Monday, September 5, 2016

Day 3--A Virtual Wall on the Way to British Columbia, and Some Great Divide Route Magic

We left Lower Lake Campground about 15 minutes earlier than yesterday. Today would be our first crossing of the Continental Divide at Elk Pass. First, we had to get there. The climb was only about 5 miles, but according to the map, we would come to a "virtual wall". Sure enough, not long after we got back on the dirt, we came to a really steep hill. I made it about 1/8 of the way up before I couldn't go any further. Connor made it about 1/4 of the way. Derik made it the whole way (I swear, if mountain goats could ride bikes, I'd say Derik was part mountain goat! We have yet to go up anything that he has had to walk). Both Derik and Connor came back to help me push MC up the hill. I think if I didn't have them, I'd probably have to unload some stuff, haul it up, and come back for MC! But, that was just the first of the hills I couldn't ride. There was one more. Again the guys came and helped me. Here's a photo (not a good one, my glove is in the picture) from the top of the second hill.
We were following a power line to the top of the Pass for much of the time. 
Again, not a great photo. The lens kept getting moisture on it.

We finally made it to the top of Elk Pass. There was even a picnic table. However, no sign for the Pass. There was a sign for people coming the other way welcoming them to Peter Lougheed National Park. 
And a gate. Both mine and Derik's bikes fit under the gate. Connor's did not. Of course he made it under. This was also the boundary of Alberta and Bristish Columbia. So, now we are in BC!

Although there were a few more ups, the route trended down for the rest of the day. Coming off the Pass was pretty steep and gnarly. Someone had tried to drive a vehicle up there, and left their bumper behind. After the main descent we came to a road where the mountains views were pretty great.
That's glacier up there.

About 13 miles in, we came to the Tobermary Cabin. It's a first come first served cabin in the Tobermary Recreation Site. There we met the nicest man. He was staying there a couple of days to scout for elk. Stan was Polish. He came over to where we were sitting at a picnic table and asked us if we wanted anything. He had a stove and could heat up water for tea. Derik took him up on it. He also had made a mushroom sort of soup with mushrooms he had picked in the woods. We all had some (even Connor). It was delicious! Stan also cut up a pear, gave us slices of pig fat, gave us apples, and a sausage! I told Connor this must be what we would call Great Divide Route Magic (on the PCT they call it trail magic). 
The cabin from the picnic table.
Stan and I

The rest of the road was pretty good, and it was sunny! At one point we saw a bunch of horses grazing on the side of the road.

We were going to stay at Blue Lake primitive campground, but Derik checked it out, and there was no water. The lake was really low for some reason. So, we continued for another 6.5 miles to an informal campsite along the river. Free night of camping! It's great here. Easy enough to get water from the river. Across the river we think there is a coal mine.there are lots of lights, and Elkford, the town we will get to tomorrow was built because of coal mining.

Okay, so I am writing this in my tent. There are some bow hunters camped nearby. They just returned to their camp and are running a chainsaw. It's 9:45pm...great...

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