Sunday, August 17, 2008

Icefields Parkway/Golden triangle cycling trip photos up!

see here for more trip photos:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sinclair pass and Banff farewell

This view is near the top of Sinclair pass, the sufferfest climb out of Radium Hot Springs on highway 93 (two days ago). While it was modest by norcal standards- about 1800 vertical feet in 11 k- it included several 8 and 10 % portions and this was a slow grind with the 50 pound-plus bike. The view at the top looked out over the Kooteney valley and was quite gorgeous. The trees are dying from a beetle infestation which turns the trees a red-brown color, and thus the mountains have bands of red dying pine trees amid the green living trees. It was striking, but I am not sure you can see it in the picture.

I said farewell to Sue and Bill this morning in Banff. They are riding south to head into Glacier National Park, ultimately ending up in Montana in a couple of weeks. Wow! I am sad to be ending the trip but am looking forward to going home to hang out with Dan and the kitties.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I am here.

The ride into Banff from Marble Canyon campground was one of the easiest of the trip, or perhaps I am finally used to riding with a 50 pound load? The day started with an easy ~600 foot climb up Vermillion Pass (crossing the continental divide), then a sweet descent. I saw two flocks of mountain goats near the bottom of the descent. They were clambering around on a rocky slope which overlooked a river. Then it was easy pedaling to the junction with highway 1A.

After a stop at Castle Mountain to refuel (chocolate! PB&J!), and at Johnson Canyon to hike out to the lower falls and back, I sped onto Banff, making good time on the gentle grades despite the heat. HW 1A is a pretty road and has relatively light traffic (and no big trucks). I passed yet another black bear eating berries and then a pair of bighorn sheep! I made it to Banff pretty early in the day and trudged up the hill to Tunnel Mountain campground, passing some hoodoos on the way up. About 45 miles for the day.

I set up camp, showered and chatted with other cycle tourists in the campground, then Sue and Bill called and I went down to Banff to meet them for dinner in town. Our last meal together as I am flying out tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We are in lovely Redstreak campground in Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, after a wonderful 67 mile ride from Golden. After two cold rainy days, the warm sunny weather today was very welcome. We rode between mountain ranges in the Columbia valley. The river and associated wetlands were visible much of the day and we saw lots of birds including big ospreys. The gentle grades and limited traffic permitted the fastest pace of our tour so far. It almost felt like normal riding!
We stopped at a beekeepers (Beeland, pictured below) across from the above-pictured view of the Bugaboo mountains and ski area.

He gave us a tour of his production facility and we tasted honeys and petted his three kitties. After lunch on his porch (honey! preserves!), we rolled on to Radium Hot Springs where we will hit the hot springs after setting up camp.
To recap the last couple of days: after a morning un-loaded ride up to Moraine Lake, we rode from Lake Louise to Kicking Horse campground (18 miles), in rain on the Transcanada highway. My glasses inconveniently broke on the mountain pass and I had to mend them with electrical tape so I could descend in the driving rain. Sue and Bill had duct tape and I improved the repair job at the campground when they arrived. Amazing stuff, duct tape is.
After a cold rainy night, we rode on to Golden (45 miles) in cold, drizzling rain, with a long stop in the cute Victorian railroad town of Field where we loitered for quite some time in a warm cafe. I had hot chocolate flavored with cardamom. Mmm! We indulged on a motel room in Golden (actually fairly seedy) and woke up nice and dry for today's ride.
Next up-- two days of riding to Banff. I must confess that I am dreading the climbing a bit. We've lost quite a lot of altitude over the last three days and will need to hump back up. Most of the climbing will occur tomorrow as we climb Sinclair Pass first thing in the morning, then gradually climb for about 40 more miles to Marble Canyon Campground.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We are off

Here's where we are going-- the Golden Triangle route. Sue is showing our current location. No
email until thursday or so

Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier

This is the big glacier of the trip, which we hit midway on day 2 of riding. It was fairly spectacular! You can take a bus onto the glacier, but we declined choosing to have an enormous early lunch at the cafeteria in the visitor centre instead. Then we rode onward, happy to leave the crowds behind.

Beauty Creek hostel

Ok, here is the view for real. The water is actually the Athabasca river. I didn't locate the creek itself.

Lake Louise

We rolled into Lake Louise yesterday just in time to dive into our tents and wait out a huge thunderstorm. The storm knocked out the power and is rumored to have triggered a mudslide that closed the road we were planning on taking to Golden.
We've ridden about 140 miles (in doses of 54, 54, and 36 miles) and have completed the spectacular icefields parkway.
This photo is the view from the Beauty Creek hostel, where we stayed for our first night on the icefields parkway. (oops, posted the view of Athabasca Falls. Will post hostel view next). The hostel was charming- no running water and gas lanterns and a shower created by Roger the hostel manager hoisting warm water to the roof and gravity doing its thing. Roger also makes pancakes and we had six different varieties for breakfast.
Which was an awesome start to the day, and we really needed it because we started out with a 1500 foot climb to the first big mountain pass, which included 1.8 miles of steepness. By steepness, I mean an 8-10% average grade with two rumored 12% sections. I practically died with the load and my modest cogs, but pedaled through it at about 45 rpm.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

On the road, kinda

We rode our fully loaded bikes approximately 5 miles out of Jasper (pictured above) to a campground today. We will begin our ride down the Icefields Parkway tomorrow, riding for 3 days or so to Lake Louise. We'll camp or hostel along the way. The days are relatively short, miles-wise, to leave time to stop for the sights along the way or hike when we reach our campsite. I'm pretty happy that the days are short, to be honest, because I am seriously lacking in the gear department. I have a standard triple with a 27 cog in the rear, but was dangerously close to using the granny on the gentle uphill to our campground. I estimate that my bike is about 70 pounds when loaded with gear, food and water. I have a feeling that some grinding is in my future!
I took a nap rather than hiking today, so no grand panoramas were viewed today. I'm shopping now (wine and other necessities have been procured. Wine is not something I thought we'd be carrying on a bike trip but I defer to Sue and Bill's expertise in this regard!). Sue and Bill hiked to the top of one of the local peaks, also served by a gondola.
I'll post again in a couple if days when we have cell coverage again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

End of day photo

Liked this one better than the one in the earlier post.

Jasper riding and we saw bears!!

We did a ride today. Yeah, we rode up winding mountain roads, past an incredibly scenic mountain lake, and even stopped for a hike along a nifty ravine carved by the river. But most importantly, we saw mama bear and two fuzzy cubs eating berries by the road!!!!! I was wildly excited, never having seen black bears before. Bill suggested that he should test out the bear spray on the cubs, but we restrained him (jk).
We ended up with about 45 miles riding, 45 minutes of gentle hiking. I felt somewhat crappy on the bike, still getting used to the feel of my old bike (left new wunderbike at home). The seat was too low, which didn't help. I'll get used to it soon.

Tomorow, we move to a campground, still in Jasper. Hiking is on the

Sue and Bill and luggage

Sue was very eager to get a picture of all of our gear. Bill not so much :). (picture borrowed from Sue's nifty photoset from the trip). I was too tired to read the informational blurb on Jasper's totem pole, so no historical tidbits to share on that.

Today we are off to a test ride (no load), after going to a bike shop to get Sue's wheel trued. It's bright and sunny this morning. I can't wait to ride after two transit days!

Monday, August 4, 2008


We arrived in Jasper via greyhound, along with our copious gear. Pretty! I saw wild animals out of the bus window including mountain goats clambering on a cliff.
We are assembling the bikes now. Mine seems to have survived the trip largely intact.
We will cycle the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff starting in the next day or so. We will likely continue on from Lake Louise through the Golden Triangle: Lake Louise to Golden on the transcanada highway, Golden to Radium Hot Springs on HW 95 and Radium Hot Springs to Banff on HW 93 and HW 1A.

Edmonton sky

Saturday, August 2, 2008

new tent

The furries enjoyed playing inside of the new tent. I put it away when Nadia started pouncing on Mac from the outside of the tent.