Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Over the Hills and Further Away".... The Chilcotin rematch...



I'd be lying if I didn't say completing this trip was all I thought about for the past twelve months. After all it was exactly one year ago on our annual multi day South Chilcotin ride I took one of the worst crashes of my life and seriously injured my left knee among other parts of my body. I spend a good part of my year adventuring and playing deep in the fabulous mountain ranges of the world but the August B.C. Day long week-end ride is typically the pinnacle of the year. Celebrating B.C. Day means more than just "British Columbia Day", to me it represents "Back-Country Day"! This past winter I spread the maps out and designed a new six day route that would take us into new and unexplored corners of the South Chilcotin mountains. As always this included valleys and passes where the question "does it go?" would way heavily in our minds. My greatest concern of coarse was my knee and how it would hold up over this distance and strain I would ultimately put on it. One year later it's still far from healed and questions on what action needs to be taken to repair it remain uncertain and surgery is likely. The good news was my three companions would be dialled physiotherapists and I would receive constant care and relief through "on the trail" treatment. Without Danielle, Drey and Palo I'm not sure I would have even attempted this one!


On a beautiful summer evening we arrived at the Tyax Adventure's Tyaughton lake dock and loaded our bikes and supplies into Dale Douglas's trusty de Havilland Beaver floatplane.


The "STOKE" on board was HIGH!


Over Warner Lake, a typical big ride starting point, we were only part way towards our destination....    


Memories of previously shredded single-track could be seen far below....


This difficult to navigate valley would be in our future day's travels....


After another scenic flight our final approach came into view....    





Taseko Lake Beach is by far my favourite camp!


The bonus of an evening flight always includes a first night "plushness" that includes great meals and hoppy beverages. Drey, Palo and Danielle prepared an amazing B.C. dinner....        



It was a spectacular and clear evening as we gazed towards the Caribou region....


Some of the evening's aftermath....






We awoke to a perfect summer morning and once again enjoyed a "plush" breakfast meal prepared by Drey....  
   

With our packs loaded with a week's worth of supplies we set off....


Along the way Palo considered an amputation but backed out at the last moment.    


Our route traveled through a valley with some of B.C.'s historic mining evidence....  


So cool to think about the men that called this place home and read some notes they left for us to find....  


Dynamite detonation box....


Killer design and construction still standing tall today....




The first five hours involved some challenges but was scenic nevertheless....


After a long day we began to break treelike....


And our evening resort presented itself....





I voted this to be the best alpine clothes line in B.C. that week-end....




Last light of the day was special....



To change things up the next day we decided to go light and day trip off our high 2000m camp and explore a new zone to us.  



Mt Vic at over 3000m was nearby....  


As was the lofty and rugged Taseko Mountain....


The unknown valley....



Lot's of alpine shredding to be had....


A first for me was actually riding the entire time with a set of knee pads "just in case". I picked up a set of IXS flow pads which were surprisingly comfortable and pedal-able in all conditions and didn't hinder my ride! Not to mention my shiny new IXS Trail RS helmet....                





After a long day we dropped into a very fine piece of flowy single track. It didn't disappoint!    




Later in the day we had a "Sound of Music" moment....



One of my trip highlights to this point was watching a mother duck raise her family of six little ones on this stunning alpine lake. I'd give anything to call this my summer home....      


We were up the next morning before sunrise to get a start on what would be our biggest day....  







The above seven photos were all shot within 45 minutes of the day's ride. This is an amazing place!  


Our next 12kms of downhillish trail presented itself....


After another five hours or so we entered a more familiar area.... Little Graveyard Creek.  


At this point in the trip I realized the use of my One Up Components 44T X-cog Sprocket was making a HUGE difference on this ride. Paired up with One Up's 28T Sram direct mount front chainring it eased the pressure on my knee and allowed me to keep pedalling as apposed to the usual and regular small pushes typical with bigger packs. Literally a "game changer" in my world....              



Another beautiful afternoon as we moved through this historic valley....


The next part of the adventure was interesting to say the least. At a not too far distance we spotted a pair of large grizzlies who looked to be Marmot hunting.  


I've never seen them follow single track but it's obvious they do with the constant tracks we encounter on these rides.    



These two bears were not afraid of us and didn't waiver as I fired a couple of bangers when they got a little too close. They spent two hours mimiking our route in two separate valleys and finally broke away as we set off on a third valley....      



Mt. Sheba's Tits....


Late in the day we went through an area I like to call fossil pass. So many cool prehistoric marine environment pieces here....        


I wasn't too sure what I had here so I consulted Tim at Trail Ventures BC as he's an expert and regular traveller of the area. He filled me in that this was actually a piece of a fossil and is called a belemnite which is a prehistoric squid! The overall age of these fossils is somewhere between 90 - 250 million years so some of these creatures lived during the time of the dinosaurs!


Many Bivalves in this area as well....





This area is a feast for the eyes with so many unique textures and bright colours! I could stare at these slopes for days....  




Some more and long juicy pieces of single-track were in our near future!


We celebrated the last light of this 12 hour day in the saddle with some "after dark" riding ahead of us....  





We spent a Blue Moon night celebrating Palo's Birthday. Drey actually baked a cake at our camp! Very impressive....


The next morning we set off for another high pass. As we neared the coast range and Gun Creek the effects of the nearby Boulder Creek wildfire were upon us. All day we could smell the smoke and the bluebird sky turned to milkbird.       



This is a tough descent to beat.... 


So scenic....



After a very long day in the saddle we set up another high camp. We were rewarded with a 2 hour show watching a large family of goats take in the last light of the day.        



The next morning we rolled up high trail to Windy Pass and took the standard Lick Creek descent passing through Eldorado Basin. This is one of the most common Chilcotin rides and offers up some of the best single-track in the world!


And one more classic shot of the Lick Creek alpine berms before our final approach into Tyaughton Lake.

                                               
After six glorious days in the mountains with not a single bike or body mechanical we reveled in the success of another big British Columbia / Back-Country ride! Long live Long Rides!   

3 comments:

  1. Way too many adjectives I could write here about your spectacularly awesome adventure. Well done!

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  2. Cheers Ina, Thanks very much for the kind words.... Not quite finished the blog write up. Stand by....

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  3. Epic. So Epic. Amazing adventure. Thanks for sharing...I really enjoy your trips and photos...

    ReplyDelete