The last day was a bit of a blur – it was forecast to start raining around lunchtime, so I wanted to get a move on. The way my gps line told me to go through to Fernie had a logging sign saying private property, so I tried going down and around the way I’d come through on the Kootenay Gravel Grinder in 2016. But it turns out that now too had active logging going on. As it was a Saturday, it wasn’t an issue, but I wouldn’t want to try and make the connection during working hours. As I … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 (Corbin Mine Road – Fernie)
Another frosty morning, I hit the road by 9am and didn’t see a single logging truck. There wasn’t much traffic at all for the first few hours, as I slowly climbed and climbed. I’d started out just 26km from the end of the haul road, which means I was nearly at the Crowsnest Highway, and in Coleman. Loose gravel and corrugations. I watched the landscape pass me by, admiring the bright yellows, and thinking that this was a great time of year to ride this route. If I ever ride the Alberta Rockies 700, maybe I’d do a weekday ITT … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 (Racehorse Creek – Corbin Mine Rd)
My accommodations were wonderfully comfortable and warm, but by the time 9am rolled around, I decided I’d really probably had enough time lying in bed. Traffic had been whirring past occasionally for an hour or two, but no-one came into my little picnic area. I breakfasted in my bivy and slowly packed up. By the time I’d re-filled my bottles in the creek and was ready to go it was 10am. It might have been getting on in the morning, but everything was still covered in frost, and the sun was only just above the mountains. The road … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 (Cataract Creek – Racehorse Creek)
I woke slowly at dawn, lying there listening to podcasts and waiting for the sun to come up above the mountains before peeking out of my bivy to see everything was covered in frost. So it was cold! I hopped up and found somewhere to lie my sleeping bag and bivy out in the sun, letting them dry a little at least. When I set off from Canmore I hadn’t been entirely sure where I’d go, or how far I’d be able to get. Wildfires were still burning, narrowing my options. My body was unreliable, also narrowing my options. But … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 (Kananaskis Lakes – Cataract Creek)
This was a bit of an impromptu adventure. I had vacation time to spare, but hadn’t had the energy to do anything with it earlier in the year. But the weekend bikepack out to Elk Lakes hadn’t actually felt too bad; sure I’d felt weak, and had to push up the hills, but I could keep going. And I didn’t have anything in particular going on at work in the coming week. So I turned up on Monday just to ask if I could disappear for the rest of the week… sure? Excellent. Tuesday morning was spent packing (which always … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 – Day 1
Last minute trips are the best trips! We got an invite to bikepack out to Elk Lakes, and who could say no to that? We’d been kind of planning to hike Arethusa Cirque with Tanya on the Saturday morning. But it had snowed a lot, and hiking motivation wasn’t high. I struggle more with hiking than biking, and the boy wasn’t in a hiking mood. So rather than fight that, we decided to keep it short, and get to the trailhead for the bike trip. It was a bit chilly – the forecast had been threatening snow, or maybe freezing … Continue reading Elk Lakes overnighter
The forecast for the Bikepack Canada Summit overnighter wasn’t exactly looking optimal – and that’s even with the summit being shifted back a month closer to summer. The forecast threatened a day of riding in snow, and a possible overnight low of -10oC. Given that it’d been sitting above 25oC for most of the last few weeks, it seemed a bit rude. Nontheless, eleven happy riders and Jeff showed up to the start, enthusiastic to be getting out riding their bikes. Jeff was a bit worried about a repeat of the freezing cold snow camping temperatures we’d experienced in February, … Continue reading Bikepack Canada Summit overnighter
A post that was split into two not because I have so much story to tell, but because there are so many photos it was getting a little overwhelming. Before everyone started heading off on their separate ways, we got some photos. Chris and Jeremy and their daughters had arrived at dusk last night, having made it through on the Big Elbow side of the loop. The kids were absolute troopers, and were all set to head back via the Little Elbow side today. The one hiking family set off back via Elbow Lake, and the rest of us set … Continue reading Bikepack.ca family overnighter: Part II
A tentative booking of Tombstone campground earlier in the year turned into a crew of seven families heading out to the campground, one way or another. In hindsight it might not have been the best option for a big family trip – the idea had been that it’s ideally placed for quick access from the Elbow Lake side, but in reality that side isn’t great for bikepacking, and access from the other side means a longer day for small kids. Oh well! Everyone needs an epic every now and again. A few of us started from the Little Elbow campground … Continue reading Bikepack.ca family overnighter: Part I
Thanks to the excellent Tanya at Canadian Rockies Family Adventures I won a stay in the Mount Engadine yurt! I might have a thing for yurts. I’ve spent more time than strictly necessary browsing yurt websites and looking at photos on pinterest. I’ve only stayed in one once before though, in Bend, Oregon. Winter yurting was a bit of a different experience – this yurt is tucked away 100 metres or so past the rest of the Mount Engadine lodge accommodation. A little packed snowy trail winds through the trees and deposits you at the little yurt. The outside was … Continue reading It’s yurterrific!
Bound to leave for a visit to Australia, I wanted to get in one last good ride before we left. Was it Felix who came up with the plan to ride this route? I can’t remember now. But we set off around 8.30 on Sunday morning, up the pass, and towards the High Rockies trail. I’d been dreaming of trying to ride the further south section, beyond Buller. Sadly the recent snowfall gazumped that plan. But we still thought we may as well see how far we could get. Seeing how far we could get seemed to involve quite a … Continue reading One last ride for the season!
After saying goodbye to the others, we set off towards North Buller Pass. First, back over the bridge and up along that strip of snow that angles into the creek – none of us fell in. Back up and over the huge snow patches *trudge trudge trudge* I even let the boy have the camera to get a photo of us. Wandering across to North Buller pass is a route rather than a path. We spread out and picked our way across the tussocky grass, before reaching… what’s this? Yet more snow! Thankfully it was fairly easy to cross, although … Continue reading Out from Ribbon Lake via North Buller Pass
Camping at Ribbon Lake was another cunning plan of Tanya’s, come to fruition while my mother was visiting. A bunch of us had booked camping sites up at Ribbon Lake, and four families gathered in the parking lot to hike in together. The Ribbon Creek bridge is much further away when you’re hiking instead of riding the High Rockies trail. There were four kids along in our group hiking in. All good little hikers, but enjoying the stops to check out the river and throw rocks into them. Our lunch stop was at the scenic circular waterfall. After a break … Continue reading Ribbon Lake camping
Mostly about the photos this time round, because I’ve kind of already given the rundown of the High Rockies trail. We stopped and had a picnic lunch at our favourite mossy spot. There were a lot of stops to play. And then also stops where I jumped out and went to take photos of everyone else, then dropped my lens cap in the waterfall and made the wise decision not to jump into the waterfall to rescue it. Some bike swap action happened. The conclusion was that the boy still fits in his Singletrailer, but noone wants to pull him. … Continue reading Family High Rockies ride
This is as much of a warning as anything. Do this ride if you’re up for some old-school mountain bike suffering, Kananaskis style. Glory at the deadfall you have to lift your bike over, revel in the fall line climbs, exalt at the loose fall line descents. It’s all even better if you do it on a warm day, underestimate how long it will take, and don’t bring enough water. We started from the based of Powderface Ridge, rode up Ford Knoll then along Ford Creek – this took a long time, and involved being beaten by a large amount … Continue reading Thank you Sir, may I have another!
Picking hikes in spring is always a bit tricky. Trails have started to dry, snow has kind of melted – but there are still snow patches and ices lurking about the place. It was really a bit too early to try hiking Pigeon Mountain. Based on what you could see from the road, Alex was convinced it would be dry – I was a little more dubious, but figured a little snow wouldn’t kill us. We set off fairly late – it was afternoon by the time we started hiking. The day was sunny and warm, but slightly unsettled. I … Continue reading Pigeon Mountain
With a knee that was starting to feel a lot better, I decided to make the most of having a whole Sunday to play. First up was a ski at the Nordic Centre, where conditions were surprisingly pleasant – although would certainly have been better if I was skate skiing. The main plan was to keep Miles company as he hit 1000km of skiing for the season. Next up was loading the fat bike, and then waiting for the road up the pass to clear of crashed vehicles (it had been an icy morning). A few centimetres of fresh snow … Continue reading The return of adventure Sundays
This was the first example of Instagram making me do something I would not otherwise have done. Because I kept seeing photos popping up of people hiking up Prairie Mountain, and beautiful mountain-filled shots with the Canadian flag at the summit cairn. And so when we were trying to come up with a run to do, I suggested Prairie Mountain. The reports I’d read had led me to suspect a fairly dry trail. This was a lie! The trail was dry low down, but then a good solid sheet of ice for a good while. We scampered about back and … Continue reading Prairie Mountain
So, the Prairie View – Jewel loop is definitely fun in winter. Particularly when riding with someone who doesn’t have studded tyres, and they’re squealing as they keep losing traction. No photos of the trail, as we were too busy riding. On the way up it was just solid work. Then on the way down it was just solid fun… or making sure we didn’t wipe out on ice. The descent from Prairie View summit down to the Jewel Pass turnoff was more fun than ever, and we were whooping as we soared through the trees. There’s nothing like packed … Continue reading Prairie View – Jewel Pass
Hiking adventure! West Wind Pass is just 5km return, but a nice taste of Kananaskis hiking. You get some of the views, and none of the scree. Perfect for flat-landers who still don’t have the hang of hikes with huge elevation gain, and perfect for boys who are declaring loudly to all and sundry that they don’t want to go up a mountain, and they just want to play minecraft/lego. We had a short picnic session at the pass, re-enacted the scene from the Lion King (I’m very tempted to borrow another baby and come up and try this another … Continue reading West Wind Pass