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  • Writer's pictureCory Howell Hamada

Day 11: A Calm Reminder


3.9 miles (walking/biking)

↑ 210 feet ↓ 210 feet

I’ve come to accept that being on a bike tour means being perpetually sore.

Before the trip, I had this beautiful mental image that after the first few days I’d get used to it, my thighs and calves and back would be impervious to aches, that sitting in the saddle for hours would be easy, that eventually I could go forever.

We walked a few blocks up the street to get an acai bowl for breakfast--they served it to us in a Chinese to-go box. The fruit on top was seasonal; it was my first time having apple cinnamon with my acai.

Our short walk back was downhill. We took it slow.

In the afternoon, Lilly stayed at the hotel to catch up on work and I biked the mile to the Arcata Marsh. I felt light without the pannier and backpack. Finding my balance to ride with no hands was easy.

It was cool, almost cold. A low mist obscured the waters of the Humboldt Bay. I read online that Arcata’s climate was like Scotland, like the Faroe Islands. Being here, I somehow felt more connected to those places.

Two college-age women were in the marsh’s parking lot, the doors to their black SUV open, top 40 on full blast. They were videoing themselves, probably for the Gram. I guess they didn’t have anything else to do on a COVID Saturday.

My shoes crunched on the gravel walkway through the wetlands, thin drops of water gathered on my glasses. Blackberries grew in abundance along most of the path.

Even if I couldn’t see many birds today, I could hear them--their song was a calm reminder to me that they were still here, for now they were still safe.

I did a loop around Kloop Lake, by the Marsh Interpretive Center and a makeshift classroom of tree trunks where visiting students likely sat while they listened to talks about the wetlands.

Lilly and I shared pho for dinner. Even if for a day, it felt like we figured out how to slow down.


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