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  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    TR - Catalina Island bikepack

    Bikepacking Catalina Island has been on my to-do list for a long time. It should be an easy 3-day trip, but with permits and reservations required it takes more advanced planning than I normally prefer. 406 has been working an odd schedule right now giving him mid-week off so with temps still looking reasonable it seemed like a good time to go. Managed to snag the last campsite at Little Harbor that was free for consecutive nights.


    Our shuttle to the island




    Walking off the ferry in Avalon was a bit of culture shock - tourist hell. We picked up our bike permits at the visitor center and immediately watched some girl back her golf cart into two carts behind her when she couldn't figure out how to put it in drive. Seeing the golf cart tow cart made more sense after that.




    Get us out of here! We climbed out of town to the south up Wrigley Rd. Apparently this road forms part of a loop all the tourists take their rental golf carts on so it was a parade of them going the opposite direction. But at least we were away from the worst of the mayhem.




    See ya later, suckers! Here we turned onto the dirt East End Road where the real climbing began.




    Warning!




    This road would take us up to 1,600ft, the high point for both day 1 and the entire trip.




    The elevation wouldn't kill us, but the heat just might. Heatwave across the southwest appeared on forecasts soon after we booked reservations.

    My little thermometer showed between 90 and 100F and there was minimal breeze on the climb




    Finally up top we get a view back down to Avalon




    The Trans Catalina trail, along with other trails here aren't open to bikes. Most of the sections we saw were steep and stair-steppy, so I was actually fine with that. From the map it looks like half or more of TCT is on old fire roads.




    Few trees means little shade, so shade structures have been installed along the TCT and bike routes. We came across a fountain soon after this as well.




    The Catalina Island Conservancy clearly has our safety in mind. That cattle guard would be really dangerous to ride over!




    We had another 8-9 miles to go to the Airport where we could refill water and maybe get some food. Fortunately the main climb for the day was over, it would be all rolling ridgetop terrain from here on. And some cloud cover moved in. It felt 20* cooler.




    Had a coke and snack and picked up a couple expensive beers for later, then continued on. The remaining miles would trend downhill.




    View of the west coast. Little Harbor campground is in among the palm trees in the background. You can see the TCT switchbacking up the ridge above it.




    We got into camp and met the neighbors. Some were more social than others. Went over to the beach for swim and to use the outdoor shower.




    The girls next to us had to wait across the way until this guy moved away and started napping. We were told he likes our campsite in particular, and even knows how to turn the water spigot on with his nose.




    Rather than build our own we commandeered the neighbors' campfire while they went off for a sunset paddle.




    Good day on the bike. The only bummer is getting a late start due to ferry schedule meant the ride started in the heat of the day. It would have been much easier if we could have started earlier. Heard about a few backpackers who needed assistance from the rangers. It really cooks once you're away from the water.

    Stats 24.5mi, +/- 3,200

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Banff
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    21,356
    cool trip. thanks


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Day 2

    Nothing to do today but ride, eat, and swim. The plan was to ride as far north as bikes are allowed which is Parson's Landing, about 8 miles beyond Two Harbors.


    First we'd have to climb out of Little Harbor. Easy climb of 800ft in 4 miles, then a fast downhill to "town"




    View into Two Harbors




    It was busy, but not obnoxious like Avalon. Mostly people coming and going to various activities. Seemed like food establishments weren't open yet.




    We poked around for a few mins and ran into a friend. Refilled water, then continued on our way. Looking back on the harbor




    There are a bunch of boat in campsites below the road north of Two Harbors. Those would be pretty cool to stay at.




    Each cove had plenty of boats moored as well.




    There seemed to be some sort of private camp in each of the big coves




    My gps route suggested a 5,000ft day but the road out to Parson's was pretty much flat. No way we were going to get close to that. It only took an hour to get out there.




    Campsites are right on the beach, but there was no fresh water or shade. Except behind that big rock, so that's where we headed.




    A swim was in order. Waves made things interesting. Once you hit the surf the beach was all gravel and small rocks, not sand. My ankles got pummeled by small rocks moved by wave action so I didn't stay in very long.




    Had a snack and relaxed for a bit, then pedaled back.




    There were plenty of people out hiking on the roads, including a few scout troops. Not many vehicles fortunately. That section of road is part of the TCT, forming a loop from the north end back to Two Harbors. It was a nice ride. Wouldn't want to hike it.




    Stopped for a burger at this place. Witnessed a classic Karen moment. Lady backpacker who was in line to be seated got into it with a group that sat down at an empty table. There were plenty of empty tables. "Excuse me, there's a line!"




    406 wanted to do some snorkeling so we headed over to the campground. Lots of fish. I forgot my mask, so I did some reading instead.




    And tried not to get crabs




    The campground is on a hillside and has better views than Little Harbor.




    Made the pedal back to camp in under an hour. Bison still hanging around. Went for another swim then had dinner. New neighbors arrived via taxi with 4 kids in tow. Turns out the kids were well behaved but the parents were obnoxiously loud.




    The sun sets out of view of the bay, so we went for a hike up the TCT to get a view. Looking back down on camp. We had the furthest possible site from the water.




    Not a bad sunset at all.




    Made it back to camp without needing lights, then sat by the fire for a while. Neighbors were still up making tons of noise past 11 when I went to bed.





    Another good day. Stats 31mi, +/-3,400ft

  4. #4
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    May 2012
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    Day 3

    Today would be the shortest but we'd still have to climb up to the main ridgeline. Planning to exit via Middle Ranch Rd. We'd been told it could get very hot through there, but at least we'd get to the climb first thing.


    Checking out the beach in morning light. Not many people around.




    We had a couple 3-400ft climbs to deal with before the main one.




    Checked out a beach near the road




    Very nice, even found a bit of trail






    Middle Ranch Road passed through...you guessed it, a ranch. Looks like that's where a lot of the Island's operations are based out of. A few vehicles but not as much traffic as the route we took on day 1.


    Soon we were at the top and ready to drop right into Avalon. The Stagecoach Road down is lined with Eucalyptus Trees, which provided some nice shade.




    Avalon just out of sight beyond the ridge




    The road had brand new asphalt which made for a quick descent




    A gate to keep the yahoo's out




    Nice view of the harbor and town




    A bit more snorkeling at Lovers Cove. Try not to get run over by the glass bottom boats




    Back to town for a burger before the ferry home.




    Stats for day 3 - 20mi and +/- 2,300ft.

    Nice short trip. The distances on the island are perfect for a 3 day bikepack with plenty of time to relax. It could easily be done in two days and camp at Two Harbors or Parson's Landing, but why rush? I'd bring my mask and snorkel next time, and probably set the trip up to do more hiking. Most roads aren't open to bikes, a lot more of them can be hiked.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2004
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    Up in ya face!
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    Great stuff, thanks.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2017
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    Can/USA
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    Wicked… been there once and it is beautiful but like you mentioned you just have to deal with all the loud tourists. Looks like fun

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    SoCal. SoVT.
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    1,273
    Awesome TR gents. Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by doughboyshredder View Post
    If you're not standing on the fucking traverse with your thumb up your ass you wont get checked.

    dumbfuck.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2002
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    Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer
    Remind me. We'll send him a red cap and a Speedo.

  9. #9
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    That looks like a great weekend. Thanks for the pics.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagtagley View Post
    Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer
    ... fucking Catalina wine mixer...

  11. #11
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    Jul 2007
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    No Buffalo Milk?

  12. #12
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    May 2012
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    Nope. They had a Buffalo milk stout at the brewery but they were closing at 2pm just as we walked in. Settled for a pulled bison and pork burger instead (last pic). That combo actually went pretty well together.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Nice write up Evdog. I will add a few photos.

    Day 1:

    Cool looking little houses in town:


    My set up:

    rack=cloths and food, flipflops
    handlebar bag=sleeping bag, tent, snorkel
    triangle bag=stove, fuel, food, sleeping pad, tent pole, etc
    down tube bag= tools
    feed bags=snacks and electrolyte water
    pack=water, cooking pots

    Steep up starts right away, topping out there was a nice grade down with some views to the west, prior to the next big up:


    Landing/taking off at the airport looked crazy. Bought $8 12oz cans of beer x2 for camp.


    Almost all down after the airport, but a good size hill next to a very posh vineyard. The fancy buildings kind of sticks out, with no other development in the area, they have a nice view:


    First view of camp:


    Tatanka:

  14. #14
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    Day 2.

    Day trip to Parsons Landing via 2 Harbors. Easy riding without all the gear:


    First view of town:


    At Parsons landing:


    Only cost $1.50 each! Cheapest beer in the store:


    sunset hike from camp:

  15. #15
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    Day 3.

    Back to Avalon, but first some exploring:


    Found the spot to camp next time:




    Paved road back into town was crazy. Dodging road raging SoCal Edison trucks and tour rigs, these came in handy:




    Did a bunch more snorkeling after a little people watching in town. Water was colder than 2 harbor, but tons of stuff to see.

    Beer on the beach:


    the end:

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Keep Tacoma Feared
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    2,107
    Great TR. Thanks for sharing. Much drier there than I thought. Figured early summer it would still be a bit green. Wonder if anyone surfs any of those beaches?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    11,752
    thanks for the tour!
    They got a name for the winners in the world

    http://procatinator.com/?cat=80

  18. #18
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    Aug 2008
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    Where the climate suits my clothes.
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    Inspiring, never heard of this place (life long New Englander) and now definitely want to go.. but your style please, not drunken tourist on a golf cart. Have thankfully (finally) outgrown that desire. Great share. Thanks

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Bottom feeding
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    9,107

    TR - Catalina Island bikepack

    Thank you.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Quote Originally Posted by altasnob View Post
    Wonder if anyone surfs any of those beaches?
    We didn't see anyone out in the water, but there were lots of surfboards at residences in Avalon and Two Harbors and a few strapped to vehicles at Little Harbor campground. There were lots of local vehicles on the roads so I'm sure locals drive to some of the beaches away from town. It would be a pain in the ass if you're a tourist, unless you know someone, as you'd have to rely on guides or shuttle buses. The rental golf carts aren't allowed beyond town. Boat in surfing would be a cool option if you have a boat.

  21. #21
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    Yeah, logistics for surfing would be a challenge unless you have a boat and sounds like there would be better places to go because the swell needs to be at just the right direction for good waves. If there is a good consistent spot, locals are doing a good job keeping it secret. Sounds like Shark harbor and Ben Weston can have good waves.

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