Cheam Peak 18 July 2014

It was a Friday and we had a late start, so we decided to check out Cheam Peak which is a short hike we’d never done before. We headed to the Fraser Valley, down Chilliwack Lake Road and then onto Chipmunk Creek Forest Service Road.  We knew the road to the trailhead was rough, and figured we’d try to get our Rav4 up the road as far as we could and hike the rest of the way up. We got just a few kilometers in and it became clear that it just wasn’t worth damaging our car to keep going and we were still really far from the trailhead. There were loads of washouts and cross ditches. We figured we’d do another hike in the area instead. So, we turned around and just when we did, a 4×4 came along and the guy got out, walked over and asked us what the conditions were like ahead. When he found out we wanted to do Cheam Peak and had given up on the road, without hesitation he offered Shawn and I a lift to the trailhead! How cool is that?? We excitedly parked our car on the side of the road and hopped in. The driver’s name was Allie and his wife’s name was Marlena. We yapped up a storm all the way to the trailhead and hiked to the top of Cheam with them and back – they were great company.

The views from the trailhead were spectacular. I’m used to working hard to get to the top of a mountain to get the reward of a view; to get it from the get go, was a real treat! The trail was straightforward, there was some snow in sections – though easily crossed as it was mushy. It got steepish in parts. What we saw along the route to the peak:

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As we started to ascend Cheam Peak we saw Lady Peak across the way. We’re going to have to check it out one day! It’s a scramble, versus a hike on a trail.DSC00480

More views along route, it was windy. Especially when we got to the top! At one point, I thought the wind might blow me right off the peak. Scary. What amazing views of the Fraser Valley from the top!! We had a lunch at and there were two chipmunks that were aggressively vying for our food. One even pushed the other off a rock. We were at the top for about 45 mins.

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A memorial plaque. I’ve noticed memorials on other peaks as well. I’d love for a tree to be planted near a peak in memory of me one day. DSC00512

After lunch we started to head down. Hard on the knees I must say! I was thankful for my hiking poles.

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Took some photos of the road on the way out:

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We did 9.5 kms and it took about 2 hours up and hour and half down, plus a 45 min lunch. We had always heard about Cheam through the years, but had also heard about the rough road which had stopped us from checking it out before. It was so nice to have been able to hike this beautiful area. And what luck too!! We never would have been able to had a random stranger not offered us a lift. It’s really great when things work out like that. It’s a lesson to just go out there and give whatever it is that you want to do a shot. Sure, it might not work out – but on the other hand, it just might. It’s always worth giving it a go. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

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Hollyburn Peak, North Shore 10th July 2014

I’m usually pretty good about keeping up with these types of things; however, after I fell behind with writing about this hike, and the next one, I just kept putting it off and then it became overwhelming (I’ve got 4 hikes to blog about now). Doing things as they come up in bite sizes is a much better idea, versus leaving it until there is a ton to do all at once! I knew that, but here I am anyway 🙂 Don’t really have a proper excuse. I think you always have time for the things you really want to do. Not to say I didn’t want to blog about my hikes, just that other things took precedence. One of those things was work! Right around this hike I was in the midst of  the hiring process to hire someone to start and run the Greater Victoria Green Team. The very next day after this hike I was buried in interviews for a few days. Which was a very new experience for me, as I’d never been on the other side of the interview process.  Then I got buried in more work and missed writing about the next hike.. and once you’re behind, it’s easy to just keep getting further behind. It’s one of those things I really grapple with – I let work take over, and I need to get serious about balancing out my life with more non-work stuff!

When you take care of yourself outside of work (exercise, eat healthy, read a book, go for a hike/walk, visit with friends/family etc) you in essence create a healthier you, both mentally and physically – and you work more efficiently and effectively and ultimately produce better work. So, if I truly want to excel at work, I have to excel at doing the outside of work things. I’m working on it. I’m sure most everyone struggles with maintaining balance. Anyway, back to the task at hand – blogging about Hollyburn Mountain!

Drove over to the Hollyburn trailhead (“the Cypress Mountain Vancouver outlook” if you google map it) with Shawn and met up with a couple of friends at 10.30am. The aim was to get to the top of Hollyburn. Not a long trail, but definitely steep for the last portion of it to the top. It was hot, a few mosquitoes were flying about. We took breaks in the shade. Hadn’t seen our friends in awhile and it was so nice to catch up on what they had been up to. They’re both entrepreneurs and veering off and blasting their own paths, which was really cool to hear about.

The trail was wide for the first while, then narrowed and became rocky and rooty.

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Then it became a bit of a scramble towards the top, and had to use our hands

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This was the top! There was a bit of pond and it was rocky. We also got to check out a grouse that walked by us like we weren’t there. A whiskey Jack landed on Shawn’s hand.

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The views were awesome. Great view of the Lions

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We had our lunches and headed down soon after. We were on the mountain for about 4 hours and completed 8kms according to our GPS. Fun hike, close to home.

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The hiking begins! Elk-Thurston-Mercer June 25-26 2014

Elk MountainTime to get going with the hiking part of my summer adventure. Decided to do an overnighter to Elk Mountain in Chilliwack. The plan was to take my overnight gear up to a suitable campsite between Elk Mountain and Thurston Mountain on wednesday June 25th 2014 and then spend the next day hiking to Mercer. Despite his still injured calf, Shawn came too.

A few background things about this hike: It’s 130km drive from Vancouver (the trailhead is off Elk View Road in Chilliwack), the average grade to Elk Mountain is 16.9% (very steep), to Thurston Mountain it’s: 13.6% (still steep!!) to Mercer it’s 10% (still steep!). The elevation gain is 1070m,(you start at 630m and end up at 1700m).

IMG_9693It was my very first time doing an overnighter here. I had my Eclipse Marmot tent, Marmot Plasma sleeping bag, two sleeping mats, a stove, pad thai to cook up for dinner, bananas, peanuts, 5 litres of water (2 for the way up, 1 for cooking with and 2 for the next day), Kompressor Speed Marmot hydration pack (I love this thing, I used it every day of my bicycle ride too!). Started the hike up just before 1pm and it took me until after 5pm to get to a camping spot just before Thurston Mountain (total of around 5kms). I was incredibly slow and it was a challenge lugging all that weight up the steep terrain. Shawn had gone ahead and the plan was he’d shoot for Mercer Mountain and then meet me at the campsite, except his calf ended up bothering him and he got blisters, so he just stopped at the camp site.

I figured that since I’d done this long and challenging bike ride up many a hill across BC that I had to be somewhat fit, right? wrong! Cycling is low impact. Hiking requires the use of different muscles and I certainly felt it.

On the way up I saw a Hairy Woodpecker:DSC00032

Here are some photos of the trail to Thurston (I was in forest up until just before Elk Mountain and then it was mostly a ridge walk until Thurston (with a few times where the trail ducks into forest):DSC00036 DSC00047 DSC00049 DSC00070 DSC00079 DSC00065

Once up Elk Mountain, there were frogs (I think Western Toad) hopping along the trailIMG_9859 DSC00231

Saw 6 Turkey Vultures as soon as I got out into the open:IMG_9742

Some of the flowers and fungi on the trail:

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On the way to the campsite just before Thurston Mountain, I ran into about 15 people going down from Elk Mountain (for people without packs, it’s about a 1-1.5 hour jaunt up to Elk Mountain). Saw a young girl taking her time going down a steep section, I saw myself in her (I am skiddish going down on slippery slopes too!) and told her she was doing awesome, which she was! I had only been at it for 4 hours, but carrying that pack really took a toll on me. I was beat when I got to the campsite. Shawn was catching some sun. I pitched the tent. What an amazing spot!

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took in some views. I had brought a journal that had been donated to the Lower Mainland Green Team from Ecojot, but never got time to write in it as I had intended:

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Shawn had some left over coconut curry and I boiled some water for my pad thai with my stove (I got to use a cool spork donated to the Lower Mainland Green Team from LifewithoutPlastic.com. The pad thai was delicious and I sure appreciated having a hot meal to enjoy. Didn’t really enjoy being relentlessly attacked by mosquitoes though! 😦

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Here are some night photos (taken by Shawn). We got a fire going too, which was so nice.

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Woke up the next morning, made quinoa pancakes, packed up the tent and overnight pack and stashed it in some bushes. Put my hydration pack on and threw some snacks into it as well. The weather was not quite as nice as the day before, more cloudy.

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The hike to Mercer began at 7.30am and it was a long one. We got slightly lost getting to Thurston and then got slightly off track going to Mercer. There is still snow (no need for microspikes or snowshoes as it is hard packed) so the trail wasn’t obvious and there wasn’t properly placed flagging tape to follow. Some photos along the way:DSC00135 DSC00136 DSC00150 DSC00156 DSC00159 DSC00166 DSC00168 DSC00175 DSC00184 DSC00187 DSC00188 DSC00195 DSC00206 DSC00207 DSC00209 DSC00210 DSC00234 IMG_9796 IMG_9805 IMG_9790 IMG_9829 IMG_9854

On the way down:IMG_9858

Our GPS tracks

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We’d started at 7.30am and we were back at the trailhead at the car at just after 5pm. We were beat, it had been a long day for sure, but an amazing one at that! Loved every minute of it. Did miscalculate the water and ran out towards the end there (such a novice thing to do!! I’m rusty)  and I was most definitely sore and waddling around like a duck afterwards. The original intent had been for me to do this overnighter hike solo, wanted to challenge myself to do a hike totally alone and camp alone for the first time also, but I’m very glad Shawn came to share the amazing views and for us to work as a team to route find to Mercer. The smells, the tracks of animals (i.e. deer), the wildflowers everywhere, the mountains every which way you look. It’s a good start, as I’ve got my first 26 kms under my belt towards the 300kms I plan to have by the end of August! Now to pick the next one.. 🙂

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Since the bicycle ride ended a week ago..

I have developed a “spidey sense” for cyclists, especially the ones with bags of gear. When I see one, I get super excited and have a strong urge to run over and meet them to find out where they’re going! It’s pretty fun 🙂

I was eating lunch in Fort Langley with family and this girl rode by:

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Her name is Elen (pronounced eelen) and she is from Belgium. She is on her very first day of her ride. She is solo, riding without a support vehicle and her destination is Montreal. I was checking out her set up and she had a GPS, a map and a cell phone. She said she was planning to use as many backroads as possible, especially the trans Canada trail. She was also using the site https://www.warmshowers.org for accommodations. She plans to be in Montreal sometime in September! I told her a bit of what was ahead for her between Hope and Banff, as she’ll be on the same route I was just on. Then she’s scooting up to Jasper, across to Edmonton and on from there. Very cool. So excited for her. The other part that was cool was that it was good for my family to see others, especially lone women, out there doing the same thing I did and going even longer distances!

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Yesterday, noticed these two riding up a street near my neighborhood. This is Laurie and Brent. They’re from Idaho. They parked in Blaine and have spent the last 12 days riding and camping around Vancouver Island (Sooke, Victoria) and the Lower Mainland.  They’d ridden the Lochside trail into Victoria and Shawn asked them if they’d seen a large pig en route, Laurie said they’d had!  They’d just ridden up a steep part of King George Hwy near 24th and wanted to know where to find a Tim Hortons because Canada Day was coming up and they wanted to do something Canadian before they crossed back into the States! Lucky for them they were one block away from one. 🙂

I thought I’d only meet fellow cyclists during my adventure across BC, but have been pleasantly surprised that I’ve been able to continue to meet cyclists on adventures! I love it!

Thoughts about the bicycle ride

When I first thought about doing this trip, I thought I would really focus on spreading the word about it to raise the profile of Green Teams of Canada and raising funds.  But I’ve since realized this bicycle trip has turned out to be more about a personal challenge and finding balance in my life more than anything else. Every part of my life for the past 3 1/2 years has been about building the Lower Mainland Green Team, creating Green Teams of Canada and creating this new green team – the Greater Victoria Green Team (coming up this fall 2014) that there hasn’t been enough time for me. So, while I’d love to have used this bicycle ride as a new way to reach more people about the work I do and raise funds to continue to create opportunities for volunteers to take care of our parks, it’s really just been a quiet bicycle ride that’s been about challenging myself mentally and physically. I will definitely still make an effort to do some more work getting the word out, cause it’s not over yet. I’ve got 300kms of hiking to still do by the end of August, but at the end of the day this bike ride has been one heck of an amazing once in a lifetime adventure that’s really made an impact on me as a human being.

Prior to this bike trip, I had ridden my bicycle now and then, I’m not a regular cyclist. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve ridden my bicycle from Victoria BC to Calgary AB. The drive to make every hill and reach every destination, no matter what the challenges pulled me through. I have noticed that I have a deer in headlights thing going on. When I started the Lower Mainland Green Team, I didn’t think it would be easy – but I didn’t realize how steep the uphill would be either, or how many challenges I would have to overcome. Same with this bicycle ride, I didn’t think it would be easy – but I didn’t realize just how challenging it would be either. I started both journeys, starting Green Teams of Canada and this bicycle ride, naively and innocently having no idea what I was getting myself into. I was in totally over my head. But, boy am I glad I dove in! I would have never found out what I was capable of if I hadn’t taken the risk and believed in myself. It’s been the act of getting up and carrying on that’s become a key reason why I’ve been able to reach my goals. I think everyone is capable of so much more than they think, if they choose to dive into the deep end and take a chance! Even if you take a chance on trying something out and it doesn’t work out, you still win because you learn more about yourself and what you can do, it’s just about giving yourself the opportunity. No one is going to hand you the opportunity. You have to create it for yourself. That’s what I’ve learned on my journey. And that’s what it’s really mostly about… the journey, not the destination. I’ve had a lot of time to think on this bicycle ride. For the first two days of the ride there was a lot of “noise” in my head about all my goings on at home work-wise. Then it got quieter and started living more in the present, asking myself things such as:

  • Why are there always banana peels on the shoulder of the road? It never fails. Every single day, I’d ride by 5-10 banana peels. I’d see the odd orange peel, now and then. But mostly banana peels. What was the driver thinking? I’d love to see a cyclist slip on this?
  • Why is there so much garbage on the side of the road?
  • Why do trucks like to drive so close to, and sometimes in the shoulder when I’m there on my bicycle?

I did think of more deeper issues such as how:

  • I’m going to make sure there is time for me, so that all my time doesn’t disappear into my work
  • I will get more people connected to nature

I also thought about the pros and cons of this trip:

The pros of this trip:

  • The spectacular views and seeing BC and part of AB in a way I would have never been able to driving through. I was really able to take it all in and see how beautiful BC and AB really are.
  • Having Shawn there to share the adventure with and to support and watch over me
  • Learning that I can carry on and ride in pouring rain and strong headwind
  • That I could eat tons cause I was burning it all off (really enjoyed this part!)
  • Loved the camaraderie between cyclists. You always felt when you met someone cycling that you’d just made an instant friend, that you understood what each of you was going through
  • Not sitting on my bum in front of my computer at home in my basement apt
  • Getting exercise
  • Found myself smiling more than I ever have!
  • Meeting cool, interesting and inspiring people along the way
  • Learning I can make every single uphill, no matter how steep!
  • Marmot provided camping gear and some warm tops that kept me warm when I was freezing. They have supported Lower Mainland Green Team volunteers with awesome Marmot products in the past, and now they’ve supported me on this adventure and I really appreciate it!

The cons of this trip

  • Crazy truck drivers, whizzing by at break neck speed driving too close to me
  • Vicious dogs chasing and trying to take me out
  • Some bridges and tunnels that were clearly not made with cyclist safety in mind. I’d turn around see whether vehicles were coming and then pedal for my life. Had a few scary moments there. I don’t like playing Russian Roulette!
  • bicycle mishaps (flat tire, chain issues)
  • People who honked their horn as they went by (scared the heck out of me each and every time)
  • Glass, nails, car parts, banana peels, garbage on the shoulder
  • Encountering bears. Some people would put this in the pros part, but not me. While I respect them, I didn’t enjoy having nowhere to go if they had taken an interest in me.

I’ve loved every part of this bicycle ride, all the pros and the cons. It’s been amazing beyond words. I cannot wait to start the hiking part and report back on how it goes. I’m planning on some overnighters and some scrambles to tops of mountains. Another part of this journey is about begin! Stay tuned 🙂

Day 12 (June 18 2014) Lake Louise AB to Calgary AB

Got up, had a big breakfast and looked outside, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. I knew from having looked at the weather in Canmore and Calgary, there was a chance of rain (actually, Environment Canada had issued a rainfall warning). I had talked to the visitor centre staff the day before and she had told me that her father in law who was 60, had ridden his bicycle from Lake Louise to Cochrane (just outside Calgary). So, I got it stuck in my head that if he could do it, then I could do it too! The plan was to ride to Canmore, see how I was feeling when I got there then decide from there.

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I considered going on the 1A because of less traffic on that road; however, I decided if I was going to have any chance of making it to Calgary, I probably needed to be on hwy 1. I’m glad I made that decision because the shoulder turned out to be really wide, keeping me a good distance from passing cars and trucks. There was also fencing along either side (which made me feel good cause my chance of coming across a bear went down!) There was a slight downhill grade, that got me averaging 25-28km/hr. There were still some uphill bits, but generally it was downhill much of the way. The views along route were spectacular!

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I saw a few of these wildlife corridor bridges that allowed wildlife to cross from one side of the hwy to the other side safely. There was fencing on either side of the Hwy.

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Shawn stopped on the side of the road part of the way, to ensure I was doing ok and had enough water. I am so lucky he ended up supporting me on this trip, or it would have been so much more difficult! Thank you Shawn!!!!

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I love seeing signs telling me how much further I’ve got to go! Canmore is within striking distance now 🙂

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Voila! Canmore

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I had started the ride at 8.40am and made it there at just about 1pm. I stopped for a gatorade, a banana, a boston cream and an iced cappuccino (healthy!!). I could stay in Canmore, or carry on and give Calgary a shot – I decided it was only 1pm and lots of daylight left, and I’d see how far I could get. Shawn decided to stick around and do a hike – the Ha ling Peak that overlooks Canmore. His injured calf hurt on the uphill part (he had to stop lots to shake it out), but not so much going down. Looks like he is on the mend!! Noticed this sign! looks like they are free of this invasive plant 🙂

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I was moving at a good speed, but there were a lot of uphill sections that slowed me down. I was having a lot of issues shifting my gears and at one point the chain got entangled. I managed to fix it (note to self: pack up rubber gloves next time!)

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Distance to Calgary (…getting there!)

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No more mountains and it got dark and ominous.

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Thought this was an interesting sign (imagine an aircraft on speaker, I assume a helicopter, hovering behind your car saying you’re getting a ticket!)

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One more Calgary sign

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The last hour, it started pouring rain 😦  then there was headwind making the rain spit into my face harder that it actually hurt. Imagine going uphill, rain spitting in your face hard, trucks roaring by and splashing you with even more water and the wind  blowing against you! Nice last hour 😦 It was brutal to say the least. There was one bright moment. A car went by with bicycles attached to the back and they cheered me on loudly with their hands waving out the window to keep going! I was on an uphill part and they were probably just encouraging me up it – however, what they didn’t realize was that I was on the home stretch of a 12 day epic cycling trip from Victoria to Calgary and that they inadvertently were cheering for so much more. They made my day! Thank you strangers!! Finally a sign welcoming me to Calgary!! Shawn had stopped the car just ahead of it and had walked to it in the pouring rain to take a photo of me next to it (very sweet!). The first photo is me taking a selfie.

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I could have carried on to the city center, but it was really dumping rain at this point. I called it a day. It was 7.30pm, I’d been on my bicycle since 8.40am. Long day. I’d done 162 kms. I was elated to have made it! Such an epic unforgettable trip!

Day 11 (June 17 2014) Field BC to Lake Louise AB

Got up, had some breakfast and Shawn drove me and my bicycle back to Field BC so I could do that last 25kms to Lake Louise. This is my idea of a “rest” day. 😉 Shawn gave me a banana, filled up my Marmot water hydration pack and I was on my way. DSC09889

I started at the visitor centre and it was flat for about 2 kms or so, then came the grueling uphill ! I had to take a ton of breaks to catch my breath. The views all around me were spectacular so the hard work was rewarded well. Here is what I saw along my way:

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The last 5-10kms into Lake Louise was downhill which was really nice after the first 13kms or so of going uphill. I got up to 40kms an hour in this downhill section (a far cry from my 6kms/hr going uphill!)

It was a good short ride today, will rest for the remainder of the day. Tomorrow I ride to Canmore AB or….carry on to Calgary depending on how quickly I am moving. This is the home stretch now.

 

 

Day 10 (June 16 2014) Golden to Field BC

It was raining this morning. Shawn and I slowly gathered our stuff, packed up the car and headed off to find breakfast. We found a great little place in quaint Golden BC.

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By the time we were done it was 11.30am and the weather appeared to have somewhat cleared up. I had a decision to make, I could take a much needed full day off for a rest day, or get on my bicycle and keep going. The waitress had said that getting to Field wouldn’t be too bad and that there was a lot of flat and downhill. She’d emphasized the tough part would be between Field and Lake Louise. So, I got on my bicycle and decided that I’d have a shortish day and at least make Field which was about 57 kms away.

Turns out the waitress was wrong (why do I keep listening to motorists? They really don’t pay attention to the grade of a road or have a clue what cycling the road might be like) While there was some flat and downhill it turned out to be mostly uphill. I started around 11.30am and got to Field at around 5pm if that gives you any idea. Part of it was likely fatigue cause I haven’t really rested much, but it was definitely the uphill terrain too! I pretty much dragged myself through today. Shawn was awesome, he met me part way to check on me and give me a banana. He’s been great at making sure I’ve got enough to drink and eat along route.

The first few kilometers out of Golden were scary. Very narrow shoulders on a windy road with trucks blasting by at top speed. There were points where there really wasn’t a shoulder and I’d make a dash for it pedaling like my life depended on it (which it did!)when there was an opening between vehicles.

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The weather seemed to be clearing up some. There was a really cool bridge I rode over. Here is what I saw along the way

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I have seen a number of crosses and memorials along my route these past 10 days, but often I am whizzing by downhill so don’t often get a proper look at them. This one I stopped to look at (it says “In Remembrance of Shaun Raymond Crosby, 9 years old who died at this spot one year ago on November 10th 1988”..) I googled him and he was from Kelowna and his parents were mentioned in newspaper this year as continuing to keep his memory alive at a minor hockey tournament.

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Saw this cool sign!

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More views along route:

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Field BC in sight!! I went straight to the visitor centre and this awesome parks staffer put a fire on for me to get warm (the weather had not stayed dry, it had drizzled so I was cold)

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While at the visitor center I met a young guy and gal (early 20s?) on bicycles from Montreal who were riding from Vancouver to Montreal. They weren’t too happy that it was going to cost them $27 to stay at a camp site. I agree, that’s pretty expensive – but that’s pretty much what the prices have been for camping in touristy spots. In Hope it had cost me $33 to camp!

Shawn and I put my bicycle in the car, and headed to Lake Louise. We decided to stay at the hostel there. Interesting side note: When I was backpacking Canada 14 years ago, I’d stayed at the very same hostel! The plan is to stay there two nights. Shawn is going to drive me to Field the next day to do the last 25kms from Field BC to Lake Louise (there is going to be some tough uphill but at least it will be a somewhat short day and I can still take a rest for the majority of the day!… I hope…unless those 25kms take me all day that is)

My next full day of riding is Lake Louise to Canmore AB. According to the route elevation, it’s supposed to be an easy day downhill (I’ll believe it when I see it. There has yet to be an easy day so far).

Day 9 (June 15 2014) Revelstoke to Rogers Pass

I was really tired when I woke up. I think the 8 days straight of riding a bicycle is catching up to me. My biking shoes were still soaking wet from the day before, so couldn’t wear them. I had to wear sandals. Looked pretty silly, but better than going bare foot!

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I had some oatmeal, ate a banana and drank a gatorade, and was all set to go! Today the goal was Rogers Pass and then onto Golden. I could tell right off the bat that I was fatigued and not moving well, but I plodded on nonetheless.

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Came across this sign and thought it was pretty funny (never seen one like this before). What does it mean? Mountain goat may be balancing on a rock so be on a lookout?

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See this sign a bunch of times, always fun to know that you are in the line of fire from falling rocks!

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Came across Walter, who is riding from Calgary to San Francisco. Shawn, said he drove past him later on and he was unfortunately on the side of the road changing his tire.

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Some of the views on the way up

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Then came across the dreaded tunnels!! Apparently, the goal is to pedal as quickly as you can through these things. Shawn drove right behind me slowly to make doubly sure I made it through these tunnels (thank you Shawn!!)

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I had 20kms to go to get to Rogers Pass after these tunnels. Here are some of the views along route:

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It was a long uphill to get to Rogers Pass. I was really happy to get there. It took me 5 1/2 hours to do 66kms from Revelstoke.

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What was left? 84kms to Golden…. pretty much all downhill. Who would work their butt off biking uphill for hours and not reap the reward of sitting on their bum and doing close to nothing all the way down? Me! 🙂  I decided to call it a day. Shawn has an injured calf, and we figured he’d probably be ok going downhill, so he put on my helmet and got on my bicycle and headed through a few more tunnels (much longer and scarier than the ones I went through) going 63kms/hr. I drove behind him to ensure he didn’t get run over by the crazy fast trucks on this road! He seemed to have a blast. A part of me feels guilty that I didn’t ride the rest of the way to Golden, but when it started dumping rain shortly afterwards, I felt better about the decision. Riding downhill in pouring rain was not safe.

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If I’d had all my gear with me, there is no chance I’d have made it from Revelstoke to Golden in one shot. It would have likely taken me 7-8 hours at least just to get to Rogers Pass, in which case I would have found some spot along route close to the top to camp.

Shawn and I drove to Golden, next I will ride on to Lake Louise (hope the weather clears!)

Day 8 (June 14 2014) Vernon to Revelstoke

Just before I took off, Shawn noticed that my back tire was half flat, he took a closer look and found a staple in it which he pulled out. a Hissing of air followed as the rest of the tire deflated.It was 8am and I had a long day ahead, so either I changed the tube (slowly cause I’m not particularly quick with these type of things), or Shawn did. Went with Shawn! And he did it in 20 mins! Thanks Shawn 🙂

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I took the 97 North out of Vernon and then the 97 A which took me to Armstrong, Enderby and Sicamous. The weather was nice, loved the scenery along route. Beautiful farm land!

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About 10kms from Sicamous, my eye caught something on my right and then loud barking, two large black dogs with spikey collars were running in hot pursuit. It was clear they were not friendlies, all teeth and very fast! One of them was just about beside me and I had two choices 1) stop my bicycle take out my bear spray and spray them or 2) pedal as hard as I could to out run them. I just so happened to be going downhill so I chose 2) and pedalled for my life! I was terrified. I managed to get away. Scary.

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Finally Sicamous! Stopped here for a wrap and some fries. Shawn had hung around here to make sure I was ok.

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Sicamous is where Hwy 1 meets the 97A. I turned right onto Hwy 1. I was happy to see a wider shoulder (though it wasn’t particularly smooth in parts). Still had a ways to go to get to Revelstoke

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Came across Hans who was going in the opposite direction to Vancouver. He told me Rogers Pass (coming up the next day for me) was brutal. He had everything on his bicycle (gear etc.) and he’s been going since Washington DC!

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Shortly after I met Hans, it started to rain. Not a drizzle either. Imagine riding your bicycle and having someone pour continuous buckets of water on your head for hours. I could have called Shawn to pick me up (and I probably should have), but I told myself it was just rain and I wasn’t going to melt! It was not a fun experience at all riding in that type of rain. People going by in cars were waving or honking. Probably felt sorry for me!

When I got to a bridge over a creek, I noticed there was no bike lane. So I looked behind me – saw no cars for a distance (it was a bendy road so, couldn’t see too far) and started pedalling across, I looked in my mirror and what do I see? A HUGE truck barreling towards me at top speed. I had nowhere to go, I was half way across the bridge. I pedalled as fast as I could. When I got to the other side, I got onto the shoulder and stopped – panting, out of breath. I was terrified. Got to another similar bridge some time later, it happened again! Got caught in the middle of the bridge with a massive truck on my tail. Pedalled for my life once again! It was not a good experience. Basically, these bridges are Russian Roulette for cyclists.

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I was so so happy to see the sign that I was in Revelstoke! I was freezing cold, shivering and dripping wet. My shoes were swimming pools. It was 7.30pm. I’d been riding since 8.40am. I’d done 140kms.

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The idea of finding a camp site (it was still pouring rain) in the state I was in, did not appeal. Shawn had found an awesome reasonably priced hostel (thank you Shawn!!!)

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Tomorrow is another crazy long day (Rogers Pass). The problem is – there are tunnels to go through and from what I read they’re exactly like those bridges I encountered today. When you get to them you’re supposed to look to see if there are cars/trucks coming and pedal hard to get through them before you get taken out! Will have to figure out a game plan to not have to do this. Cycling from Victoria to Calgary should not mean playing Russian Roulette. It’s one thing riding in a bike lane/shoulder and another entirely riding directly in the line of fire. I may ask Shawn to pick me up and drive me through those tunnels. Have to also figure out whether I’m heading to Golden right away or trying to wait out the rain.

Today was by far the most challenging day on my morale than any other.