I have wanted to Mountain Bike Catalina Island for awhile. I had planned to wait for the Catalina Island Gran Fondo put on by Team Big Bear. With this warm winter the thought of Bike packing has also been brewing in my head. With buzz of the Arrowhead 135 and Iditarod which also get my head going about bikepacking. So anyway I kinda contacted my buddy KC about bikepacking Catalina Island on his facebook page since I just happen to have a few days off work last minute. A couple hours later KC replied “are you serious because I took a week off work thinking I would give it a go at Stagecoach 400″ so 2 days before the trip, done we are bikepacking Catalina Island. I did some online search for campgrounds on the Island and reserved a campground online for Wednesday at Hermit Gulch it was $21 a night per person. I was not sure if I would make it so I just paid for 1 person to hold the campground.
Pack it Load it
I was very excited! I did a rare thing and took the afternoon off playing and packed, instead of waiting the last minute and just throw everything I think I needed in the car and zoom down. I still managed to miss a couple things like my merino wool underwear and a merino wool long sleeve shirt for lounging around in. I had to work until 11:30pm so the thought of getting up at 3:30am to drive to Joshua Tree to pick up KC was the only thing I was not excited I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON THINKING TO MYSELF. After I got off work stopped at A-frame Liquor to grab a Epic I.P.A. and a Red Bull. IPA to fall asleep Redbull to give me wings to Drive to Joshua Tree then to Catalina Island. I was really hoping to make that 5:30pm boat.
Alarm rings 3:30AM FUG I walked to the refrigerator to find my red bull hopped in the shower and hopped in the car everything loaded cruise control a couple miles over the speed limit gave KC a call meet him at 10:00ish am
KC Pick up
Damn made nice time loaded his stuff and managed to make it to Downtown Long Beach Landing after finding are overnight parking at $15 a night.
Packing Bike Parking Area
We put the bikebags on the bikes and road to ticket window at age 55 KC was happy to get his first senior discount at about $35 one way ticket myself $47 with bike woohoo caught the 2:00pm boat.
Now on the boat I got to relax, but I was excited. From the boat we could see pods of Dolphins and a few seals. No Whales.
The Downtown Landing to Avalon boat trip was approximately 1 hour.
We unloaded are bikes to the dock.
KC undocking his Bike
The first thing I did was look into the clear water I saw the State fish the Garibaldi a gold fish like.
The State Fish
Welcome To Catalina Island
I looked around at the Avalon village reminded me of Capatola meets Santa Barbara meets a foreign country.
Small golf carts and cars. Riding in the streets you had to pay attention or you where going to get your arse ran over there is a lot happening.
KC and the Golf Carts
We wanted to get are permit for biking at Catalina Island Conservancy since we where 3 hours earlier then I had thought we would be.
Me (Hunter) at the Conservancy
Then we went up to find are campground.
KC setting UP
After setting up camp we went back to town and grabbed a beer and $1 happy hour tacos at the Sandlot then we went down to the strip and had a couple beer at first what I thought was a brewery but just the best place in town to grab a craft beer.
KC and those yummy Tacos
Ok had a few and road back by the Wrigley Historic spring training Baseball Field
Wrigley Field Spring Training
Then headed back to camp but first had to grab a beer at the liquor store
KC Packing up a Beer
The liquor store carried mostly river beer but they had a Mission IPA which we enjoyed.
Crawled in my tent and slept great.
The California Quail
I awaken up to see the California bird the Quail.
We packed up are gear went back to town and had breakfast once fueled we set out to find are road to Two Harbors.
There was no sign so we headed what we thought was the right way after climbing a good climb only dead end until a private resort area so we asked the guard do you know the way to the airport yes go back and just go right right right. haha
We turned around still a little confused I looked at the map I bought and found the right way.
Over Looking Avalon, CA
The Road started gaining elevation right away. After a mile of steep climbing your at a gate and a sign saying you are entering the Catalina Conservancy and also the Main entrance to the zipline that looked fun but I had only a few days on the Island so I had to stay focus on the ride.
- Big Climb Over Look
After a couple miles of elevator type climbing you come up to a great eagle like look out over the pacific ocean and you remember you are riding your bike on an Island.
from here we rode a rolling style about 80% paved road to the airport.
Where we dined on Bison and Veggie tacos SO GOOOOD! This was also a nice break period.
From the airport this is where it gets wild the paved road turns to a nice gravel road.
The Wild Dirt
and a nice downhill.
After about 3 miles you come to the Wrigley Field Ranch.
Ok now a small grind up a semi steep hill. then back to a fun downhill
Down Down Down
but we had to watch the corners there was a fair amount of traffic.
We came to Little Harbor gave it a look and decided we would come back to it on are way back.
Over looking Little Harbor
By this point we where 12 miles into the ride which don’t seem like much but there are some big climbs and we are exposed to the sun.
Start of Another Climb
We start looking up at another big grind and start thinking about setting up camp and Beer and Food.
Two Harbors Top of the climb
Once at the top for a pretty good size climb we get excited we could see are campground area and the little village of Two Harbors.
We dropped down to the campground area first we went around looking for the office. The signage was not great so we had a treasure hunt trying to find the checkin area. Finally found it and there was a sign just go find a campground no reservation needed. The next thing was to find are campground on the way I saw the Island fox cool little guy.
The Island Fox
Once we found are campground we where like ok not that great of spot so we moved to a killer look out of Isthmus Cove one of the Names of the Two Harbors.
camp Over looking Isthmus Cove
So we setup are tent and checked out what are food and beer options where.
It was a 5:15pm glad we went into the store because they closed at 6pm we would not had have beer and snacks for the camp We both grabbed a couple of IPAs and some chips for later.
We went next door to the Resturant to dine and have a beer. KC ordered the Fish and Chips which where amazing and I a bison burger.
After being content from dinner we rode around
Checking Out the Bison
This is where we saw the other harbor (Catalina Harbor), Bison and Disk Golf which I wished I had brought a couple so we could play.
Then headed back to the site and enjoy are beers and stories. That same fox came back to check to see if we had snacks sorry little fella but you need to find your own grinds.
I slept pretty good but it was time to pack up and grab breakfast. OMG that breakfast burrito was soo good and big saved half. Now to find this road out of town.
That fun Downhill that lead us to town became a pretty good climb back out of town.
Once to the peak we had a nice downhill this time we stopped to checkout little harbor.
Living in a mountain town I have wanted to put my feet in the ocean and enjoy the sand. So for me this was a must stop the water was cold so I didn’t stay in long.
Now I was thinking of those Tacos at the airport. So it became a Mission to climb the 6 mile kinda steep gradual grade back.
Heard of Bison final Climb to the airport
Once back to the airport we devored those tasty tacos and chips and salsa and the other half of are burritos.
Now back to the rolling paved road back to Avalon which we where excited that we where alomost home free I was looking forward to the fast windy downhill but you gotta check yourself there is quite a bit of traffic to the airport from here.
Instead of racing to catch a boat back we would enjoy another night of camping at Hermit Gulch Campground before catching the 10:15am boat back to Downtown landing the next day.
We went back to the Sandlot for more happy hour tacos at a buck a piece and grabbed another 22ounce of Mission IPAs Life is Good.
The next morning we got up around 7am and KC made us some coffee and we slowly took an hour to pack up are camp and head back to the ticket office to buy are ticket back to Reality.
Been there Done that great trip last minute trip turned out great Happy Trails.
Awaiting for boat back to Reality
Stuff I brought.
The Bike was a Rigid Giant XTC 29r with rigid Carbon Forks
Packed in the Handlebar Bag (burrito bag) was my tent and Rain fly and a Thermorest sleeping pad which I want to upgrade to the new ultralight pads. and my tent poles.
My feed bag I carried a couple cliff bars and a Gatorade.
my frame bag I had a Ti coffee cup, single coffee packets, oatmeal and miso soup as a food backup but we knew we where going to eat at eateries. A usb battery pack to charge phone. Suncreen windbreaker packing towel for the shower. And TP.
The seat bag is where I kept my down jacket, thermals, boardshorts,
I also have a Dakine 3liters hydrations pack where I kept my tubes and bike multi tool.