A tad cooler as the night fell but sleeping in your tent in the wilderness is always soothing, especially when you can hear the creek as you doze off. Day three now, let the fun begin again, beautiful morning and nothing will take this away from us, or so we thought.
After a strong feed of warm porridge and bagels with peanut butter we were ready to take on the day. We discussed a new game plan on making today more productive and enjoyable. We decided on organized breaks, and stopping for a warm lunch at Arlington Lakes for a good relax off the saddles. We were hoping that this would keep the momentum and motivation high so we could enjoy our time more behind the bars. The sky was slightly overcast as we packed our tents and cleaned our site to better than how we found it. A bit of a slow start but we got the wheels turning just before 10. Today was going to be a shorter day than yesterday but the incline was slightly more. As we climbed we noticed the side slopes were getting steeper and you couldn’t help but imagine all the manual effort that went into constructing this section of the trail. The amount of blasting and relocating of rock to create a flat section wide enough for the tracks would be tiresome. Then all the fill that had to be relocated to build up the low bit so you didn’t lose any precious elevation must have be exhausting. I know for sure, a better man than me built this line. The KVR was completed in 1915 joining BC’s Southern Interior with the CPR Line in the Lower Mainland. The sole purpose was to create a means of moving materials and the precious metals being mined so that USA would not infiltrate the market. BC wanted its share of the profits. Chief Engineer Andrew McCullough had his work cut out for him. This line took 20 years to complete, costed over 20 million dollars and was the most challenging work that he had been involved with.
Our discussed game plan seemed to be working very well. We had the usual hick ups as the rocky trail had us off the bikes and pushing. There were a few situations as well where we had to stop to manually manipulate the trailer as the rocks down the centre were higher than the clearance of the Croozer. By now as we looked through some of the clearings we were looking down onto Highway 33 below and watching the cars go by. The girls sat in the back, laughed and played while we were rewarded with the mountain scenery. Just after 1:00 we had made it 23 kms and arrived at Arlington Lakes. This is an amazing recreation site with camping and day use areas complete with picnic tables and pit toilets. There is a host that takes very good care of the area as you can see with its cleanliness. As we started in on our lunch time spread under the views of Big White, the girls raced around and chased the chipmunks. Our spirits were high. After an hour of relaxing and sharing trail data on fellow TCT cyclers we headed back on the trail.
This is where the things started to go down hill, and I am not talking about the path. I am undecided if it was the elevation gain or the introduction of a new valley, but something brought the rain. It was back. By now the temperature had to be in the single digits. We could feel the rain water running down our legs and filling our shoes. I am not entirely sure what the terrain or scenery resembled at this point but all we did was push on. We kept the girls warm with extra clothes and our heads down with hoods overtop. By now Bruce’s pulled leg muscles were throbbing and he was forced to use the electric assist to limit any further damage. Our fingers were frozen and teeth nearly chattering. We passed signs for Idabel Lake Resort and the turn off back down to the highway. We had to be close. Some how we pushed on with another 20 kms after lunch and lifted our heads at the sign for Hydraulic Lake.
What a relief it was. As we slugged our way through the campground we located a spot near the back that had a large tree that provided some shelter over a picnic table. There was a handful of RV’s in the park but everyone was hiding inside, I imagine with a blanket and warm cup of something amazing. Just as the reality of how wet and cold we actually were set in the rain faded off. Bruce met with the campground host and bought some fire wood as Shannon started to cook some dinner and I set up the sleeping arrangements. The girls, well, they were now in their one piece rain suits, racing around collecting sticks and pine cones then tossing them in the fire; nothing could upset them.
With a large plate of spaghetti dinner, some hot chocolate and shoes drying by the fire, things were starting to look up. Our body temperatures were climbing, and our down jackets were a life saver. As the night began to fall, Bruce and I went down to the lake for dishes and a water refill. We noticed that the clouds had parted and we could actually see the stars shining down on us. That day had already turned into a type 2 moment for me. I think Bruce may need a bit more time though. As we stashed away our food and got nestled back into our sleeping bags you can’t help but get a real sense of accomplishment with things like this. It is these types of adventures that I truly enjoy, the type that leave you smiling as you close your eyes and drift off asleep.
To enjoy day 4 of our KVR journey click HERE!