Today started with a climb up “10 mile hill”. I was very happy we stayed in a hotel above Golden and so we avoided killer hill # 1 at least. We climbed into Kicking Horse Canyon and were presented with incredible vistas.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First I have to tell you about the Bighorn Sheep deterrence system. When you exit the driveway of the hotel you have to cross these grates that are quite terrifying if you’re a cyclist. The idea is that the sheep can’t walk over these tubular grates. Neither can cyclists wearing hard soled cycling shoes.
So what happens when the sheep do get in by say, I don’t know, hitching a ride in a pickup truck perhaps? Well, they need to get out. For that you need a 1-way
cat door sheep door. This one looks particularly inventive:
Then there’s clever exit door # 2. For this one, the Big Horn climbs the ramp and does a double back flip landing lightly on its pearly
Now back to the 10-mile climb. The best way I can describe this is that your playing cat and mouse with the Kicking Horse river. Climbing far above it at one point, crossing over long bridges, through massive cuts in the rock. When you think you’ve left the river long behind, you look to the side and there its, right beside you.
It must have taken Iron Man 2 days to cut through this rock
After the end of 10-mile hill the road basically flattens out until about the 46 km mark you pass 1200m. Another interesting landmark is the spiral tunnels. the original rail line was so steep on the Big Hill it had to be replaced by the Spiral Tunnels in 1909. If you are patient enough to wait for a long train to pass you can see it both exiting and entering the tunnel at the same time.
Just before the final assault on Kicking Horse pass you come to Field. We stopped at the Alberta visitor centre (which is in BC before you get to the border) and enquired about getting something to eat. We were directed to Field and were pleasantly surprised by a nice cafe/gift shop/liquor store called the siding. A couple if double expresso’s later and we were on our way.
More to come, right now I want to go play in the snow before I have to checkout here…
Distance traveled today – 86kms
Moving average – 15kms
Moving time – 5 hours 41 mins
Max elevation –
1550m 1800m (the last climb to Lake Louise was higher than the pass!)