Day 64 - August 9th
Total: 2596.5 miles
We woke this morning to the wettest tent we have had on the trip. Overnight rain, and some serious amounts of condensation had our tent wetter than an otters nose. The large thermal mass of Spray Lake, filled with snow melt helped keep the area nice and cold in the morning.
We packed up, and I wore my warm gloves for the second time on this trip. We said farewell to the two southbounders we campfired with last night, and made the final push toward our destination.
Three miles in we passed a worker doing road construction. He warned us of a black bear on the side of the road two miles up. We said thank you and moved on, but I laughed a little in the back of my head. There is no way a bear would hang out on the road for all that time it would take us to ride there.
Two (point one) miles later, BOOM, a black bear. Lauren commented on how accurate the description was, distance wise. Most car travelers have no concept of how far distances are. (Recall the woman in Idaho saying four or five miles, when it was really nine or ten miles?) I commented on how puny the black bear looked up close, after seeing a grizzly bear from a far. As such, I hopped off my bike and charged at the bear in hopes of dueling him. He opted to hide in the bushes, so we rolled past.
After six miles of gravel road riding, we hit a single track section of the trail. This was to be our longest stretch of single track, and the trail which we would finish on. As such, I pulled out my camera and started filming. I was commenting on how rugged the trail was, but that we had 2600 miles under our belt, and we could handle anything (ignoring the fact that I crashed yesterday).
While the camera was rolling, Apricots struggled to get her foot unclipped before coming to a stop on a steep bumpy loose rock slope. Sure enough, I caught her glorious fall on film. Unfortunately, this time she actually hurt herself fairly significantly. She has a wicked good bruise on her knee and leg, and it is all puffy. I am selling viewings of the video footage at two bucks per viewing.
After walking off the pain, she remounted her trusty stead, and we continued the path to Banff. The route meandered through a thick forest, with trees towering both sides of the trail. Often views would open to the amazing mountains that we are blessed to be in. In the final six miles the trail followed the crystal clear Spray River. I wanted to bury my face in the water and drink it straight but Banff beckoned.
When we hit trails end, we let out whoops and hollars of joy. At the trail head were three new cyclists. They knew exactly what we were cheering and immediately congratulated us, and offered to take a photo of our finish.
A short bit later we were enjoying amazing pastry delights with coffee at Wild Flours. A short bit later we had arrived at a campground to chill at for the night. We do not know if the campground will be open tomorrow, as there has been wolves roaming the campground lately. They have had to put down two wolves already, so tomorrow's sleeping accomodations are up in the air.
After shower, we hit up the closest restaurant for a celebratory meal. Then we returned to camp. Now, we will enjoy a bottle of wine and reflect on our trip.
Live life at a slower place.