Catalina Island Bikepacking

Just back from the second annual Catalina Island Bikepacking trip. This was also my first time “fatpacking” with my Salsa Mukluk. It was great on both fronts. This year Bruce and I were joined by Rob and Matt. A few more people had planned to come but couldn’t make it. Hmm, should I keep the pics to myself, so as to not rub it in? Nah, let’s do this.

The island was shrouded in secrecy all weekend (fog) which kept the temps down in the lower elevations. The upper elevations were a different story though. We spent a lot of time up there and it was pretty warm. The climb out of Avalon was the same. Slow and steep. Once over the top though we spotted our first group of Bison. The rollers along the ridgeline seemed easier than before and it wasn’t long before we were at our turn off for the dirt section. We hung out at the top of the climb for a while watching another group of Bison hanging out. It was here were the adventure started.

There’s a 2 mile or so descent that is pretty fun and steep. I was having a good time bombing the hill when I looked down into my Feedbag and noticed that my camera was gone. It had bounced out somewhere. Just how far back though, I didn’t know. I walked back up hill, checking the ruts and looking at the bushes and found it a few turns back. Then we continued on until I was almost to the flatter part and realized that I didn’t have my backpack. Yep, I had left it at the very top of the hill. Major, major bummer. I turned around and headed back uphill and rode as far as I could. Then I began pushing, and pushing. Then it hit me. “Ditch the bike dummy! You have the heaviest bike here, why are you carrying it uphill!” I knew I’d be able to travel faster without the bike, so I stashed it in some bushes, topped off my water bottle with electrolytes and started hiking. I ended up hiking about 1.25 miles back to the top. Once at the top I found my backpack, right where I left it and then headed down a different hill to a campground where I knew I could get some water. I drank as much as I could, then I topped off my two water bottles and Platypus bottle before I began my hike back to the bike.

Just before reaching my bike I ran into Matt who was coming up to make sure I was ok. Thanks Matt! We grabbed my bike and then started back towards our destination. It wasn’t long before we came across a HUGE rattlesnake on the side of the road. In full defensive mode making a ton of noise. It was so loud that I thought there was a sprinkler system or something. That was crazy.

Before long we were back with the group and continued on towards camp. We set up camp and hung out for a while, then I headed over to the beach. It was harder to ride on the beach than I thought, I guess I should’ve lowered the air pressure, but I didn’t want to pump them back up. I know, lazy.

Enough of the blabbin’ am I right? Let’s get to the pics.

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  • Michaelhaubert

    Cool write up. I backpacked from Blackjack to Hermit Gulch last spring and loved it. Can’t wait to finish off the rest of the Trans Catalina Trail. Thanks for sharing this.

    SoCal Mike