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Big Basin - July 25, 2010

Distance: 24.1 miles Ascent: 3,269 feet Moving time: 2:40 hours

We maintained conservation of gender on today's ride with Anna missing the ride due to minor injuries from a fall earlier in the week but Marion joining us instead. Anna had helped us decide on going to Big Basin, so we stuck with the plan. We were surprised to see the park so full when we got there, but we quickly found a $10 parking space, geared up and headed out. The air was slightly crisp at headquarters, so I hoped the rest of the ride would be very moderate weather-wise.

This was Mike and Marion's first ride at Big Basin, so we chose a route to show off some (but certainly not all) of the sights around Big Basin without making it a marathon. We headed up North Escape, Highway 236 and China Grade, making good time on the hill climb. Marion seemed to be quite at home on this mostly paved part of the ride. We detoured onto Johannsen, taking it all the way down to Sandy Point where we stopped for a brief photo session and snack. I pointed out a banana slug to Mike and Marion. This was the first time they had see one of these ferocious beasts!

I explained to Mike and Marion that the terrain was about to change from heavy forest with duff covered trails to scrub brush and gravel and chalk trails. We headed out Whitehouse and made a stop at the top of Henry Creek for the view. This part of the trail reminded them of the trails back in New Mexico. I told them to be ready for a bit of climbing as we continued on, making the steep climb up to Chalk Mountain. We showed them the "secret" picnic table at the top and stopped for views (great!) and snacks. Ken and I agreed that the climb up seemed easier today than it had in the past. Refreshed, we headed back to Sandy Point and then returned to headquarters via Gazos Creek.

Mike and Marion both really liked Big Basin. The big trees, broad views and easy trails seemed to hit the spot for them. The weather was perfect with a temperature of about 72 degrees and a very slight cooling breeze from the ocean. We held a good pace through the ride without being excessive or torturing anyone. We celebrated with ice cream and beer from the park store. It was another great ride!

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