating this awesome site.  Load the gear and grab my bike because it will be a long ride, scratch that-walk back to camp.

On the way back I see the elk males have been reunited with the does, let the pheromones flow!

I get back to camp, giving my self a few minutes to let the blood back into my butt cheeks, before I pack the car and hit the road.  It is a long painful ride through the mountains to get to Yosemite caused by more road construction and an army of behemoth camp vehicles.  I make a decision to stop for the night in Modesto, just a few hours from Yosemite and then tackle the rest of the drive in the morning.  Besides, I need to soak in a tub and wash the stink of elk machismo off my skin.

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Where I stayed
Elk Prairie Campground
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