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Begins: Mar 19, 2013
Date: Thu, Aug 1st, 2013
Start: Prince George
Trip Distance: 880.0
Entry Visits: 658
Journal Visits: 66,992
Guestbook Views: 1,403
Guestbook Entrys: 28
Hayduke Trail Map
Cycling Alaska to Lower 48 - Days 45-47
Day 45: 59 miles, Yellowhead mile 77
Day 46: 75 miles, Yellowhead mile 152
Day 47: 61 miles, Yellowhead Mile 213
Cumulative: 2,296 miles
So after 14 hours of sleep I finally woke and was riding by 10:10. Not exactly a stellar start but I'm in no hurry. It was a fine day for riding. The rain cleared out and it was blue skies and 70s. I had a nice big shoulder and the vehicles had dwindled back down to a fairly minimal amount. I'm liking this side of the Yellowhead highway. At first it seemed rather bland but then the views started opening up and I could see big mountains again. I'm heading due east to the Canadian Rockies so the views should only get better too. Water was back too. The last section was a little challenging as all the land was farmland and there were not a whole lot of creeks. I don't care so much about the cattle but I don't like water near farmland because god knows what pesticides are in the water. I'm back now to forested and logged land so the creeks are just fine to drink.
I rode 22 miles and stopped at the lone cafe for the day which ended up being a nice stop. Burger, fries, apple pie with ice cream, cokes and free WiFi. I ended up staying 2 hours and rode on through the rather hilly terrain. The biggest climb of the day was only 500' but the bumps were non stop and overall I did as much elevation as any big climbs day. I rode a solid 30 miles and stopped at the Ancient Forest. The road sign was vague and I probably wouldn't have stopped except David from Prince George had recommended it and it was a great little stop. I'm riding through the rainforest which is the furthest from an ocean than any rainforest in the world. There was a great little 3k hiking trail through the giant cedars which were spectacular and possibly up to 2000 years old. It was nice to be in th cool, shaded forest under the big trees. It's too bad that the entire area has been very heavily logged and not many trees like this still exist.
After the hike I just rode a few more miles and found a great road that took me quickly away from the main road and I just camped on the side on some soft spongy ground.
One thing I have forgot to mention is that since I turned off the Casiar onto the Yellowhead a week ago the bugs have completely disappeared. It's fantastic to take breaks without having to wear long clothes and a headnet and setting up and taking down camp is much more relaxing. Ironically the mosquitoes are back tonight for the first time but it's not too bad.
I slept poorly for some reason and was riding by 8. Today was pretty similar to yesterday, a good day for riding. This section wins the award for best shoulder. Wide and consistent. I'm definitely in the mountains now and followed a valley most of the day with big mountains across the valley on either side of me. I had several pretty solid climbs and while it should have been a tiring day I must be in pretty good shape. I definitely get tired while riding but after a break I'm good to go again. I rode right by a small furry black rock which turned out to be a bear. It didn't even see me until I was past and slowed down to get a good look. Then it finally looked up from eating and ran away. 55 miles went pretty quickly and I rode onto the small town of McBride which turned out real nice. The visitor center was a great place to relax with WiFi and the grocery store was right across the street so I kept going back and forth for food and coke. While sitting at the visitor center a couple pulled in and said to each other "that's the guy." Turns out this was the 5th time they have seen me since before the Casiar like 3 weeks ago. Pretty funny. I told them they must really be driving slow.
I needed to decide my plan to get to Jasper. I want to arrive in the morning so I would have time to go to the visitor center, get groceries, eat, etc. My options are to go really slow or fast. I initially planned on the slow option since I already have extra time but I just don't like going slow so I decided on the faster option. This way I'll be in Jasper the morning after tomorrow. I'll spend the day in Jasper and then have 5 days to only go 180 miles to Banff. I decided if I was going to go slow I might as well do it in Jasper and Banff national parks where I can hopefully day hike. What to do with my bike and gear while I hike is a tough issue but I'll figure that out as I go I guess.
I left town around 4:30 and the wind had kicked up a big crosswind that might have been slightly pushing me along and I rode 20 miles. The mountains didn't change but the valley had been almost totally cleared for farming so finding a road to camp on was a little tough. I followed a good one down a bit and camped off in the woods just before some sort of ranch or barn. I don't think I'll be bothered here although if someone happens to be going to their house they might wonder what a tent and bike are doing out here.
Good camping last night and today was a really scenic and nice day. I entered Mt. Robson National Park and just had a great day of riding. Lots of gorgeous lakes and big mountains including Mt. Robson. I took a several hour break at the visitor center and somehow avoided the random thunderstorms in the afternoon. They seemed to be chasing me but never got me. At Moose lake I took a nice break on the most comfortable granite rock bench ever. I met 3 cyclists today and all were strange. One guy was pulling a trailer with a cat cage on the back and was pushing the bike up a hill. I met a girl at the visitor center doing a short loop who was rather an annoying know it all and lastly I met a guy whose clothes were in tatters but at least he was cool. He's just one of these guys whose been touring by bike forever and just wears things out until they shred.
As the good day ended I knew it was going to be tough to camp. I had the Fraser river on my right and the railroad tracks on the left so I was hemmed in this narrow valley. Because this was a national park there weren't really any side roads so the camping options were tough. I eventually found a side road to a lake and rode about a mile and camped in a super sweet spot right on the lake. A truly gorgeous spot. However, the only thing between me and the highway a mile back now was the lake so the sound of the highway easily passed the mile over the lake to me. And then I found out that the train tracks were hidden only a few hundred feet away as a train passed by! This is my biggest complaint about bicycle touring. No matter what I do I can never truly get away from the noise like hiking.
The Hayduke Trail is an extremely challenging, 800-mile backcountry route through some of the most rugged and breathtaking landscapes on earth. Located entirely on public land, the trail links six of the National Parks on the Colorado Plateau in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona with the lesser known, but equally splendid, lands in between them. Encompassed in the route are Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks as well as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and numerous National Forests, BLM Districts, Primitive Areas, Wilderness Areas and Wilderness Study Areas. The Hayduke Trail is not intended to be the easiest or most direct route through this incredibly varied terrain, but is rather meant to showcase the stunning Redrock Wilderness of the American Southwest.
http://s1250.beta.photobucket.com/user/tanzmbr/library/ (click on "show albums and stories" on left hand side)