DAY 101 – EUREKA TO BAYNES LAKE, CANADA
START: 10:00 – FINISH: 16:30 (13/06/15)
DISTANCE: 51 KM – RIDE TIME: 2H 52
I only had to cycle 14 km this morning before I reached the US/Canada border. I found it strange that you don’t have to pass US customs on the way out. I wanted to make sure they knew I had left so there won’t be any problems next time. I actually backtracked to US Custom Arrivals and was told don’t worry the Canadians will sort it out. I got back in the queue for Canada. The Canadian Customs were good. They called me out of the queue and opened up a new counter for me. Passing the border was easy. No paperwork and only a few questions. I had to ask to get stamped in – otherwise they weren’t too worried. Crossing the border, it is the first time I have been to British Colombia and the first time back to Canada in 11 years.
I only had to cycle another 36 km till I got to tonight’s “Warm Showers” hosts, Karen and Dwight who have a little spot down by a lake.
DAY 102 – BAYNES LAKE TO FORT STEELE
START: 9:15 – FINISH: 16:00 (14/06/15)
DISTANCE: 81 KM – RIDE TIME: 4H 38
Ever since I started to research this trip, I have been stressing and worrying about what I am going to do, to stay safe while camping in bear country. I am worrying even more as everyone I speak to has told me to be really careful!
I am really nervous to say the least.
This now is the real deal. Tonight I won’t be able to reach the safety of a town, so I will be sleeping in the woods. I bought some beer spray earlier this week and it has now come out of its packet. I hope I never have to use it. I need to carry it with me at all times.
In Eureka I went to the hardware store to buy a 15 metre rope so at night time I can hoist all my food at least 3 metres off the ground. From talking to people, I have been advised to cook food 50 metres away from where the tent is and hang your food in a tree 20 metres away as well.
The guy at the hardware store said you should put some mothballs around your campsite to help deter bears. So I bought some. I am willing to try anything. It’s not just food that has to go in a tree – lip balm, toothpaste, deodorants and sunscreen need to go up as well.
In the early afternoon, I pulled into a rest area and cooked my dinner with the intention of then cycling on a few kilometres and camping. I did cook and afterwards I got my tarp out and had a bit of a sleep on the grass. It was such a nice rest area with a lake and big mountains in the background. The weather suddenly changed and it looked like a storm was fast approaching as the mountains disappeared. So I quickly set my tent up just in case. Thankfully the sun came back out and the rain didn’t arrive. Shortly after this, a local lady came by. We talked and she invited me back to her place on the other side of the lake for coffee and cake. Fern’s son is currently cycling across Canada and she was interested by my story.
Shortly after I returned to my camp I was visited by Nina, a cycling tourist from Germany. It is nice to have some company and I invited her to camp with me.
DAY 103 – FORT STEELE TO LUSSIER HOT SPRING
START: 10:00 – FINISH: 19:30 (15/06/15)
DISTANCE: 77 KM – RIDE TIME: 5H 18
I had planned to do only 150 km in the next two days. So it wasn’t super important to have an early start. I had arranged to have breakfast with Nina before I left. It wasn’t till 9 a.m. that she appeared. Over breakfast my plans have now changed. We are both heading in the same direction and have decided we will cycle together for 5 or 6 days. We are also going to make a detour to some natural hot spring up in the mountains.
At 10 a.m. we got underway. At about 5 p.m. we reached the turn-off for Lussier Hot Springs. 17 km up hill on a dirt logging road. It was hot, sunny and dusty but very pretty. We reached the hot spring around 7 p.m. Since they were fairly busy, we decided to cook our dinner. Just as we were about to go down to the hot pools, we were asked if we planned to camp here tonight. It was the original plan however we were advised not to as we would be moved on at 7 a.m. when someone from the park comes to clean the pool. This wouldn’t suit Nina as she is not an early riser. The person did suggest the old abandoned campground just 1 km up the road. They even kindly drove me down there so I could have a look beforehand. It was perfect down by the river in a clearing and far enough away from the road.
It was a 50 metre walk down from the road to the pools that ranged from boiling hot to freezing cold. The pools were right on the river surrounded by steep forest mountains. It was very nice relaxing in the hot pools. We only had to share with one other couple from Calgary.
We couldn’t relax for too long as we had to move on and set up our camp.
We made it just in time to get the tents up and hoist our food out of the way from the bears before it got too dark.
DAY 104 – LUSSIER HOT SPRING TO COLUMBIA RIDGE
DAY 105 – REST DAY
START: 9:00 – FINISH: 16:30 (16/06/15)
DISTANCE: 38 KM – RIDE TIME: 2H 46
It was freezing cold waking up in the bottom of the valley.
The sun never arrived till 8:30 a.m. We had some breakfast and headed straight back to the hot pools for a few hours.
The ride out was good – 90% downhill.
I had arranged a “Warm Showers” stay with Dona and Dave for yesterday. They kindly let me change days and to bring Nina as well. After we got back to the highway it was only another 21 km. After 1 km on the way out we got caught in a good downpour. We were going to camp however we were kindly offered the use of the basement. The rain cleared and we all went for a walk down to Columbia Lake. On our return we sat out on the deck and had a lovely meal prepared for us by Dona.
The rain returned in the morning and we are now staying another night.
DAY 106 COLUMBIA RIDGE TO MCLAUD MEADOWS
START 8:30 FINISH 20:00 (18/06/15)
DISTANCE 84KM RIDE TIME 5H55
Today Nina and I are heading for Kootenay National Park
We took a very nice back road up to Invermere.
As usually just 1km from town the sky’s opened up and we got slightly drenched. We had a few hours in Invermere, cheeking out the thrift store, supermarket shopping and a visit to Kicking horse coffee. Well known coffee brad here in BC.
After lunch we cycled up to Radium, a real resort town with its thermal pools. We got some very helpful information at the park office and soon after we entered Kootenay and started a steep climb up towards Sinclair Pass.We had the sun on our backs and on mountians on either side.
On the way up we stopped to see a canyon with gushing water and we saw the resorttie looking Radium Springs hot pools from the road. Just over the pass was Oliver Lake………..very turquise looking. There was a reward for the long climb with a 11km no need to pedal down hill that then came out on to the flats and we cycled beside the Kootenay river in a wide open valley. We found Mcloud Meadows camp ground and scouted around the closed gate. This camp ground doesn’t officially open for another 8 days.
So we had the whole camp ground to ourselves.
We found a spot by the river and cloce to the camp kitchen.
Things went a little pear shape when I snaped one of my tent poles.
I made some repairs and tried again and it snaped again in a another two places…………so after just 3 months that tent is done. I rigged it up the best I could with some rope to hold the tent up. Then the tain came and it was just looking ugaly. So I was going to relocate to the camp kitchen. Luckey I’m with Nina and she has some room for me.
After a few atempts we got a good camp fire going dispite the rain, which kindly stopped long enough for us to cook some dinner as well. Pasta with some of the fresh produce we got from Dona and Dave.
With my broken tent pole I am stressing a bit. Not sure if I will have to cycle south to Banff or even have to ditch the bike and hitch 160km to Calgary to find a replacment tent. You could say I am not a happy camper.
DAY 107 MCLAUD MEADOWS TO MARBLE CANYON
START 12:00 FINISH 19:00 (19/06/15)
DISTANCE 63KM RIDE TIME 4H16
Nina is certianly not a early riser and nothing happens in a hurry.
With some morning rain we had a good excuse. The mountians were hidded by cloud. Close by was a swing bridge over the Kootenay river. So we took a walk over before we left.
Our map shows another camp ground 60km away on the otherside of the park. We are banking this campground will be closed as well and we will be able to get in. Good thing about them been closed is that we save $21 and another $8.50 for the fire permit. We pretty much stopped at every, rest area, viewing point or historic plauque along the way. At one point we were stoped talking to a Couple. When it started to chuck it down. They kindly cleared some space on there back seat of there ute and we joined them for a nice picnic of Bread, chease and salami. Small world we ran into them again in Lake Louise.
Marble Canyon Campground didn’t disapoint. We lifted the chain and scouted under. Cycled over the bridge and again we had the camp ground all to ourselves. We set up camp near the camp kitchen. We had another camp fire. Its been really cold at night. Nina has been heating up rocks and taking them to bed with her.
DAY 108 MARBLE CANYON TO LAKE LOUISE
START 9:30 FINISH 1900 (20/06/15)
DISTANCE 51KM RIDE TIME 3H51
There’s no Beers in Canada.
I was told it was going to be a sure thing. Would defintly see lots of beers while cycling the 100km through the Kootney National Park. After two days cycling and camping in the park we haven’t seen any.
It was a really cold morning with a bitterly icece cold wind.
After a few upward km’s we left British Columbia and crossed in to Aberta. It all so marked the crossing of the conternential divide.
It feels like a bit of a waste having cycled East for the past two days. Going for the more senic route to Jasper through the Ice Fields. So I am sure it will be well worth it.
We came across the Storm mountian lodge. It drew us in for a coffee by the warm open fire.
At the bottom of the mountian I had to decide weather to turn right for Banff or left for Lake Lousie and the direction of Jasper.
I went left. Just as well.
We arrived at Lake Louise a very Touriste and resort town. No mucking around
Withen 20 mins I had found the out doors shop and had a new tent.
Nina and I have now gone our own ways after cycling together for the past
7 days. We had a good time and I enjoyed the company. Nina has gone on to Field to join the school bus.I asked a Parks Canada person where to camp for free and was kindly given directions to a nice spot just 5km inside the park off the road and down by a stream.
I had trouble putting my new tent up. I couldn’t belive how complcated it could be. We got there in the end, after reading the instructions many times and looking at the silly picture. My new $350.00 Marmot tent is much bigger and the colour is a little to be desired. Bright orange doesn’;t give you much chance of hiding. I am getting better of hoisting my food up into the tree. Once it goes up it stays there and I go hungary if I get hunger pains later in the evening as it is to much of a hastle to get down.
DAY 109 LAKE LOUISE TO SILVERHORN
START 13:00 FINISH 17:15 (21/06/15)
DISTANCE 60KM RIDE TIME 3H54
It was hosing down with rain this morning. So I stayed put till 10am.
Don’t really want to be cycling 233km up the Icefeilds Parkway to Jasper if everything is covered in Cloud. As of tomorrow we are in for a good week of weather.
With the cloud lifting I headed out of Lake Louise just after 1pm with the plan to cycle 55km up to the first camp site which is hopefuly closed. As soon as I entered Banff National Park I had to invest in a Park Pass. Two days for $20.
The first 30km was all up hill on New sealed road. So it was nice to cycle on. I was stopping every 5 min to take pictures becouse the senery was so great. Glaciers every where and snow capped mountians, Glacier lakes and green forests. I came across a Park ranger. She stoped me and said a bear had been spotted on the side of the road eating and to just be aware. I cycled on and the bear must have smelt me coming because just as I cycled past I could see this big black thing running off in to the woods. Withen 10 minutes I came across a car stopped on the side of the road. I pulled up to the passanger window and asked what are you looking at. She replyed there a big bear behind you and its cub is just on the other side of that ditch. I replied £$“£$………….I better keep going and I didn’t hang around.
The climb to Bow pass was rewarded with a good down hill to end the day.
I found the campground which was closed……….scouted round the gate and found a nice sunny spot for my tent over looking a small pond and a view out to the snowey mountians and another glacier. I cooked a harty pasta meal and started a camp fire as well. Once the sun left it was frezzing cold.
DAY 110 SILVERHORN TO JONAS CREEK
START 9:00 FINISH 18:20 (22/06/15)
DISTANCE 103KM RIDE TIME 6H24
It must have gone below zero in the night because there was a light frost on the tent. I got up at 7:20am. Because it was so cold I started the fire again and boiled up a brew. I could see the sun shining on the tops of the mountains. It was another half an hour before we got any. I waited for a bit of sun to try and dry the tent out. It produced a Stunning reflection of the mountains in the small pond. The morning ride started with a great down hill to Saskatchewan crossing. A tourist stop off with Pub, Restaurant and accommodation. The further into the ice field, the glaciers are just getting bigger and better.
After 50km it was a tough steep climb, not at all helped by the wind up to the 2000 meters Sunwapta pass and start of the Columbia Ice Fields and some of big boys (stars of the show) like Athabasca Glacier. I called in to the Ice centre which was just crazy with tourists.
DAY 111 JONAS CREEK TO JASPER
START 6:30 FINISH 10:25 (23/06/15)
DISTANCE 78KM RIDE TIME 3H39
I really blitzed the ride to Jasper this morning. I was determined to get up early. It was freezing cold and I had to get the woollen gloves out. The first 30km was in the shade of the mountains. It was beautiful light shining on the tops. It helped that a good part was down hill following the river.
I was glad to arrive early to give my self time to have a look around before pushing off West towards Prince George tomorrow. Im glad it is early in the season because Jasper was busy enough. Lots of hotels, Lodges, gift shops and other touristy things.
DAY 112 JASPER TO DUNSTEN
DAY 113 DUNSTEN REST DAY
START 8:00 FINISH 5:30 (24/06/15)
DISTANCE 142 KM RIDE TIME 6H37
Going up the Yellowhead pass I passed an upturned tralier unit lieing in a ditch. The unlucky driver had put his wheals off the edge and it was all over. Shortly after the pass we left Alberta and crossed back into British Columbia. I stopped in the rest area and meet two cyclists from the U.S.
Laura and Bob were having breakfest and invited me for coffee. Turns out we will both be staying with the same host tomorrow.
Shortly after I left Bob and Laura. I came across a few stopped cars.
On the opasite side of the road. It was awesome, a huge grizzle bear and her cub passing through a small meadow eatting the grass and not taking any notice of the onlookers. I stopped and took a few photos. It was pretty exciting. The bears were happy and I felt safe.
Here is a link to the video
I stopped at Mt Robsion for lunch. Discovered we had, gained a hour with a time change. I had a good lunch break and then the rain came so I had to stay a little longer. Once the rain cleared I pushed on over the Robsion pass and then on to Dunster.
I turned up at my Warm Showers hosts Bonie and Curtis who are retired and have a small farm, with some sheep, Gease,pecoks, Ginneyfoul, and Rosters. They have some unic acomadation for there guests. I got to sleep in a old wagon used by sheep drivers. It was kitted out with all old stuff.
No shower in the wagon. Curtis set me up a camp shower.
Just as well I am having a rest day tomorrow as I arrived on Wiskey Wendnesday. A local couple Kim and Ken came over for dinner. BBQ chicken, Pork chops, Sweat potatoe and salad. It was after midnight before we finished.
DAY 114 DUNSTER TO LA SALLE LAKE
START 11:00 FINISH 17:45 (26/06/15)
DISTANCE 81KM RIDE TIME 4H35
It was difacult to leave such a nice place this morning. Bonnie and Curtis filled us up with Pancakes and after a very relaxed morning we finaly got away at 11:00am. It would have been nice to have stayed for Dunsters famous icecream social on Sat. It atracts 600 people as far as 250km away.
I am going to cycle at least the first part of the day with Bob and Laura. 36Km up the road was McBride. Last town before Prince George another 210 km away. We stoped for lunch at the Farmers market. There is a big Meninite population here. The weather is starting to heat up into the high 20’s.
We left the vally and started to climb up into the mountians.From high up on an embankment we saw a black Bear and when it saw us it turned and bounded away.
Bob and Laura had planned to camp at La Salle lake. I decided I would join them. It ment I will have to get up early tomorrow for the 170km to Prince George. We found a nice spot close to the lake edge. We had a swim and afterwards we got a camp fire going.
DAY 115 LA SALLE LAKE TO PRINCE GEORGE
Day 116 PRINCE GEORGE REST DAY
START 5:45 FINISH 17:45 (27/06/15)
DISTANCE 170KM RIDE TIME 9H28
It is light here at 4am………..so when I woke up.I jumped up in a bit of a rush. It was a loverly morning. I wanted to make the most of it. I was rolling by 6am. Not long after I started I was flying down a hill when I say a dark object on the road. I soon realised it was a Black Bear. I had to stop and wait as it wondered up the road before crossing into the bush. I then cycled slowly past.
At 8am I stopped for morning tea at a rest area. I meet some people there who were going hiking before heading to the Dunster Icecream social. They gave me some fresh strawbies.
I spent all day crossing the mountians, going up, going down. I made good time. I stopped at 12:30 at Purden lake for lunch having done 100km. By now it was pretty hot. I got into Prince George around 5pm. A town of 70 000. This will be the largest town before reaching FairBanks, Alaska.
First impresions. I could see 3 Pulp and paper mills billowing smoke, A large river with a nice long Iron Railway bridge . There is deffintly an industrial feel. I have a warm showers host Rob tonight. After Tea, He took me over to the park and I got to test an old can of Bear Spray he had.
Been a Sunday the bike shop was closed so today I relocated to the other side of town to another warm showers host Karl. He already had a guest, Another cyclist, Herbert from Germany.
Interesting patch work covering a tree outside city hall
First thing Monday I took the bike into the shop for a tune up. For peace of mind I got a new Cassette, chain and had both wheals trued. $150 later I was pretty pleased with the work done. Will start heading North with some confidence. Bob and Laura have arrived in town and I meet up with them for lunch. We went to a restaurant that served endless fries. I ended up having 3 extra bowels.
Karl works in the forestry industry, but is also involved with a community radio station.
This evening Herbert and I joined Karl on his show and we talked about our respective journeys in between songs by local Canadian artists.
DAY 118 PRINCE GEORGE TO VANDERHOOF
START 8:00 FINISH 16:40 (30/06/15)
DISTANCE 111KM RIDE TIME 6H22
I arranged to meet Laura and Bob this morning. They were only just staying around the corner. I will cycle with them today. Then I will leave them as I am in a hurry to get to Smithers. There is a Mid Summer music festival this weekend. I found out about it from Deidre my warm showers host. She suggested I might like to volunteer for a few hours and you then get a free ticket. So I contacted the festival organisers and I am now down to help for 4 hours on Friday directing campers.
High Way 16 out of Prince George has turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Lots of traffic. Logging trucks in particular The hard shoulder has been non existent or otherwise in very poor condition and all the hills havent made it any more fun.
The stretch of High Way between PG and Smithers passes through a lot of first nation Reservations. The Reservations don’t seem to be that big.
John and Jalinka are Dutch and live just out side of town in an awesome log cabin overlooking some Yellow Crape seed fields and the river.
I had a really nice evening with them. They had a supper dupa Massage chair and I had two sessions. It was so relaxing.
DAY 119 VANDERHOOF TO BURNS LAKE
START 7:30 FINISH 17:30 (01/07/15)
DISTANCE 137KM RIDE TIME 8H11
Happy Canada day………..today is Canada’s national holiday and a day off for most………..except for me it will be a normal cycling day. As I cycled out of Vanderhoof I could see them setting up for the celebrations later in the day.
I cycled in to Fraser Lake just in time to see the Canada day parade circulating the park. A mixture of colourful floats. I pulled in to have a look. Lots of other things were happening as well. Face painting, a stage with live music, Pony rides, carriage ride pulled by huge working horses.
I spoke to a local and he suggested I get in the queue for the free BBQ lunch.
Put on by the local saw mill. This whole area is Forestry. I passed one of the largest mills in the world earlier in the day. The trucks pass me all the time. I was happy to be at the front of the queue, so only had a short wait.
Afterwards their was no queue for desert. Ice cream and cake.
I stayed for a few hours. Then I had to push on. I meet two cyclists from Germany. They recommended a free camping spot in Burns Lake. Right on the lake. When I got down to the lake………..there was a few young first nations drinking in the bushes. So I flagged putting up my tent there.
It is so terrible to stereo type………but the simple fact of what I saw in Burns lake was a number native Americans wondering along the main road while under the influence. It did make me feel a little un easy. I talked to some locals and they said it would be fine. So later I returned to the lake to put up my tent. It was such a nice evening I left the fly off.
I had no trouble that evening.
DAY 120 BURNS LAKE TO SMITHERS
DAY 121 REST DAY
START 8:15 FINISH 18:30 (02/07/15)
DISTANCE 147KM RIDE TIME 8H26
I have put myself under a bit of pressure today needing to do nearly 150km to get to Smithers. I should have started earlier and there’s no excuse because it is light at 4am. I was still a bit tired from the day before.
I was happy for another glorious day to go with the beautiful scenery.
Lots of nice lakes with mountain back drop with spots of snow on top. I am riding in a valley. It is far from flat. The morning ride was a little easier. I stopped at a couple of nice rest areas along the way. I had lunch in Housten As the day went on it got hotter and hotter and I had a few good climbs. Getting up high I could see a lot more snow caped mountains and great views of the valley and wondering why the road wasn’t down there and not cycling on the flat.
The wind came up in the afternoon and cycling into that just drains you.
I was glad to reach Smithers. My warm shower host Deidre a school teacher lives right down town. She made us some very nice Pizza with a salad.
the music festival to help out.
It was pretty cruse directing traffic for a few hours to get my free pass.
There was 3 stages and we just floated between then. It was a real mixture, Folk, drums, punk, country and techno.
Lots of food stalls and other venders selling crafts were on offer as well.
DAY 124 SMITHERS TO HAZELTON
START 8:00 FINISH 14:30 (06/07/15)
DISTANCE 76KM RIDE TIME 3H55
After 4 nights in Smithers I am well rested. Bob and Laura arrived in town on Saturday and after seeing them at the festival yesterday I will cycle with them again for today and tomorrow. I left Smithers with food hanging off the bike from every where. There is only a few small shops before the long stretch up to Dease Lake.
So I was gutted when I discovered I had lost a bag of avocados which I had tired on the back.
We stopped at Moricetown for morning tea and from high up on the road we could look down into the gorge and watch a first Nation fishermen with a big net catching big salmon as they came up the water fall. It was a really nice days cycling, not to long. Lots of up and down. Only short climbs at a time. We passed a big glacier and some other big mountains. It was hot and sunny. Perfect for cycling.
At New Hazelton we turned off High way 16 and Headed down to Old Hazelton.
We had to cross over a single lane surspenion bridge crossing the gorge, 100 meters above the water. The sides were not very high and I cycled straight down the middle. The surface of the bridge was only steal mesh and you could see the water below.
Tonight Bob and Laura kindly let me join then on there camp site at Ksan, a first nation camp site.
We went for a walk into the old town. Starting by walking along the bank beside the fast flowing river. In town were some old building and old machrine left over from the Gold rush and logging days. By the river were a few Eagles hunting for fish.
DAY 125 HAZELTON TO KITAWANGA
START 9:00 FINISH 15:00 (07/07/15)
DISTANCE 64KM RIDE TIME 3H32
There is currently a total camp fire ban. With the hot and sweltering weather there are many fires burning in BC.
This morning the we woke to find the mountains covered in haze.
Not going far today so we had time at Seelay Lake for a nice swim.
In Kitawanga we set up camp in a small rest area with a toilet and nice shelter.
Today was the last day I will cycle with Bob and Laura. Tomorrow I will start cycling up the Stewart-Cassiar High Way towards White Horse in the Yukon and the others will continue to Prince Ruepert.