North to South Tour - Day 11

07/05/2008 13:00:00 by Administrator

From: Marble Canyon Campground, British Columbia
To: Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia
Today: 58 miles - 523 miles total

We decided to stay in the picnic shelter last night, we had just gotten everything dry, and it began to rain while we were hiking. So instead of having to pack things up again, wet...we just set the tent up inside the picnic shelter. There was only about 10 other campsites taken, and there must have been 80 empty campsites. So we stayed nicely dry, and naturally I slept like a rock. The Rear Admiral is still in the "getting used tent camping" phase of this journey.

We were up bright and early, and had everything out of the food lockups when a couple from Colorado showed up we talked about hiking, biking and Alaska. They were heading up to Anchorage to visit their daughter who is an engineer for BP. They are traveling by car with a pop-up trailer, and going almost as slow as we are stopping to hike as much as possible on the way. They had spotted some wolves on their hike the previous evening. Which is a pretty rare event.

Today's ride took us through Kootenay National Park, and was pretty quiet for most of the trip (few motor vehicle but lots of birds!). We passed through a section which in 2003, saw a huge forest fire that claimed 12 percent of Kootenay National Park. You could see were it jumped across the road, there are still scars on the pavement. These mountains were pretty much in your face all day; using a fourth grade word to describe the views....awesome! The mountains are not as tall as Jasper or Banff, but still impressive enough that a lot of pedaling was done in silence and awe. We stopped at McLeod Meadows Campground for lunch, a command decision by the Rear Admiral. It's important when doing these passes that you take a rest before ascending, eating helps also.

We made it up and over Sinclair Pass (4,875 ft) for our fourth pass in as many days! Not bad, no blood vessel popping moments. Going up the Sinclair pass you can see a lot of trees dead, from the pine beetles, a plague that is effecting the forests of British Columbia. (As we later found out this is because the forest fires are contained the trees get older and more susceptible to these bugs) There are hundreds of brown acre size ovals, all over the mountain sides. This is where the couple from Colorado, saw a pack of wolves yesterday. We did not even hear a howl, except for when SeeMore made it to the top!

And then we went DOWN! DOWN! DOWN! No shoulder, playing dodgeball with the rental RVers! DOWN into Radium Hot Springs. Not fun, and something I NEVER want to do again. I will need to check the drum brakes tonight, and maybe my shorts! In Radium Hot Springs, we joined the other Canadian tourist in the big pool, which is fed by natural heated water; the hot springs makes this town famous. It was sooooo good for the legs, but it was also a crowded swimming pool. So...I'm 50/50 on whether to recommend it to you or not. If you go, make sure it's raining. It's a neat treat! You are also supposed to be able to see the mountain goats and sheep while floating in the pool. We didn't spot any while in the pool but had our own private visit with two big horn sheep along side the road, just prior to the Hot Springs. While all the other motorist were wizzing by we were able to stop and watch this pair while they watched us.

We are here in Radium, living large, in a hotel room. As I am writing this, the Rear Admiral is asleep (not even 7:30!). We have done laundry, and have devoured a whole chicken for dinner (don't worry mom, we had salad too!). I am so blessed that the Rear Admiral pedaled me through Jasper, Banff, and Kootenay National Parks. We are so blessed. We are sorry that we did not keep up with the eMails or this log for the past couple of days. When we are in the parks, we will not have Internet access.