The rain was gone by morning, so we were able to pack up. There was even some sun! Packing is taking awhile at this point. In large part because we are in bear country. Because of that, Connor has to take more of the bags off his bike, especially the dry bags he has on the Salsa cages. They are a pain to get back on. So, we didn't get going until 10:00.
We continued on the road the campground was on (nice--no backtracking). As we were stopped for a moment, a ranger drove by. She told us they are making a new route. By next year, the way we're going today will be closed to bikes. They are working with ACA, as they will have to print a new map for the Canada section.
At the end of the road we passed through a gate. Now there would be no cars. We went along the edge of Spray Lake for quite awhile.
Pretty good road.
Mountains, mountains, and more mountains!
The map said there was a section of rocks that they advised walking the bikes through. Well, when I got to it, I thought, I've got big tires, I can make it! Yeah, not so much. Well, actually, I made it through most of it. Then, because of all the weight on the front, I got stuck, and tipped over. I might not have fallen all the way to the ground if I'd been able to unclipped my right foot faster. I hit my knee and elbow on the rocks. Skinned my knee a little, but it's okay. I walked the rest of the way (really, only about 10 feet).
We came to the dam at the end of the lake. We had to ride across the dam, then go down a steep hill of rock which we all managed to ride (even though, once again, the map said to walk). There was a washout at the bottom and we had to ride through the bumpy grass to go around it. Then we had to climb back up an equally steep hill. Derik was able to impressively ride up. Connor and I, not so much. Again Connor helped me push MC up the hill.
Behind Connor, just in front of those two boulders, is where the trail dropped down. Those boulders look small, but that's because they are far away.
From the top of that hill, we were on an old decommissioned fire road. Sometimes it was more of a singletrack. At the bridge over Torrent Creek, the guys were waiting for me. There was a waterfall that we could just barely see. There was a trail that went up the side. We left the bikes, and hiked up the trail.
The creek was a series of waterfalls. It was spectacular!
The first one
The pool at the top of the first one
Stair stepping falls.
We were there!
Connor climbing around on the rocks. I asked him it it was a little nerve wracking for him hiking on the rocks in his bike shoes. He said yes.
We hiked back down, and decided to pull out some lunch.
It was nice a sunny, but by the time we left, I was still wearing my long finger gloves.
Continuing on, I was behind again, but really enjoying the ride.
More trail like, than road.
Maybe this is Shark Mountain. Quite honestly, there seemed to be lots of Shark Mountains. In fact, you could say there was a school of Shark Mountains!
We encountered more climbing. At on point, I came around a curve, and all I could see of Connor's bike were his wheels, upside down off the side of the trail. Then Connor pops up. I asked him how far down he had fallen. Fortunately, not far. I pushed MC up the hill.
The next bit of fun-ness was a series of mud puddles with a bunch of slippery roots thrown in. I had gotten off and walked around one. Just before another one, I got back on. I decided to ride through it. Half way through I slipped on a submerged root and MC tipped over. This time, I managed to get my foot out of the pedal and yanked MC back upright before her panniers could get too wet and muddy. My left foot, however, was not so lucky. Thankfully, I did a little hopping dance and didn't completely submerge my foot. I had a nice swath of mud on my leg warmer to add to the enjoyment. For most of the rest of the puddles/mud pits, I scootered around them, still on the bike, with one foot on the dry side.
To get away from the muddy section, we had to climb up a massive hill. I made it part way, but then had to get off and push. The guys had gone ahead, so I pushed up this one by myself. Take 25 steps, then rest the arms. Twenty five more steps, rest. And so on, until I could get back on. It was still climbing, and my thighs were on fire. About then, the guys came walking back down. Derik pushed me while I rode up the hill. I still had to take another break. That. Was. Hard.
The next bit was really fun on cross country ski trail. It was quite the roller coaster. The trail popped out to a trailhead parking lot. There, we stopped at a picnic table for a good break in the sunshine. The table was placed just downwind of the potty shack which made for a less than pleasant aroma mixed with the mountain air.
From the parking lot, we were on a large gravel road. It climbed for quite awhile, then we came down back to Smith-Dorian Rd. Smith-Dorian is like a backcountry highway, very wide, and quite a bit of traffic. The dust wasn't too bad though. Even though it was still climbing, it seemed flat. I felt like I was flying up the hill (okay, 8 mph, but after going so slow that seems like flying)!
The guys up ahead.
Finally, we had some good downhill. There were a few rollers, but mostly down. For a rare change, I was ahead of the guys. When I came to a little bit bigger hill, Derik caught up to me and said the jellybeans I had eaten must have given me wings. I told him, I'm just good at downhill. Connor had dropped further behind, and this time I was the one waiting for him! His butt was really beginning to feel the effects of sitting in the saddle. He took some ibuprofen, turned on his music, and we continued on.
Even on this road, the scenery was beautiful.
Downhill (and a bit of dust from some cars)
We finished on a paved bike path along Kananaskis Rd. The bike path had its own share of hills, but at least it was smooth.
We stopped at Boulton Creek Trading Post in hopes of dinner. Sadly, no restaurant. We just bought some food to eat there. I had a muffin and some juice. Derik had a can of chili and a cheese stick. Connor had a pizza sandwich (he said, "Yep, tastes like pizza."). They had showers there, but the gal in the trading post said the Lower Lake campground was only "200m" further. We decided we would get to the campground, then walk back for showers. Well, the entrance may have only been about 200m, but the campground itself was way down the hill. Needless to say, we didn't take showers.
We're in the closest site to the entrance. The potty shack is a long walk. The bear lockers are an even longer walk. Still, all our food is there (you're not even allowed to dump grey water at the water faucet--it has to be dumped down the vault toilet). We'll have to trek down to get it in the morning.
It's cold, but as long as it's not raining, it's okay.