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Monthly Archives: June 2007

It rained during the night yet again. There is hardly a day when there isnt some amount of rain in the evening or morning it seems. I was on the road by 9 with a good tail wind over flat ground until I hit the edge of Jasper Park.

I’m finally out of the rockies and into the Alberta foothills. This should mean there are no more big climbs for quite a while. I made it to Hinton for lunch and found a nice picnic table in front of the Tim Hortons. Before getting back on the road I picked up a small box of timbits for a snack later.

I got to Obed Lake Provincial Park by around 3 and setup in the last available site. There were only 7 so I was lucky. I was surprised to see the price was $10 at this self-registration site (lots of them around here) because the Alberta camping guide said it would only be $5. The camp site seems to be located here primarily for people who come to the lake to fish for the weekend since that is what most of the other people there were doing. I wanted to go for a swim but it was starting to get cloudy and colder again.

While sitting at the picnic table reading before cooking dinner a squirrel climbed onto one of my food panniers sitting on the picnic table. It barely moved as I shooed it away which I had to do repeatedly.

Distance 108.0km
Time 4:12
Max Speed 64km/h
Odometer 1323km

It was another cold morning and I had to have an early start to avoid being caught not paying. In the first hour or two I saw very few cars on the road, and most of them were heading south. It stayed cold for quite a while as the sun wouldn’t come out from behind a cloud until the afternoon.

At the top of one small climb there was a huge gathering of mountain goats at the side of the road (and almost as many people stopped to take pictures). I took a couple pictures and moved on so I could get to Jasper early. Before getting to Jasper I met another cyclist who came across the road to talk to me (he was out on a day trip from Jasper) and was so impressed with my trip that he wanted to take a picture of me and my bike.

By noon I was in Jasper and treated myself to a burger and an ice cream cone (it had finally gotten warm out). From there I went to the public library to use the internet where I was charged $2.50/30min. I didn’t expect a library to charge but I guess it makes sense since it is a bit of a vacation town and they don’t want everyone in there using it for free.

I stopped to get groceries before heading the 16km from the town center to the nearest campsite. After getting there, I met James in the next site over who was biking from somewhere in Ontario to Prince Rupert and then taking the ferry down the coast. We talked for a while about a number of things including biking and comp-sci as he had also just graduated (from Waterloo).

The weather is getting warmer and hopefully it will stay this way…

Distance 99.6km
Time 4:02
Max Speed 54km/h
Odometer 1214km

It had been a cold night and I stayed in my tent a little late and got on the road by 9:30. After 40 minutes I was already at Saskatchewan Crossing and stopped for a snack. Lunch was another 20km later at the Coleman Creek picnic area where a couple tour buses unloaded for lunch as well.

Next was a very hard climb up to Sunwapta Pass which is almost as high as Bow Pass yesterday. But this one was about 500m of elevation gain in 16km of road. By far the hardest climb I’ve had.

Just past the top was the border to Jasper National Park and shortly after that, the Icefield Center and the Athabasca Glacier which was very much a tourist destination. The parking lot was quite full and inside the center, just as full. I looked at a few exhibits inside and then continued on. It was a long, steep, winding, descent back down several hundred meters of elevation loss.

I continued on to Jonas creek where I discovered that they didn’t have credit card forms for self registration like the previous two campsites and I didn’t have enough cash. I had to stay here anyways (not going back up the big hill to the Icefield Center to get money) so I went up a hill into the walk in tent sites and picked one fairly out of sight so that I might not be discovered as not having paid. I almost got caught when I tried to go down to the creek to wash my dishes and put my food in a bear storage container and saw a Parks Canada person working so I went back to my site for a while.

There had been a lot of other cyclists on the road today, almost all of them heading in the other direction. I guess I wouldn’t see too many heading in the same direction as me if we ride at the same pace. One cyclist had a Canada flag flying from his bike and I wondered if he was heading across the country in the opposite direction.

Distance 98.5km
Time 4:54
Max Speed 62km/h
Odometer 1114km

I got up really late and packed slowly knowing that I had already planned a very short day of riding to the next campground. I tried to make potatoe pancakes but mixed the powder too thick and ended up with something that was more like a gooey, syrupy, semi-fried mashed potatoes (didn’t taste too bad though).

I was on the road by noon and stopped at a couple viewing spots along the way to take pictures of Crowsfoot Glacier and the top of Bow Pass, the highest elevation on my trip. I got to the campsite after 35km of riding and setup pretty early so I could go for a short hike up to the nearby Chepheren Lake (8km round trip). There are mosquitos everywhere at this campsite.

Distance 34.8km
Time 1:38
Max Speed 72km/h
Odometer 1016km

I was out of Golden by 8:40 and up a big hill right away. At the top I almost rode right by a group of big horn sheep at the side of the road until I noticed a truck parked and taking pictures of them. Five minutes later I saw another group of them including some younger ones.

There was lots of climbing to get up into Yoho National Park which then stayed mostly flat until Field. I had lunch at Hoodoo campground in Yoho, though I would barely call it a campground. It was mostly a field with a bunch of numbered picnic tables to setup tents next to.

In Field I went into the visitors center to buy a BC badge/patch. I’m going to try to find one of these for each province. From Field I had to ride up the “Big Hill” which was once the steepest part of the railway at a grade of 4.5%. The railway now takes a figure-8 route through tunnels in the mountains to climb a lower grade.

At the top was Kicking Horse Pass. I hardly realized I had made it until I saw 3 signs at the side of the road. One for entering BC in the opposite direction, another for entering Banff National Park, and a third for entering Alberta. I’ve completed riding through BC.

In Lake Louise I went into another visitors center to ask about campgrounds and was told I would have to pay the park fee even if I were to stay in the city. So I paid the fee, got groceries for the next few days, and started north up the Icefield Parkway to the Mosquito Creek Campground.

Shortly after proping my bike up against a picnic table at the campground, Lacey (from Oregon), came over from the next site and offered me a beer. While taking the beer, a group of large crows came and stole my cheese bread which I had just bought in Lake Louise and hadn’t had a chance to put away yet. After dinner, Lacey and I sat around the campfire with a group of other people from Alberta, talking until about 1am.

Distance 116.6km
Time 6:24
Max Speed 53km/h
Odometer 981km

I decided to take my first rest day in Golden so I didn’t have 2 big mountain passes in 2 days. I woke up late, did some laundry, and had breakfast at the Hostel (some of the largest slices of french toast I’ve ever seen). Before leaving the hostel I used their internet terminal at $2/15min and was annoyed when the power went out half way through writing a post.

I eventually setup camp at the Golden Municipal Campground. It’s not a very quiet campground because you can see the highschool from pretty much every tent site and there is a train just across the river.

I spent the afternoon reading and riding around town taking some pictures. I tried to go to the library there to spend more time on the internet but it was only open 4 days a week and this wasn’t one of them.

Distance 17.7km
Time 1:11
Max Speed 35km/h
Odometer 864km

Knowing that this was going to be a long day I got up at 5:40 and started to get ready. I had breakfast in the entrance to my tent where it was warm and dry (compared to outside after the thunderstorm). I got on the road by 7:45 (a little later than I was trying for).

I took lots of breaks on the way up to Rogers Pass in Revelstoke Mountain and Glacier National Parks including an hour break at the Hemlock Grove Boardwalk and Picnic Area in Glacier where gophers (I think) and a Blue Jay were constantly coming to the table looking for crumbs.

I got to the summit of Rogers Pass by about 1 and took lots of pictures before heading back down. Finally, the slopes that look downhill are actually downhill. The mountains cause a bit of an optical illusion and make me think that certain uphill areas are flat or slightly downhill and it feels like I’m working too hard for what the road looks like. Downhill from Rogers Pass was probably the longest stretch of downhill I’ve ever biked and at high speeds of anywhere from 40 to 74kph.

It was still a long ways to Golden and there were a couple of other (smaller) climbs on the way that I hadn’t expected. I finally got into town by around 7pm (after the time zone change) but took another 30 minutes and 10km of riding to find the Hostel I had booked for the night. It was on 9th St North and my GPS took me to 9th St South (and the hostel map I had didn’t specify north or south).

Once checked in, I immediately had a shower and went wandering around town to find somewhere to get a large dinner (I had hardly eaten much since lunch at 12). After dinner I came back to go to bed. I had booked a bed in a dorm room which ended up being a private room simply because nobody else was booked into the dorm.

Distance 161.3km
Time 7:38
Max Speed 74km/h
Odometer 847km