Kettle Valley Railway. Day 4 of 4, Hydraulic Lake to June Springs Terminal

As we wake up and start our fourth morning of riding the weather was still looking questionable. Overcast and cool. The campground host mentioned that is was 3 degrees the night prior, and this morning I feel was no different.

If you are just joining in now or missed a day somewhere you can find Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 or wherever you left off here.

Getting out of bed was not overly welcoming as I noticed I could see my breath as I zipped the tent fly closed. Shannon started on boiling water for hot drinks while Bruce tended to a fire and I was packing bags and sorting out gear. After a few cups of hot chocolate were passed around and our remaining breakfast bagels with peanut butter was consumed we all focused our energy on packing up. Luckily over the night we didn’t have any rain so this activity was much more pleasant. Tents were collapsed, kids were bundled, gear was stowed and we were ready to role out. 9:30 this time, our earliest morning yet. As we passed our fellow campers in their trailers and 5th wheels we noticed that everyone was still tucked away and avoiding any discomfort the morning chill was bringing. The first thing you encounter on the trail is a built up section of land just wide enough for the historic train tracks with Hydraulic Lake on either side. As we looked to our left and right we saw the fog rising off the water. Shortly after we were back in the thick forest and forced to navigate our bike and trailer by hand to keep the girls out of the swollen puddles from the day before.

Bruce was trying his best to keep his feet dry so early in the morning and his leg muscle was still chipping away at him. Not even five minutes into the days ride and the weather was already starting to wreak havoc on us. This time the precipitation was is the form of white flakes and would rest on the ground rather than soak in. It was the beginning of June, five days prior you couldn’t keep yourself hydrated in the 36 degree heat and now it was snowing on us. The perfect start to that type 2 fun I love so much. Luckily for the other two it warmed slightly turning the snow into rain and even that lasted only a handful of minutes.

The trail from here was ever so pleasant. Very well maintained, the incline was over and all our spirits were high. This was however the day that we were all waiting for, the Myra Canyon Trestle day. We had a couple conversations the week prior on the direction we would be travelling. All signs pointed that we were going the wrong way. Getting a ride to the lowest point on the trail and spending the next 4 days climbing a seemingly endless gradual hill wasn’t to inviting. I originally anticipated that the other two would have put up more of an argument towards my insistent decision but they were quick to agree with my choice. We didn’t want to start at the best part of the trail and spend the next three days with mundane emotions afterwards.

As we chugged along we noticed groups of other cyclers heading our direction. These were the day biking sorts with small packs and clean clothes. We had to be getting close. Rounding the corner on our 13th kilometre for the day, the sky was beginning to clear as we entered the parking lot of Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park.

We stopped for a quick hello and some trestle information from the friendly staff at the on site bike rental company. The remaining 13 kms for our day and the trip was perfectly completed with 17 historic trestles and 2 tunnels. The trail through this section was by far the best as they are constantly being maintained. This results in a slight descend that lets you focus your attention on the nature, distant scenery and the engineering marvel of the trestles rather than picking your line as you dodge rocks and dips. There were a total of 18 wooden trestles originally built and two of them were retrofitted with steel support in the 1930’s while the track was still in use. A wild fire in 2003 burned 12 of the wooden structures and caused significant damage to the two steel trestles as well. After 5 years and $17 million from the federal and provincial governments the trestles were restored back to like new conditions for everyone to enjoy at their leisure.

The sun was shining as we peddled our way through history. All the girls wanted to do was get out and run so they were having the time of their life.

We would follow close behind as they crossed the spans and tossed stones down between the ties. We would load them up as we passed through the tunnels and across some of the longer stretches of trail. As we approached the famous #6 Trestle you are left with amazement with is size. Standing 55m tall and 220 meters long is has a gentle arch that spans across the gorge below. This became our lunch spot for the day.

We relaxed on the benches as we consume whatever remaining food we still have then reflect on the previous days of our latest adventure. Having not even completing this one yet are are all excited to reminisce on the experiences we had. We finished the final few kilometres to an empty June Springs parking lot. We didn’t even have time to get off our bikes for a victorious high five and group hugs when our Tacoma turned the corner as Shannon’s parents had shuttled it to the end for us.

We started off with one state-of-the-art cargo bike and a Norco tandem from the 80’s towing a used trailer that was designed for the pavement. Two bikes at either end of the spectrum but both served its purpose perfectly. With minimal planning and 156 kms we had zero flat tires, zero broken spokes and weather that was primarily not on our side. We had a constant up hill climb, with sand patches, bolder fields, creek crossings and trail blockades, 36 degree sun in the low lands and falling snow in the mountains. The results were camp fires, laughing children, stronger relationships and memories that will never fade. And that is the real reason why we do things like this.

One thought on “Kettle Valley Railway. Day 4 of 4, Hydraulic Lake to June Springs Terminal

  1. Pingback: Kettle Valley Railway. Part 3 of 4, Wilkinson Creek to Hydraulic Lake

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