Monday, July 28, 2014

S24O - Sanborn County Park - hidden gem in Santa Cruz Mountains

So here we are doing it again!! 

Gear loaded and ready to roll

Laurie and I finished our second S24O, this time we visited another beautiful County Park near our home. We enjoyed our visit to Sanborn County Park, but then what is there not to enjoy, Big Redwoods, shaded canyons, free hot showers, close proximity to our home, just the right distance to ride! This place has it all and to think of it, that it was always there and yet we "just" discovered it makes it that more exciting. In true tradition of S24O we departed from our home on Friday evening right after we got home from work.  Our camping gear was already packed up during previous days, so all we had to do is change our work clothes load up our panniers on to the bikes and ride. Half  way we stopped for dinner at a local restaurant, and afterwards we continued on our way up toward the Santa Cruz Mountains above a small but affluential town of Saratoga, CA. Decision to ride late in the evening was based on pure pragmatic fact that we were going through a Heat Wave, and temperature was still in the high 90's around 21:00 (09:00PM).  The ride it self was not to challenging until the last mile, Sanborn Road has a 9.5% incline, that required us to walk our bikes for that whole stretch up to the entrance of the Park. By the time we reached our designated campsite it was well after 22:30 (10:30PM) and the heat was still not releasing its grip on Silicone Valley. We quickly set up our camp and made some tea to refresh us, after which we went for a cooling shower. 

Preparing our tea using Trangia stove

We fell asleep quickly listening to a small brook babbling over the moss covered rocks in a steep canyon underneath our camp site, and a quiet whisper of ancient redwoods. The night was so hot that we ended up partially removing the rain fly to improve ventilation.

Despite severe drought in California this little brook was running

We woke up with the sunrise and were greeted with a first glance at our location, our camp was perched directly above a canyon that had a small creek running at the bottom. Despite severe drought in California there was plenty of water running over the rocks producing a wonderful ambiance.

Our Camp site was sandwiched between #17and #19 with a little room to spare

If you are looking for more of the privacy I would recommend site #19 which also provided a larger setup spot for a tent(s) and hammock, as well as it was further away from any other campers. Please keep in mind that our neighbors were extremely courteous and quiet so the close proximity was not a big deal at all.

First task of a day...Coffee making

We quickly set in to our morning routine, making fresh coffee & breakfast as well as taking a lot of photos and scouting the park for all of the hidden gems that we wanted to learn for our future visits

Laurie posing with our "kitchen" gear before her on the table

We often get asked what kind of gear do we take on our S24O trips, how much of it, how much food we take... so in this post we will elaborate about our "Kitchen" Kit. It is basically a slightly modified kit that we normally use for Backpacking or a longer hikes. We use a Titanium pot with Lid from Snow Peak in which we store our Swedish Trangia Mini Alcohol Stove that we removed from a kit that was purchased at REI. We seldomly find a use for pot and lid that was included in the original kit, however stove and a pot stand is a standard part of our kit. We also added a Alu-Foil Wind Screen to improve fuel consumption and speed up the boiling.

This is all kitchen gear we need for a great S24O
We also included Swedish Fire Steel from Light my Fire for the easiest fire starting, Pack' n Eat Mess Kit by Light  My Fire that we modified by using only the Lid = Plate, Bottom = Bowl, Cutting board. We didn't find much of use for small containers, Spoon/Fork combo or a Cup that come with original set due to simple preferences. We augmented this mess kit with Titanium Spork(s) by Snow Peak,  Folding Cups by Coghlan's, Opinel Carbon Steel folding knife and a Pop-Up Sponge by Trader Joe's that we cut in half since we don't generally need the whole thing and it stores smaller.
Also since we are just like any other cyclist, we value our coffee, so to make coffee preparation a breeze we use a 32 oz. Wide Mouth Water Bottle by Nalgene and a aftermarket French Press by Press-Bot that converts your 32 oz Nalgene in to a gourmet coffee French Press!! We are also using Insulated Bottle Cozy by Outdoor Research to keep your Java hot and prevent you from burning your hands while pouring your cup of coffee.
Among other things that we found to be useful are a Frisbee that we use as a serving plate, wash basin, a plate, etc. Small containers for sugar and coffee, a small lunch bag that we carry all of our Freeze Dry food, tea bags, fruits, Peanut Butter Pouches, Spices, Mini Moos Creamers, Clif Bars, Electrolytes, Raw Oats... Clean Kanteen 16oz. insulated bottles, Clean Kanteen 27 oz water bottles, GSI 32oz. Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Bottle, 16oz. bottle for Denatured Alcohol that we use as our fuel for Trangia Stove.

If camping in summer mosquito nets are must!
Time for second coffee & breakfast 
View from our tent
Breakfast of Bike Champions