I awoke to a bright sunny, cold morning with all body parts intact. Other than waking up in the middle of the night with my lips swollen like balloons I felt quite rested. Hidden Valley turned out to be an awesome campsite. The campsites are in a, um, hidden valley, surrounded by pine trees and a babbling stream. All the sites have concrete pads for the picnic tables, and grassy sites for the tents. Fresh water is available everywhere plus power, showers and WiFi (yes!).
Outside of Canoe you climb a gentle 3km hill. There’s not much to look at, just rocks and trees, trees and rocks. I frightened a couple of white tailed deer along the side of the road who bolted up an embankment. They scared the living daylights out of me too.
All along the road there are signs that say “watch out for falling rocks” or “avalanche zone”. It seems kind of weird to me. What are you supposed to do if there’s a rock fall or an avalanche? It seems like about the time you notice the avalanche it’s too late anyway. If you’re the driver you can’t watch out for falling rocks because your supposed to keep your eye in the road. Maybe your supposed to slow down? But then why don’t they just say that? I guess the “sign people” take great pride in their “falling rock” signs so I’ll let it be. Hmmm, I just got an idea: Falling Rock beer, but I digress.
These falling rocks just missed me… by about 20 years
The view begins to improve as you climb up and coast down numerous hills. There’s a great view of Shawsup (sp) lake on the left.
I took a right into Sycamous where you follow the road through the town to join up with Trans-Canada a bit down the road. The visitor centre there is a new, beautiful building with cedar accents.
That’s where I got the low down on Rogers pass and Kicking Horse pass. After Revelstoke you start climbing up to Rogers Pass. Most cyclists continue on downhill to Golden but the total distance is 145kms. After Golden you climb the Kicking Horse pass which is the second highest pass in BC, there’s not a lot of places to stay between Revelstoke and Golden and between Glolden and Banff so you don’t want to get caught up there because it gets cold.
When I think about cycling these passes I get butterflies in my stomach. Not the cute Monarch kind of butterflies but more like the type of butterfly that’s really a moth that lands in your bowl of ice cream. But if I’m not trained and prepared enough to do these passes at this point then I’ll never be. Besides I heard little Suzy did the pass on her tricycle just last year (not really).
This route is so scenic I find myself stopping every 5 minutes to take a shot. You’ll be please to know that I’ve edited many of them out. At one point you cross the rail tracks and there’s a view of the Eagle River down below. This is the one time I hoped to actually see a bear because I know they can’t get me way up here. But no such luck, no bear spotted.
A view of the Eagle River
Next stop was the “Last Spike” attraction and rest area. It’s quite impressive with a huge parking lot and a visitor centre, and gift shop with many useless things (I was tempted to purchase a replica spike, but you know, I don’t want the extra weight). This last spike spot is way more impressive then the last, last spike spot it stopped at on Day 4. Anyway, it’s an important part of Canadian history for sure, really important.
It makes me think of how when there’s progress we always loose something and there’s some regret, but in the end the new is better than the old, in my opinion. Here’s one sequence of events describe progress in Canada:
- The first explorers used canoes
- Then they built roads for the first settlers
- Then came canals which allowed goods to be transported much faster
- Then trains put the canals out of business
- Then came highways and transport trucks with cheap gas
- Now massive cargo ships transport goods from far away
The same thing has happened with communications: Runners to the Pony express to the telegraph, to the telephone, to data communications, to the Internet, to wireless. What’s next? As I’ve mentioned, I’m a geek so I thrive on the Next Big Thing. There’s a phrase for it: Creative Destruction and you’re either part of it or you fall behind. But there’s nothing wrong with that either as long as you realize “you can’t stop progress”. Personally, I prefer to stay one step ahead if I can.
I stopped to take some photos at Crazy Creek. It’s very scenic whitewater and one of those things that you wouldn’t notice screaming by in a car. There’s a suspension bridge crossing the creek and apparently the worlds largest tress house is here too. That’s questionable: what about the Swiss Family Robinson tree house? That was huge.
There’s much more to write about but I need to get to bed because Rogers Pass is calling. Let me conclude by saying Revelstoke is friggin awesome!. There’s skiing, and biking, and hiking, great food, nice people, shopping… This is a real town, not a made up town like Whistler or Mt. Tremblant village. I will definitely return with Vicki one day.
I met two other cyclists in the village who were looking for an expresso shot. Their website is followthatbike.com. They do “stealth camping”. Basically, you cycle until sun down and set up camp wherever you happen to land. They’re truly brave and I admire their courage. For those out there looking for adventure, you can do this trip in the cheap, real cheap like $20 or $30 per day if you want to. There’s nothing stopping you.
But I think I finally figured out what the difference is between youth in their early 20’s doing this trip and people in their late 40’s or 50’s. Us more “mature” folks can afford to stay at the nice hotels with their jacuzzi hot tubs and warm beds, while the young’uns are doing this trip on the cheap and camp wherever they can find a spot and cook their own meals. I’m quite happy with the warm bed and the jacuzzi hot tub, which is definitely what I plan for tonight. Especially given I’m climbing Rogers Pass tomorrow, and my knee hurts, whine, whine…
I had a great meal and a local brew in town and decided to find a place to stay outside of town so I could get a bit of a head start towards the pass in the morning. I’m glad i did because there’s a wicked 100m climb just outside of town. As for the hotel, boy did I hit a gold mine. the Hillside Resort is a beautiful lodge overlooking the mountains. I’m don’t feel bad missing camping tonight.
Distance travelled – 102kms
Moving time – 5 hours and 19 minutes
Moving average – 19.2km/hr
Elevation – 628m