Our first bike-packing adventure: Jumpingpound Ridge

We’d been hoping to get out on a few overnight trips this summer, but our options had been limited by the flooding in June. Thankfully Kananaskis had finally opened up a little, and so we set on Jumpingpound Ridge as a likely destination.

Here’s my faithful steed all kitted out for the ride. Thermarest strapped under saddle, all our sleeping gear strapped onto handlebars (with some dodgy home-made straps we knocked up). Extra water carrying capacity on front fork. We both wore hydrapacks to carry our spare clothes/extra layers plus a few other bits and pieces.

After unloading and packing at the Dawson Recreation Area, it was off down the Powderface Trail – closed to public vehicles at the moment, as it’s being used by Shell while their usual access road is still inaccessible post-flood. It made for a rather pleasant ride, as there were hardly any vehicles driving past and creating huge lung-coating dust clouds. As a result we could actually enjoy the wildflowers and small animals hopping about the place, squeaking furiously at us.

There were a few new bridges along the road though, it hadn’t escaped the flooding unscathed – here you can see the old bridge off to the right:

After our quiet gradual uphill along the road, we turned to the east, and started climbing up the Jumpingpound Summit Trail. It’s the shortest path to the summit, and also the easiest.

Nontheless, some pushing was required. The Moosling was booted out of the trailer and helped push Papa up the hill.

We had dinner on the ridge, just below the summit – just some pasta combined with dehydrated meals. Not fancy, but nice and warm.

And we did a little rock climbing.

As we ate, the weather had started to get a little wild. The wind was picking up, and there was rain threatening from the west. We beat a hasty retreat down into the trees, and set up camp in time to be rained on for a while. The shower was short-lived, and we emerged from our tent to a rainbow!

After a little exploration, and hanging-of-the-food-so-bears-don’t-eat-it-or-us, we retreated to the tent for the night and tried to get some sleep.

It wasn’t the best night we’ve had in the tent, but we were warm enough, and all got some sleep at least. The following morning dawned cool and sunny, and we emerged from our warm shelter and pushed back up to the trail.

From there it was just some picture-perfect ridge riding for a while…

And then a wonderfully fun descent, totally rideable for Alex with the trailer even, as we turned down the Jumpingpound Trail rather than riding up Cox Hill (as tempted as I was).

To regain the road we had to ford the mighty river, as the old pedestrian bridge was still out. Thankfully it wasn’t terribly mighty, and it was actually quite easy to ride across.

And from there it was largely downhill back to the car, hoorah!

Total trip distance: 33km (Day 1: 18km, Day 2: 15km)
Total elevation gain: 860m (807m of that on Day 1)
More details: We started and finished at the Dawson Recreation/Camping Area, where the Cox Hill trail joins the road. The road is currently closed to public vehicles beyond that point.

The bike-packing with toddler packing list:
General camping/food
Tarp Tent Rainshadow 2
Down quilt (home made, sleeps 3)
Sleeping bag liners x 2
enLIGHTened equipment ProtegeX Quilt (for the toddler – ended up being used largely by me, to maintain some level of warmth when I was kicked off my thermarest and out from under the quilt)
Prolite Thermarests x 2
Pot, lid, spandongles
Super light fancy stove plus cannister
Sporks x 2, plastic spoon
Insect repellant (completely pointless, would not bring again)
First aid kid (one for injury, one for comfort – including TP)
9 litres of water (ended up being overkill, but it was forecast to be warm, and there’s no water at all where we were camping)
Headlamps (we just used our Ayups, which double as bike lights quite nicely)
Dinner (2 packets of dehy meals, and a ziplock with pasta)
Snacks and breakfast
We both brought enough clothes to wear overnight and keep warm (I was longing for a down sweater, glad I had buff and toque), with spare knicks, socks and underpants.

Unwarranted technology
iPod (for listening to audiobooks for half the night, when kicked off thermarest by restive toddler)
EOS 7D Camera
Garmin Forerunner 305 (GPS watch – Alex had his GPS)
Spot tracker

For the toddler
Diapers
Wipes in ziplock
Plastic bag
Hat
Spare t-shirt
Fleece top
Fleece pants
Thermal pants
Socks

5 thoughts on “Our first bike-packing adventure: Jumpingpound Ridge”

  1. Sounds like a great little trip! I’m hoping to get in one short bikepacking trip before the snow comes – do you have a map of the route you took? Sounds like a nice scenic ride without too much grunting (at least not for K-country).

  2. After a bit of looking into the route I understand where you’ve gone – no map needed! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  3. Kudos to you for getting out there as a family! I too am looking into our first bikepacking adventure as a family of three and I’m also looking at the TT Rainshadow2. It seems like one of the best options for low-weight, fits 3, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Any thoughts on how it’s holding up? Since we wouldn’t have trekking poles with us, do you think the standard tent-style poles will work?

    1. The Tarptent is holding up really well so far – and we just use tent-style poles with it normally too, as we’re usually cycling. The main downside I’ve found with ours is that it’s kind of low at the sides, so when it’s raining, you don’t have as much space as you think you would, as you have to huddle in towards the centre a bit. (And sorry about the delay in replying!)

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