Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Over the Hills and Far Away....

The plan was another remote multi day South Chilcotin pedal over the August long week-end. There's absolutely no better place to celebrate our surreal backyard on B.C. Day than this unrivaled single-track heaven. Our route would start at Warner Lake via Tyax Air's 's legendary Beaver and move north west out of the park and spend some time deep in the B.C. wilderness. This zone is a very special place. Though relatively close to the popular riding areas of the South Chilcotin Mountains Park, it's location and inaccessibility as a day trip amplifies it's beauty and seclusion.                    

Early Thursday morning we rolled down to the Tyaughton Lake dock to catch the first flight out. I couldn't have asked for a better crew than Danielle, Drey and Mike. We'd all been on these rides before and everyone knew what was involved and how to conduct your business when you move these distances over 5 days unsupported.              

She came into view and the winds were kind enough to let us land....

Another glassy landing in fantasy land....

No matter how many times we come to this place it always overwhelms the senses.

Day one 5 day overnight packs are always a bit alarming to sling over your back first thing in the morning. Over the years I've developed a strange comfort in this ritual and after only about 30 minutes or so I become one with the beast on my back. Don't get me wrong.... our system and gear have lightened up significantly over the years and it's certainly gotten easier. The camera gear however never lightens up.   

After an hour we were on the first and most challenging push of the trip.

Here we get up and close to some ancient ice.

At high noon we were ready for our first long descent....

And spent a good 2 hours milking it. Danielle had a rare and pretty scary day one crash and severely bruised her hand / wrist which made the rest of the day very uncomfortable.

We arrived at Taseko River and iced her hand and body....

Some on route weight training took place....

The next climb was long ,sustained and enters one of my favorite valleys in the world....

One of our goals on this trip was to spend a great deal of time outside South Chilcotin Mountain Park and Big Creek Park and explore some of the most beautiful valley's in B.C.

Drey performed some alpine yoga at 2000m.

Towards the end of a long day we found a perfect night one camp and basked in the setting sun rays.

After some of Mike's legendary ultra strong brew we were on our way amongst the bigger peaks of the area.

After a few hours we made a route decision based on a visual check and were in new territory.

This trip became a bit of a ride.... cool off in alpine tarns tour.

There's nothing better to take the body temperature down on a very hot day!

More route decisions....

A short while into our traverse and I experienced a rare crash myself. On gentle flat terrain I went over the bars with no warning and landed straight on my head then knees. Ahead of the group I laid on my chest and watched a significant amount of blood poor from my forehead while I self checked my neck and back. I was quickly greeted by the group who went into fixing me mode. I had cracked my helmet and both my knees were in bad shape. I played things down as we were in a very remote place and I knew I had to suck this up and move on. I was disappointed in myself and ride at 50% when I'm in these places.          

Our next pass was in sight after another 30 minutes so we made our way North.

Once again we were in for a nice descent and on our way to our next camp. We decided to shorten the day to give my knees and head a rest.

The days dirt was once again washed off and we settled in for a beautiful night.

It would be tough to find a more scenic and pleasant campsite in this area. This photo captures it well.

It was a special night....

We decided to make day 3 a very early 5:00am wake-up and departure of 6:00am for a couple of reasons. I was in pain and needed more time to get to the next camp and the horse flies seemed to wake up at 9:00am and were active between 1900m to 2400m.        

After an hour we reached our first long descent of the day where I realized the severity of my left knee. I was having serious trouble making a full pedal revolution. At this point the camera stayed in my bag as I was not motivated to remember this day and just trying to make the distance.        

After a very long 10 hour day we made it to the golden hills of the South Chilcotin Mountains park and settled in for night 3.  

One of the bonuses of this trip was switching to some seriously good jerky. Black Tusk Jerky is grass fed beef and Sodium Nitrite-Free and only contains the good stuff! And my favorite part.... they are from Squamish! On an educational note.... I learned in Peru this January that jerky is a Quechua (Inca) word for Dried Salted Meat.       

My bike reminded me of Hopworks fine ales.... Mmmmm.

Camp was beautiful but my night was spent getting some first class physio from Drey and Danielle.

Day 4 was a tough day. Probably the toughest day I'd ever ridden in the Chilcotins. I had it in my head that  I would be able to ride out but after 48kms I arrived at Spruce lake and submitted. I pulled out my Delorme In Reach and texted Dale and Emily from Tyax Adventures. The message I got back was "No problem for a Spruce pick-up in about an hour". While we waited these amazing individuals who were staying at the lake handed me a Red Racer IPA. Exactly what I needed.      

When The Beaver arrived Danielle joined me and Mike and Drey made their way out Gun Creek to capture some more single-track.

Upon flying into Tyaughton Lake I was pleased to see how busy Tyax Lodge was and everyone enjoying another beautiful BC day.

Thanks again Tyax Adventures! Yet another reason these guys should remain and be welcome in the park.

3 hours later Mike and Drey arrived. Drey looked better than Mike!

Over the Hills and Far Away seems a fitting title as I write this blog post on Robert Plant's birthday. Another epic trip and an epic Led Zeppelin song rings in the back of my mind. I haven't been motivated to look at the these images and recollect this trip as I'm nursing an injury as a result of it. Nevertheless, it's time to move on. Can't win em all....