Thursday, Aug 8
Stage 4: West Branch to Panther Flat Camp
55 miles, 4300' up, 6100' down
Continue yesterday’s climb along the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway to a 4750' summit, which also happens to be the border with the State of Oregon. Descend into Oregon and ride along the pretty Illinois River to the town of O’Brien on Hwy 199. Follow this highway all the way to camp, except for one detour: back in California, leave the highway for awhile for tiny Oregon Mountain Road, twisting its quiet, remote way up and over 2480' Hazel View Summit. Or skip the climb and go through the tunnel on 199. After that, it's mostly downhill to the finish, usually alongside the lovely Smith River.
Friday, Aug 9
Stage 5: Panther Flat to Elk Prairie Camp
71 miles, 4500' up, 4700' down
Westward through the redwoods of Jedediah Smith State Park and out to the Pacific at Crescent City. After a scenic circuit of the town, we head south on Hwy 101, which includes a 1200' climb to an unnamed summit, followed by a wild descent to another section of the Klamath River. South of the Klamath, we head out to a remote, occasionally unpaved road along the ocean cliffs in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (within Redwood National Park), ending up in a campground in the park.
Saturday, Aug 10
Stage 6: Elk Prairie to Arcata
45 miles, 2600' up, 2700' down
A short, easy stage because we’re driving home in the afternoon. Heading south through Redwood National Park, dodging off Hwy 101 wherever possible on a series of interesting side roads, usually near the ocean. Quiet back roads through Patricks Point State Park lead to the picture-postcard village of Trinidad. South of town, aptly named Scenic Drive offers up a spectacular run along the rocky coast. Finally, the route begins a complex (but fun) meander along the back streets and bike trails of McKinleyville and Arcata on the way to the finish.
Showers and lunch at the Arcata Recreation Center, then organize the car pool fleet, load up and head for home.