Have you ever been backpacking and thought - "man I am really enjoying this, but I wish I could go a little farther and a little faster"? Well, bikepacking is the answer. And Catalina Island is an incredible place to get your feet wet in this sport/activity. If you have a mountain bike, then you are halfway there. Now you just need the racks and the packs and you are all set. Surprisingly, they aren't as expensive as they might seem.
My gear list (http://www.sdmicroadventures.com/p/gear-list-bikepacking.html) will give you some more details about bikepacking.
About the ride - All of the riding will be on dirt road, no singletrack :-( Per the rules of the Island Conservancy. There are some big climbs, and some fun downhills (but not technical), and we may have to negotiate with a bison or two. Along with riding, we can hike, swim, and even have time to enjoy the harbors that we will be camping at. The riding is great, but I really enjoy the access to the harbors and the wilderness that bikepacking gives us here. I could go on for a while, but words really don't do the island justice. But I will add some pictures from the last trip really soon!
Day One (Avalon to Lone Harbor Campground) - Arrive at Avalon Harbor early, check in at the Conservancy, and get passes for anyone that needs them. Get any last minute supplies at Vons, then head out for Little Harbor. Depending on the group size and ability levels, we can take a detour to the Airport for lunch, or go straight to the campground. Last time, with the detour, we ended up at Little Harbor a couple hours before dark.
The awesome thing about Little Harbor campground (besides the incredible view) is that we will be camping about as close to the beach as you can get without being on the beach. So, if you are discreet, you could sleep right on the beach and no one would know ;-)
Day Two (Little Harbor to Parson's Landing via Two Harbors) - We will get up early and make for Two Harbors, which should take between one and two hours. This is a pretty steady climb over a saddle between the harbors and we will probably want to find some refreshments of some kind. Then we will head for Parson's landing which is about 9 miles of beautiful cove after beautiful cove, where the only hitch is the relentlessly steep final half mile. Once there, we will be camping on the beach with only a handful of other campsites. We should have plenty of time to do whatever we want for the rest of the day - swim, hike, or just chill.
Day Three (Parson's Landing back to Little Harbor) - This will be a pretty short ride of only 2 to 3 hours which will give us plenty of time to explore all that Little Harbor has to offer. In the past, we have usually just used Little Harbor as a place to sleep, but it really is one of the most beautiful parts of the island and deserves more of our time.
Day Four (Little Harbor to Avalon) - We will get a fairly early start, but not as early as we would if we were starting from Parson's Landing. This will give us plenty of time to enjoy what is becoming a traditional margarita and lunch at El Galleon. By 4:00 or so, we will be on the ferry back and really enjoying the cruise home. You know, watching the island get smaller, with the wind in your face, swapping stories with your new compadres. What a way to end the day.
So, take some time, think about it, and then sign up. But do it fast, cause there is only six spots available. But keep in mind, the rsvp fee is non-refundable. Here is the break down:
• RSVP fee - $30 (covers the incidentals of the trip) and is non-refundable so please make 100% sure you can go before you rsvp.
• Conservancy Membership (http://www.catalinaconservancy.org/index.php?s=join&p=become_a_member) - $35 for the "Friend" level membership (good for a year) and is required to bike on the island.
• Campground Fees - About $60 - $80 (minus the Conservancy member 50% discount).
• Ferry reservation (http://catalinainfo.com/catalina-flyer-schedules-fares.html) - $76.50 round trip + $7 bike fee (It is best to get this at least a month in advance, since it can and most likely will sell out). We will be looking for a Groupon (https://www.groupon.com/) that is usually half price, so don't purchase until we give the word, because we are not 100% sure which port we will depart from yet.
Here is a map (https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z0s5gidjib1I.kaF7JZ6hvDiA&usp=sharing) of the trip we took here last Fall.
Here is a link to last years event (http://www.meetup.com/SDMicroAdventures/events/224782937/).
Here is a gear list (http://www.sdmicroadventures.com/p/gear-list-bikepacking.html).
I will have more info to post, but I think this is enough to give you an idea of the kind of adventure this will be. We will be having a little meet and greet get together to make sure everyone has all the gear they need and is on the same page.
Take care and see you out there!
Jim Hobbs (http://adventurefitproject.blogspot.com/p/about-me_22.html)