Carrie Suriano
Pacific Coast
Nature Up Close I am a suburban-raised girl who connects with the outdoors.  Nature impresses me. For instance, cycling up into the Redwoods out of Crescent City was quite spectacular. Wow!

The trees are enormous and the mist was flowing through the groves.  The Newton Dury Scenic Byway was later in the day so the mist disappeared but the grandeur of the trees remained. I ended the day at Elk Prairie Campground. There is an actual protected area for the elks with a sign stating “Warning Wild Elks, DANGER, Do Not Approach.”

Early the next morning, just a mile or so after leaving camp, right along Highway 101, I came upon a herd of elk sitting near the road eating. I stopped to enjoy the proximity and one elk, which was standing 25 feet away grazing, looked directly at me and started towards me.  I found this discomforting so I started to push my bike to get riding again but the elk, seeing my movement, started a trot towards me.

Because this was all going on so near where cars could pass I was worried the elk might run out and get hit AND I was concerned thinking it might charge me. The elk kept looking right at me matching my movement. If I started to pedal it would trot closer. Since I stopped, it stopped and I decided to take a picture.  I was close and didn’t know what else to do for the moment.  Then the elk and I noticed a man walking down the street in my direction, maybe 200 yards away. I waited to make sure no cars were approaching then decisively got on my bike and started pedaling hard. The elk ran about 10 feet from me in the grassy area alongside the road. I started to yell the only thing that comes to mind, “shoo” as I tried to put some distance between us. 

At the next intersection the elk stopped chasing and I got on my way once again.  It was a strange encounter but also special in some way.  I pedaled on to finish the day with the Avenue of the Giants that evening.  I basically had the road to myself and felt so lucky to enjoy the quiet moments with the big old trees. The pace on the bike really makes the scenery come alive.

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Carrie Suriano

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Carrie Suriano
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? The inspiration came from a reach out by a friend via Facebook. She put the idea out there, I spoke with Nick (the head Ranger) and the desire for a long bike adventure has taken hold of me.
  • What is your goal for the route? My goal is to turn the pedals enough times to get me from Canada to Mexico. My goal is to have fun riding my road bike and to make biking an even more integrated part of my transportation/vacation choices. I am signed up for Cycle Oregon in September, a supported 505 miles. This will be excellent training.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I have done two short trips by bike. My first trip was a solo adventure in New Zealand. I rode along the west coast of the South Island, around 389 miles. The road was pretty much quiet and the places I stayed either empty or full of group travelers. My second trip was more of an urban ride--I rode from Portland to Bend which is around 180 miles. Both trips I camped and in New Zealand I also stayed in backpacker hostels.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I hope to wake up somewhere refreshing, like in a campground near the ocean, many times over. I look forward to getting away from habits and exploring my "local" area in an intimate physical way. And I look forward to simply being responsible for myself and the spontaneity and routine that I will find in that. I look forward to meeting people and hearing their journey of choices along the way.

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