Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Amazing Alberta

Day 63 - August 8th
46.5 miles
Total: 2568.3 miles
Moving Avg: 7.8 mph
Overall Avg: 5.3 mph

We opted to sleep in, or rather sleep off those extra shots called for late in the evening. Instead of waking at six am, we fell out of slumber around six thirty. We pulled ourselves together, and looked happily at the blue patches amid the clouds. With high hopes, maybe the sun would burn off the rest of the clouds.

We ate breakfast with our gracious hosts. We had one cinnamon roll left from Stephanie, so that accompanied our warm coffee. Thanks Stephanie. We bid farewell to everyone, and hit the last pass of our trip, which was only three miles away, and 1000 feet of climbing.

The mountains were rugged, and beautiful. The trail was rugged and ugly. It passed around and under power lines all the way up, and was deeply eroded and muddy. Fortunately the views to our sides were majestic, and when we summitted we had a great view of Lake Kanaskis. Unfortunately the rutted out road, and muddy texture caused me to fall for probably the last time on the trail. It was the most painful fall I have had, but it was still very mild, just a muddy scraped knee.

Around our fourth mile of the morning we saw our first bear. Woot! Woot! On top of this excitement was the fact that it was a grizzly bear. We spotted it from half a mile away, and slowly got to about 150 yards away, before settling on waiting it out. He lumbered slowly across the huckleberry patches, foraging for food. When he finally looked our way, I flexed my muscles (freshly honed from 2500 miles of cycling), and he made a wise decision to head for the cover of the trees.

Apricots and I walked our bikes past his general location, alert with our bear spray safety off, and our trigger finger ready. We passed with no incident, and the bear lived to see another day.

Two miles later we hit a paved road. Due to a typo in my narrative (my fault) we turned the wrong direction, and only realized the mistake after dropping a couple hundred feet and cycling almost two miles. We fixed the mistake and turned back to head in the direction of hot coffee. Four miles later, we were at the Boulton Creek Trading post, having ice cream and hotdogs for second breakfast.

The rest of the day was to beautiful to even attempt describing. Majestic mountain after majestic mountain made their presence known with each new turn. Rocky peaks requiring technical skills to climb brushed the trail on both sides for the remainder of the day. See the attached pictures for a small hint of the terrain that we were blessed with.

At days end, the rain clouds were forming, and we decided to check on availability at Mt. Engadino Lodge. It was all booked up, but at $500 a night, it was outside of our budget. We pushed on to Spray Lakes Campground, which was within our budget. It was an even nicer campsite than the lodge, and the water was warm enough for a splash bath.

We spent the evening talking with two cyclists beginning their southbound journey. They were very excited to run into us, and glean information from our adventures.

Tomorrow we will finish our journey.

Live life at a slower place.

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