Ok, day two, here we go. A bit sunburnt and dehydrated from yesterday with some tender bits where we sit, but it is going to be a good one. First though, enjoyed some luxuries of RV camping. After a great night sleep in warm beds we woke to blue sky, birds chirping and breakfast egg sandwiches being cooked on the stove. What a sensational start, or so we thought.
If you have missed part 1 of 4, click here to get all caught up.
Getting organized took a bit longer than we had planned so by nearly 10:00 we finally set out. Fully loaded this time with all the supplies we need for the remainder of the trip. Our original plan was to bike a longer day and make it all the way past Rhone, Beaverdell, Carmi and have a peaceful night sleep at Arlington lakes. Today was a new day though and we were not off to a wonderful start. After saying goodbye we set out. Only 200 m in we noticed the skies had changed to grey and there were a few drops of rain falling. Another 2.3 km we had make it to Westbridge and found ourselves hiding under the KVR message board as the precipitation was a bit more than we would like to be peddling in.
Thoughts of turning back may or may not have entered all our minds at this point. 10 minutes passed and we chose to push on. As we continue to follow the west side of the river bank, the path was constantly changing. Dirt to crushed rock then large boulders. From wide solid paths to grassy double track to narrow single track. Progress was slow, rain was falling and body parts were aching. We shortly came across our first major obstacle of the day, a creek. Bruce had attempted to ride through but found the river bottom was littered with large stones and he was forced to lose control and put his foot in the water. I chose a more collected route. After putting on my sandals and detaching the trailer, Bruce and I pushed the bike across then returned for the Croozer. Shannon carried the girls across and we lifted the Croozer. The river was a touch too deep and the girls would have been taking on a lot more than just rain water.
8 kms in for the day we arrived at Rhone and were pleasantly welcomed with a paved road section for smooth easy riding. After making up a good bit of time we shortly crossed the bridge to the rivers east side where we veer back onto the original rocky trail.
As the rain came and went, so did the kilometres. The mountain view was now heavily treed with spontaneous clearings and astonishing views of the West Kettle River. You see where the centuries of water had worn on some of the canyon walls and left their mark. After numerous unorthodox stops for snacks, lunch, water and rain shelter we peer down to one of the swimming holes that Shannon and I have relaxed in in the past. It was so much simpler to get there with the trucks but so much more appreciated to get there by bike. After a small hello to fellow cyclers heading south we continued on.
Spirits were getting low now. We were all soaked to the bone, cold, soar, tired and frustrated, Excluding the girls as they were nice and dry in their Croozer. As we got closer and closer to Beaverdell thoughts of turning back would come and go. The trail was not overly hard but was not quite what we were mentally prepared for. This better make for some amazing type 2 fun when we look back on this months in the future. We came across old rock falls that required us to get off our bikes and hop the trailer left and right to make the corner. There were man made barriers where we were forced to detach the trailer and lift it over head in order to get past. The trail in its current condition was perfect for the normal bike packing groups, but our overall length and width was our hurdle once again. One of the saving graces was the that every time we had to stop, the girls would get out and giggle and laugh their way down the trail as they ran ahead of us. They were forced to be along for the ride and were making the best of it. You can’t help but smile at moments like that.
Eventually we had make it to Beaverdell. We new at this point that we were not going to make it all the way to Arlington Lakes. The plan now…. push on. After a slight jog around an old barn with some fancy new electrical equipment then the remnants of an abandoned tailings pile we got into the rhythm and steady chugged away with our peddles turning. The rain had stopped and looked like the sky was clearing. The incline grade was getting a touch steeper and we were getting further away from the river and into the trees. The trail is easily accessed now by quads, dirt bikes and side by sides so ruts, sand, puddles, bumps, dips and rocks are now working against us. As the girls bounced their way towards Carmi we stopped at the old sign post and message board. Just next to it was a rather creepy shed with dozens of stuffed bunnies nailed to the side. We were all secretly hoping to find an amazing place to set up camp for the night, but for sure not near these rabbits, we wanted a bit of distance from them. By now Shannon was monitoring the GPS and kept our motivation up. Bruce was really starting to feel some pain as he should have been recovering from a previous biking injury a couple weeks back. With our daytime high being only 17 degrees Celsius and the late afternoon starting to turn to early evening, the cold was starting to set in. As Shannon and the girls cheered us on we slowly rounded the corner and crossed the Wilkinson Creek bridge at 6:00.
The last bit of sun was shining on a grassy meadow as is opened up to the perfect camping spot complete with a make shift bench, fire pit and convenient creek access. 8 hours after we set off, with 300 metre elevation gain over 52 kms we finally reached our stopping point for the night.
Bruce and I built a fire and set up camp while Shannon started on dinner for all of us. The girls, well, they ran around, collected sticks and pine cones and explored the forest. Once our bellies were full of butter chicken, rice and naan bread, the dishes were tidied up and water was replenished, we enjoyed a peaceful evening next to the fire. We shared stories of today and experiences in the past. Lidija and Bexley are always excited when the tent is pitched and they seem to get their second wind as they jump and bounce off the walls. As the evening cooled down and the light faded to the darkness all five of us were quickly asleep and set to recover from the days activities. And what a day it was.
To read day 3 of the KVR click HERE!