It was raining on the night that I finished my Hardasses bike build and with similar conditions on the forecast I knew I’d have to get out of Santa Cruz country to break her in (well re-break in as the frame's 25 years old). I got in touch with my buddy Trevor Perelson and we roughed out a bikepacking trip around the North Bay area. I had prior plans to to sew up some bags but wasn’t able to get to it, so I borrowed a rear rack + panniers. With some clouds in the sky but low probability of rain we pedaled toward Skaggs Island.
Iv'e gone past Skaggs Islands which sits along highway 37 dozens of times, mesmerized by the marshscape Ive always been curious about that mysterious little island. Skaggs Island was once inhabited by the U.S military up until 1993 when they stripped the infrastructure and claimed they area as a Wildlife Refuge, which presumes they'll stop tooling with the migratory birds . I recently read that there was thought of letting the island flood completely and allowing the land to return to its natural state. This ment I had to cycle this section of concrete. Yet little did I know that the timing wouldnít line up just right.
After a long stretch of highway riding we made it to the Skaggs road which quickly left behind all the cars and turned into seemingly endless acreage of wildlife refuge. Up on a bridge we took a moment to stop and enjoy our surroundings but upon looking over we could see a gate in the distance. It caught us off guard when we saw that a ranger had just passed through. Giving him time to pass on we weighed our options; jump the fence and continue on or improv a re-route. With ranger in mind and the fact that it was a nature preserve we decided to opt out and take a sweet looking dirt road that we hoped would take us somewhere good.
Pedaling well into the night on a seemingly endless hill climb we made it to Sugarloaf state park where we found some camping beside a river. We woke early and hit the trail with a few chilly river crossings to fully awake us. Ascending up the rough trail into the clouds left us with no view at its peak but what a rip down!