Chilcotins trip July 2015- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Chilcotins trip July 2015

    Just a heads up to anyone who wants to follow my progress vicariously via Spot GPS. Next Saturday I hope to head up to the Chilcotins for another attempt to get over to the Lord River. I'm a bit obsessed and have failed twice but this time I am taking a better, partially previously travelled route that I'm sure will get me over. Here is a map of my planned path. The road ends where the red line begins.

    Chilcotins trip July 2015-chilcotins2.jpg

    Previously I was hiking up to the end of the little valley from that point which was too difficult. It is not possible to hike up the hills on the west side of that valley; they are too steep. Previously I wanted to go westwards when I got up to the alpine but it is too difficult to go up this valley. Instead I will head straight up to the east from the end of the road. It is a 300m hike up to the alpine where you emerge near a beautiful lake and rideable alpine. The hoodoos in that gully just to the north of where you hike up the sidehilll are really neat. I'd hike straight up the forest to the right of this gully and emerge at that alpine.

    Chilcotins trip July 2015-10-dsc_6344_033.jpg

    Here is a trip report from some hikers who went up there.

    I'll go along to Griswold Pass and then part ways with the previous trip's route and go over the glaciers into that little valley that heads northwards. I'll probably stay on the west side of the valley high up the sides to avoid brushy areas down at the bottom, who knows I guess I'll assess when I get there. The tricky part may be the last couple km as there doesn't appear to be any meadows and I'll have to bushwhack through pine forest down to the Lord River. At least it's downhill. That river enters the Lord Valley via a huge waterfall.

    Chilcotins trip July 2015-lord-river-entrance.jpg

    And on the other side of the valley another river enters via another waterfall so that should be a pretty noisy place! Might not want to camp there as I don't like noise since it hides the noises of the animals creeping up on you at night. There will probably be grizzlies and maybe moose too down in this broad river valley.

    Chilcotins trip July 2015-lord-river-entrance2.jpg

    From here I'll packraft down the river and smaller lakes until I get to Taseko Lake, where I plan to then head back to Gold Bridge via Warner Pass. Hopefully the area will still be open in a week, with the wildfires and drought I fear they may shut down the forests. And it will be interesting if there is a fire in the area, that may affect my route! I'll post some more info over the next few days as I get sorted out.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    The tricky part may be the last couple km as there doesn't appear to be any meadows and I'll have to bushwhack through pine forest down to the Lord River. At least it's downhill.
    Don't underestimate how difficult that bushwack might be with a bike loaded with bike packing gear.

    We just did something similar and it took 3 of us working ~20 hours over 2 days to drop 2km from the sub-alpine down to an old cut block. This was with 1 small, 1 medium, 1 large hand saws & a chainsaw.

    Our forward progress averaged out at ~0.1km/h ....
    And that was using animal trails and meadows where we could.

  3. #3
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    You had bikes? Those hikers I linked above had a rough time even without bikes, in the next valley to the north so presumably it's similar. It looks like there are drier bluffs I might be able to use. At least I'll be able to see and hear my destination down below, once I get to the river I'll be home free. I was thinking of hiking instead of biking but that would be a loooong hike back to Gold Bridge.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  4. #4
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    We had bikes. We were just outside of the S. Chilcotin park.

    The current map for the area doesn't show a trail, but an old map from 1994 does. It is wrong, there is no trail in that drainage.

    I haven't read the hiker link you posted yet.

  5. #5
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    It will be great to follow your spot points Mark. I attempted to hike to Griswold pass with my friend Klaus Haring through Slim Creek but at the end he didn't feel well so we decided to go back to Gun Creek. We then climbed Mt. *****on there and hiked to Spruce lake. I want to bike there one day. You have a great plan and there will be challenges. Alpine club of Canada, Vancouver Island section had mountaineering camp there last summer

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    Forum is correcting name of the mountain we climbed. Thinks is not appropriate. Mt. Is Mt. Di-ck-son.

  7. #7
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    Safe travels!
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigH View Post
    I haven't read the hiker link you posted yet.
    I was wrong, I had read that trip report thread within the last few month. Fantastic trip they did.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    Just a heads up to anyone who wants to follow my progress vicariously via Spot GPS.
    Post the link to your SPOT Mark.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  10. #10
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    BTW - any closures of the Hurley FSR from Pemby to Gold Bridge?
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

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    Looks ok. Getting psyched up but still lots to do as always. I'll post a link to my spot page later
    https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/dsq/engine...nformation.htm

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    BTW - any closures of the Hurley FSR from Pemby to Gold Bridge?
    This is a good site for Hurley updates, maintained by the locals in Bralorne & Gold Bridge:
    ISurvivedTheHurley.com | Adventures on the famous Hurley River Road to Gold Bridge & Bralorne BC

  13. #13
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    I use the Spotwalla site to share my Spot data with family:
    https://spotwalla.com/index.php

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigH View Post
    This is a good site for Hurley updates, maintained by the locals in Bralorne & Gold Bridge:
    ISurvivedTheHurley.com | Adventures on the famous Hurley River Road to Gold Bridge & Bralorne BC
    Thanks
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  15. #15
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    Here is my Spot page.

    SPOT Shared Page

    Holy cow is there a lot to do. I was hoping to get out this morning at the latest but it will prob be this afternoon. It's always like this no matter how much I prepare.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  16. #16
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    You are "allowed" to forgot some things but please don't forget camera, spare batteries and you spot. It will be great to follow you and then to see your report later.

    Good luck Mark!
    Zoran

  17. #17
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    Looks like he camped on the East Hurley road last night.

  18. #18
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    There are beautiful mountains just before his stop. I climbed Face, Locomotive, Sampson and Sessel there. Mark will have a great time on his trip!

  19. #19
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    Based on his Spot page Mark is on his way out. Spent last night at the BC Parks campsite at Hummingbird lake. Nice spot but can be buggy there.

  20. #20
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    Hey all, just got to Gold Bridge and actually ate till I was full! That was quite a trip. Couldn't make it over the glacier to that other river I wanted to go down, a bit too much for the bike, plus I had my dog and her paws were getting raw. So I followed the previous route down Duane Creek. It's not really ideal to bring bikes over there but otherwise I don't know how to get out unless you arrange a pickup at Taseko.

    Memorable parts of the trip, good and bad:
    - beautiful alpine meadows above the end of the road
    - Griswold pass and glacier are scenic although difficult to pull a bike through.
    - pack rafting 4 km of Duane creek meadows with the dog. She jumped out once but had her pfd on
    - a 2 hour standoff with a grizzly that night who wanted passage through our camp.
    - bush whacking the last bit of snarl of Duane creek was nasty though not as extensive as I was expecting. At one point I decided to leave the bike and come back the next day to pick it up only to find that 50 feet later was the end of it!
    - 2 nights at Crystal lake camp all by myself and my dog, serenaded by a loon.
    - first person up the Taseko road/trail this year with a lot of deadfall to deal with
    - nice ascent over Warner Pass
    - woke up to snow and rain the next morning at Warner lake, luckily I got over the pass when I did
    - cold and wet and hungry few days down to slim creek road. Totally beat and empty. I think I was on major calorie deficit despite eating lots. Need to rethink how I do food on these trips
    - pulled in to town today and ate half the store
    - still have to get the 4runner from 50 km up the road, hope to get a ride most of the way today since I am destroyed and have to be back to work on Thursday.

    Kind of bummed about not going down the drainage I wanted. But at least I got up there and checked it out. That lord river is an elusive one. Will try again, but I want to go with others next time. And will ride north from Taseko, not interested in doing Warner pass again. Maybe won't bring bikes next time, just the pack rafts.

    Lots more to see in the report!

  21. #21
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    Thanks for the update, been watching your Spot page.

    Looking forward to seeing the complete trip report.

  22. #22
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    Great! Glad you are well. Can't wait to see your pictures.

  23. #23
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    I got some great videos. I'm not set up to deal with them right now so I'll just post the photos and then add video later.

    Days 1 and 2: Getting There

    Like usual the last couple days before leaving were a mad scramble to get everything together and get the house cleaned up. It's always like that no matter how I prepare. I need to get my bikepacking gear all put together and pretty much ready to go to avoid this in the future.

    Finally by afternoon we were ready and hit the road. I wasn't sure what the forest fire situation was like as we headed up the highway but we'd soon find out. We stopped at the Squamish Save on Foods and loaded up on the last items of needed food, including some dried figs and coconut.

    Pemberton offered a taste of the scenery to come




    We got as far as the East Hurley junction which goes to Bralorne and decided to camp there. The mosquitos were pretty bad and I wedged a mesh bug jacket across the open part of the window but some still got through. I thought it would have been great to bring some of those black triangle office clips for attaching the mesh to the window more securely with no gaps for the bugs to get through. It turns out that the next day I discovered a whole bag of them in the center console!!!



    First wildlife sighting of the trip!


    The next morning we got up the Bridge Main quickly, passing a few road crews, and got to the Nichols Creek bridge.




    Looking up Nichols Creek to the general vicinity we would be heading via the next drainage, "Thunder Creek".


    Should we cross or not? Hmm, that is the question. I decided to cross because it would avoid some hot hills on my loaded bike by driving a few more km, to around km 45. The Nichols crossing is at around 41 km.

    I pulled off on a sandy spot with big wolf prints and got to work sorting out the stuff and getting ready.



    Too much stuff like usual


    Unfortunately the rear door on the 4runner doesn't latch so the door won't stay closed. I had to rope it to the trailer hitch, but a determined bear would have no problem getting in. I was worried because I had food wrappers in there and wasn't allowed to burn them with the campfire ban. This worry would stay with me for the rest of the trip.

    We headed 20 km up the road to the cabin at the end at 65 km. The last km presented a lot of fresh deadfall from avalanches.

    Looking up to Bridge Glacier










    We would be hiking up the east side of this gully with interesting hoodoos


    The way my bike should have been setup: pannier-less.


    The plan was to spend tomorrow hiking the bike up to the alpine, and the next day hiking the panniers and pack up.





    By the time we got to the cabin I was totally beat, after only 20 km. I guess I haven't been training too much and the elevation wasn't helping (1600m), me being a sea level city slicker. Had an orange and hard boiled eggs and settled down for an uncomfortable sleep on the plywood. That cabin gets really cold at night being down by the river with the cold air drainage.
    Last edited by Mark_BC; 07-03-2017 at 10:28 PM.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

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    The next couple days were uneventful. I humped the stuff up to the alpine from around 1530m to 1930m. The first day was the bike. It was pretty steep in places and I had to resort to pulling it up sideways from above. That previous sentence is a bit of an understatement, I mean it is really steep!



    Soon after entering the forest you can head northwards and go up the edge of the gully, which has steep sides and can be a bit loose, but it is generally clear.









    The views open up pretty fast.




    In this image you can see how far I got the previous year. The white rocks at the top, left of center. That's as far as I got then I saw the wall of trees above and decided it was too much. But from up here it looks like the trees don't go too far up before becoming alpine meadow so I may have been able to do it.






    The goats and sheep have their trails


    About halfway up I couldn't help but ask myself, "Why? Why am I doing this? I don't have to. I could be home on the internet right now." That sentiment didn't last long though as I got to the top.

    At the top of the gully it levels off pretty abruptly into some unvegetated flat ground, backed by alpine meadows


    Looking across to the Bridge Glacier. You can see how much it's receded.


    We walked around the top of the gully and stashed the bike the first night / pitched the tent the second night in some trees at the north edge which offered some protection from the wind.




    The meadows here are really beautiful in bloom with so many different flowers.






    On the way down Reina somehow hurt her front foot. It didn't bother her to touch it so I presumed she strained a tendon somehow. Will just have to take it easy. At least the second day didn't involve any downhill, just a climb.


    On that second day I saw some of the tracks I made the previous day and couldn't believe that I actually pulled a bike up there, it is literally like a 45 degree slope.
    Last edited by Mark_BC; 07-03-2017 at 01:15 PM.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

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    Days 5 and 6: Alpine to Griswold Pass

    The previous day was pretty intense. I had to stop every 5 meters to rest. I thought it would be easier than the previous day with the bike but not much. But my dog had no problem running up the hill. Animals' bodies are better adapted for some things. But I realized that the human body can also do some specialized things as well, like carry a 40 pound bike up that hill. No animal could do that for a proportionally sized bike.

    I was now well on my way in my thermodynamic journey. I had 15-20 pounds of food and that was going to power me for the next 2 weeks. When I was a kid I'd look at the gasoline transportation trucks and get confused -- how can they BURN gasoline to MOVE gasoline? Wouldn't they run out of gasoline? The answer of course is that it takes much less energy to move gasoline around than the energy it releases when burned, so they can burn 50 gallons of fuel to move 5,000 gallons. That is the same principle of this trip. I had 20 pounds of food to move 200 pounds about 150 km over rough terrain. That's a pretty amazing feat when you think about it. Imagine taking 20 pounds of wood and burning it. That's like a few pieces of a chopped log. All that released heat energy is equivalent to what would be powering me for the next 2 weeks. Now cut that down to 30% since burning is 100% efficient but the human body is probably about 30% efficient at converting chemical energy into work. Amazing, a testament to how efficient animals are. A hummingbird kept coming to the campsite to investigate my stuff, attracted to the colours. The tiny rufous hummingbird flies across the Gulf of Mexico without food. It weighs a few grams yet can fly that far. Imagine a toy robot battery powered helicopter doing that, not a chance. You'd get maybe a kilometer. So we'd see how my 20 pounds of food would power me over the next few days and weeks.





    We set off northwards across the beautiful alpine meadows. It climbed a bit and came to the lakes. They were pretty but we had to move on.





    On Google Earth the terrain looks easy but every 50 feet is a creek of varying sizes you have to cross so the going was fairly slow.





    It was also quite bumpy, with heather growing into jumbled hummocks. So I tried to avoid the heather and I also I tried to stay to the left to maintain my elevation so I didn't have to climb up again, but this turned out to be too rocky. I should have moved lower down the slope which was easier going. Looking east to the upper Nichols Creek and beyond that the upper Slim Creek drainage over the hill.



    At one point Reina scared up a ptarmigan and chased after it over the rocks. Man, she's going to shred her feet...

    We were following the west arm of the upper Nichols Creek drainage.



    Reina's first time seeing snow, being from Mexico.



    By late afternoon we came to a large creek fed by a small glacier (feeds the east arm of the upper Nichols Creek and turns it from crystal clear to milky) and it was too much to cross. Usually by morning the creeks go way down since it is the afternoon heat that makes the ice melt. So we pitched camp at 5057'51.41" N 12322'35.97" W.





    Finding water was obviously not a problem but to keep the filter clean I had to avoid silty streams. I was using the Sawyer Squeeze mini, screwed onto a platypus bag, which then feeds by gravity into another platypus bag. The threads aren't the same but it worked well enough. It takes a while for the gravity feed to filter the water but you just set it up during a break or something and 15 minutes later you have your filtered water. Or you can squeeze it to make it go faster. If I had used silty water the filter would have gotten clogged up really fast and not worked anymore. I brought iodine tablets too for sterilizing water in a pinch or if I was forced to use silty water. Then I'd throw in some Nuun electrolyte tablets to cover up the iodine. I was using those tablets regardless to replenish lost salts from sweating. And if I could find spring water, which I did a few times, I'd just drink that straight without filtering.



    Reina's front tendon strain cleared up but her back paw pad was pretty raw, presumably from chasing the bird, so I'd make a boot for her. If her feet got too bad I could put her in the backpack but then I'd have to find somewhere else for the contents to go. It wasn't full but had some food in it.

    The bugs seemed to change composition over the day. They started off as big deer flies, then smaller flies, then mosquitos in the evening.

    The next morning, the creek hadn't subsided much so we hiked down to the flats where it was easier to cross. I'd carry Reina across and tie her off to the pack and come back to get my bike. In that crossing she lost the boot I made out of the Cabella's faux Leatherman pouch that broke, so it lasted half an hour.





    After this the terrain was mixed. Sometimes I could go a few hundred meters on beautiful flat sand but then I'd hit rocky, brushy or hilly areas. My feet got soaked with all the creek crossings.

    Eventually we neared Griswold Pass and could see the substantial glacial moraine wall that fortifies the pass. I checked it out and decided on a route up and humped the stuff up. A bit sketchy with all the big loose rocks.



    Beyond that the terrain is a mix of jumbled large rocks interspersed with lakes and some sandy beaches.





    It wasn't going to be easy to cross but we eventually pulled the stuff over to the northeast edge against the opposite hill and continued on. In retrospect we should probably have just gone straight over to the east sidehill flanking the moraine and followed that.



    There were lots of moose prints, as well as some smaller prints from some other little creature I didn't identify.





    We got to the northern edge of the lake, as far as the beginnings of where Duane Creek flows downhill, which flows northwards from the glacier and is opaque from all the glacial runoff. We were on the east side of the river at 5100'44.07" N 12325'00.19" W. I chose a somewhat sheltered spot in a hole behind some rocks but we still roasted in the sun. I had a chance to dry out my gear nicely.











    I figured out why the heather is so hummocky. It's because it is the only plant that grows over rock fields... so I should actually be thanking heather for its service. In time all the rock fields in the pictures will get covered over and evened out by heather. Why it grows like this I don't know:



    The next few days were my concern as we'd be bushwhacking through forest and I didn't know how difficult that would be with the bike.
    Last edited by Mark_BC; 07-03-2017 at 01:58 PM.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  26. #26
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    Thanks for posting your trip report so far. Looking forward to seeing the remaining reports.
    We just got back from a 3 day trip along the S. Chilcotin & Big Creek parks borders. Haven't checked out that area yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    ...
    First wildlife sighting of the trip!


    ...
    It looks like that coyote was following you around the whole time!

    Thanks for posting the Spot page and the trip report.

    I would still like to do some backpacking and not just bikepacking. But one of my main problems even when I just day hike is thinking "this trail would be fun on a bike". So for a serious backpacking trip I'd like to do something like the High Sierra Route, where I would instead be thinking "I'm glad I'm not carrying my bike". I have to say I think this trip would be perfect for that.

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    Yeah Welnic, you wouldn't be doing much riding on the first half of this trip, it is ideal for packrafts though. It's getting out at the other end without bikes, that is the challenge.

    Day 7: Upper Duane Creek

    OK, too many photos, I'll try to refrain...

    I should mention that I was originally hoping to go down the drainage to the west of Duane Creek which empties into the Lord River and I'd access it via the Griswold Glacier. But based on Reina's feet and the difficulty in pulling the bike over the terrain it looked too rough. Based on my recon I think I can do it next trip, and I'll make some changes to my gear to lighten it. So instead I opted to go down the Duane Creek route which was described on Club Tread.

    This morning required a little Macgyvering. Firstly I had to re-true my front wheel which was rubbing one side of the fork, move it over a millimeter. Also, I used up all my gorilla tape to make a boot for Reina.

    The descent down the upper creek starts off fine in the alpine, a bit rocky and steep in places but no significant roadblocks to pushing your bike, pedal-less.





    Here you can see that the west side of the creek looks rockier and is probably more difficult.



    Looking down the valley to the two meadows. It is deceptive but the lower meadow is quite a ways further down and took a full extra day to reach.



    As you go further down the forest starts to close in more and I was worried that the transition from subalpine to closed canopy forest was going to be thick, and it was in places. But I made it through over some tough rocky overgrown morraines. It then turned to intermittent little meadows that I could follow down which eventually spat me out onto the upper meadow about 100m further than I needed to go, so I could have avoided some.



    It was still early in the day so I decided to get the packraft out and float the half kilometer down to the rock fields that mark the end of the upper meadow. It took an hour to get it all together and a lot of work for a half kilometer but we were on the east side of the creek which has thick forest flanking it so I didn't want to bushwhack that. Unfortunately I only took video of it, no photos.



    Near the end we pulled out and investigated and decided to camp at the meeting of the eastern forested hill and the rock field, at the edge of the meadow 5101'45.00" N 12327'12.78" W.



    There weren't any good places to camp since the meadow is exposed and wet and the forest thick. There is also no water here except for the silty creek so I just used that (actually the next morning I discovered that there is a clear creek a little ways further down). I threw Reina in the backpack when I walked out to the river because I didn't want her feet getting worn on the meadow grasses.





    Tired doggy



    Amazingly her boot stayed on all day. That gorilla tape is tough.

    That night around 10 pm some large animal came crashing towards the tent and we both made a hollar. It stopped and went around. I couldn't see it due to my crappy little MEC turtle flashlights but based on the noise it made when it got to the meadow I'm guessing moose, especially with all the moose prints around.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigH View Post
    We just got back from a 3 day trip along the S. Chilcotin & Big Creek parks borders.
    I haven't been up to that area but have looked at the maps quite a bit. A little 3 day trip is more in line with what I want now, after this big 2 week expedition. A lot less food and gear to haul!
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

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    Day 8 -- Middle Duane Creek

    The next morning we awoke to slightly smoky skies and a bit of rain! The thing with rain showers is that you never know how hard it's going to be. If it's just a light shower then there's no need to pack everything up. But if it turns into a deluge then you'd better. But you don't know until it turns into a deluge and by then it's too late, so inevitably at the first signs of rain I scurry around and prepare things. Well, this one barely got the tent wet and then went away. That seems to be how the weather goes here on the dry lee side of the mountains.

    Looking down the valley to the lower meadows way off in the distance.



    We got the stuff together and looked forward to a difficult day of bushwhacking. It started out difficult on the steep rubble. But we soon came to a nice little clear creek and a game trail following it. This game trail actually follows the "easy" route around the talus fields. It was sometimes difficult to find and there was still a fair amount of bushwhacking involved but it turned out OK for most of the day. I was able to keep the panniers on most of the way which is a big plus, otherwise I end up walking three times the distance.

    A mixture of this...



    ... and this



    ... and this



    Looking across to the extensive boulder fields, which are kind of interesting; I am not sure how they formed. The river flows from left to right somewhere in the middle of that jumble:



    We got to a lower meadow and I thought I was there, at the large lower meadow, and I sorta was, but then the river went up against a steep forested sidehill that I had to surmount before finally getting to the full meadow for real.

    But before tackling that last bit of snarl we checked out a frog in a pond from which I also got some water since I didn't know if I'd have access to clear water at the lower end of the meadow.







    There's the real lower meadow:







    At the meadow proper I got the packraft together and an hour later we were on the water.



    I had my Gopro on my head and I also managed to take a couple DSLR photos but this was pretty difficult given the liveliness of the river, my dog, and the bike. I Gopro'd the whole packraft journey which took about 45 minutes; it is quite long at about 4 km. This is a very scenic paddle and it's too bad I didn't spend more time looking for wildlife and taking photos but there was just too much going on and the day was drawing on.





    We had to go past a couple sketchy sweepers (downed trees at the water surface) and at one point Reina actually jumped out to get to shore. She was tethered to me and I plucked her out of the water pretty fast. Luckily she had her PFD on! I didn't! Too much weight to carry! And I reasoned that I didn't plan on doing any whitewater so it wasn't necessary. These packrafts are unsinkable. I got it all on video too, maybe I'll make a gif that goes viral and makes it onto the daily funnies.



    Finally, just before the river turned to whitewater at the end of the meadows, I spotted a little side channel that I went up to land the boat.



    It worked well and only required about a hundred feet of hiking through the marsh to some dry land up near the talus slope. We did our usual afternoon routine and had a nice camp set up and went to bed.



    Around 10 pm after it had gotten dark we both heard crashing nearby and heavy breathing. That was a bear! We both instantly hollared and I undid the zipper ASAP. Reina was on the leash in bed (after last night's moose encounter I'd learned my lesson), which helps me control her and prevents her from jumping through the tent mesh.

    I grabbed my turtle light and bear spray and got ready for a confrontation. I was pretty sure it was a grizzly parked about 50 feet away up valley. We were making a lot of noise and I was making the most threatening growls and roars I could but it didn't seem to phase him. He just sat there, although I never actually saw him since I only had my crappy turtle lights. I didn't bring anything stronger since I reasoned that the only reason I'd need a stronger light was if I was dealing with a bear in camp at night...

    When things got quiet I'd turn out the light and a few seconds later he'd get up and start coming our way again. This was really freaking me out because this isn't how bear encounters are supposed to happen. They either attack, or get scared and move on. He parked himself there for over an hour with the same routine repeating.

    I was certain he wanted our food and was going to charge. In one hand I had the flashlight and Reina's leash around my wrist (I had marks for a week afterwards, she was pulling so hard). In the other I had the bear spray. I had to keep shining the light or the bear would advance. The problem was the batteries were going to die at some point and I decided I had to prepare for a multi-hour stand-off. So somehow I managed to get to the electronics bag and pull out the new batteries, those little pancake things, and put some new ones in my other turtle light (which I had to pry open with my faux Leatherman) which would then last a few hours. That should be enough. I also got my rear red bicycle flasher out, which I brought for just such a circumstance, and flashed it at him. I'd hoped it would scare bears off since it is very bright, I'm sure you've seen them, they are like strobes. Nope.

    After an hour I was getting cold, tired and attacked by mosquitoes, so I pulled my Thermarest and sleeping bag out and got in right beside my tent and continued the routine. Unfortunately I threw it on some juniper and sprung a leak. A slow leak; it takes half the night to deflate, so still usable.

    Eventually after what must have been an hour and a half he started moving around us. I was concerned he might be circling camp but he seemed to disappear into the night. Reina went to bed pretty soon afterwards, and I stayed up for another hour or so from the nerves, not before remembering I brought bear bangers so I fired off the flare first, and then the banger. Holy cow that thing is loud, it sounded like a bomb going off, and echoed all through the valley for 10 seconds. That should have sent him packing, and if I had remembered earlier I probably would have fired it at him, but that could have been unpredictable, and I could have started a fire in the tinder dry forest floor. The last thing I wanted to do was have to put out a forest fire in addition to defending against a grizzly.

    The whole encounter had me really unnerved since it was so odd for the bear to hang around for so long. And the whole time I was wanting him to charge just so I could spray him and get it over with. In retrospect I realized that we were camped on the game trail since it was the only real flat dry ground on this side of the valley, wedged between wet meadow on one side and talus slope on the other. What probably happened was that he was moving down the valley, heading to the north end of Taseko or Chilko Lake for the sockeye salmon run, and we were in his path. He didn't know what to do so he sat there for an hour and a half before deciding / figuring out he could just walk around us. Grizzlies are kind of grumpy that way.

    So, all in all a successful bear encounter: no harm done except a pricked Thermarest, and a bear that has negative associations with humans. I was surprised though how much Reina wanted to go after him. She had never even seen a bear before and had no idea it was 50 times bigger than her. If freed she would have run straight into the dark and attacked, and one swipe from him would have been the end of Reina. So for now on she's always on the leash.

    I did give him one short burst of bear spray, just to test it out. It had no effect since I didn't know exactly where he was so I didn't want to waste it. I didn't know how long the canister lasts and this was not the time to find out!

    And I am glad I camped away from the river so we can hear the animals. I really do not like camping near running water since you can't hear an animal until it's on your tent -- very dangerous. I will go to great lengths to avoid this.
    Last edited by Mark_BC; 08-07-2017 at 11:19 AM.
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    Looking forward to the rest of the story!
    Well done!

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    Thanks for the report on your stand off with the bear.

    I'll have to fire off a test bear banger and flare so I know what to expect if I ever need to actually use them.

    What brand/model of pack raft do you use?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigH View Post
    I'll have to fire off a test bear banger and flare so I know what to expect if I ever need to actually use them.
    Great idea. Bear bangers fire off a cartridge which then explodes making the loud noise. It's possible to fire the cartridge behind the bear scaring him your way which is obviously not good.

    When we ran into a griz at close range recently we fired the banger nearly straight up to ensure the cartridge didn't get behind the bear.

    Bear spray expires so it's smart to take your expired cans and test fire them so you have a good handle on how close they are effective. It's shockingly close and you really need to hold your nerve until the last few seconds before firing or it's just wasting the spray.
    Safe riding,

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    Yes firing the banger behind the bear would have been a bad thing! I was using the Canadian Tire bangers. I was actually expecting firecrackers, I'm not sure where to get those. Don't test in an urban area, it is VERY loud.

    Also, it's good to check the bear spray before you use it too. My friend checked his in town.... not a good idea. He was surprised how short it was, but that was an expired can so maybe not representative. The expiry date is on the bottom. Also, I'd make sure you have a leash for the safety tab too since mine fell off in the bushwhacking. Luckily it never fired off accidentally after this, and I had an old expired can in the freezer I took a tab from. I store mine in the freezer, which probably helps with the lifetime but still, after the expiry date how do you know if it's still good?

    These are the things you almost need to destructively test before use to see what happens, but then you use them up so you need to buy another one!

    I use the Alpackaraft Yukon Yak. Too bad I never got to use it on the Lord River but Duane Creek was a lot of fun. I might be able to squeeze one more trip in this year if anyone wants to come, but it would have be a tight schedule and an ultralight trip. Not sure how to get out since Warner Pass is a bit much especially late in the season, that leg from Taseko Lake over to Gold Bridge adds another 5-6 days. Next time I'd rather go north up to the Williams Lake / Bella Coola highway but then you have to sort out vehicles way up there on the other side.
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    Actually one way to do it would be to do a hiking / packrafting trip instead and leave the bikes at home (gasp!) and paddle all the way down the Lord River and upper Taseko Lakes to Taseko Beach, and bring a sat phone to call for a plane pickup. That would be a simple and fast trip.
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    Wow, great pics and report thus far Mark! Don't hold back on the pics, it is definitely a worthy area to post lots.

    I am glad you and Reina made it out safely. Testing the flare, banger and spray is important so you know what to expect. Be mindful of wind direction too when you are travelling or setting up camp. A bear following a drainage down hill might also be travelling down a cold air drainage which means you might be spraying against the wind in an encounter. That could shorten the effective range or worse send the spray right back in your face.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    Actually one way to do it would be to do a hiking / packrafting trip instead and leave the bikes at home (gasp!).
    Ya as we walked with our bikes a bunch on this last trip we discussed simply hiking parts of future trips and leaving the bikes behind where they wouldn't get used effectively.
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    Pushing a loaded bike up probably isn't much slower than hiking up with an equivalent weight in a pack, but in the places where you can ride (flat or down) it is a lot quicker.

    Bushwacking with a bike is a lot slower than doing it without.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigH View Post
    Pushing a loaded bike up probably isn't much slower than hiking up with an equivalent weight in a pack, but in the places where you can ride (flat or down) it is a lot quicker.

    Bushwacking with a bike is a lot slower than doing it without.
    Even on trails I think it would in most cases be more enjoyable to hike without the bike. That's 30-40lbs you don't need to haul around if you aren't riding. Pushing up a singletrack trail isn't as ergonomic as carry the weight in a good pack.

    Going down would be faster if you can ride, but unless time is critical a walk down isn't unpleasant. Especially if we are only talking about a few KMs distance.

    I think what I would use as a basis for deciding if I was going to take a bike or not is % of time I'd ride vs. hike-a-bike.

    - 25% or less time spent HAB I'd bike it
    - more than 50% time spent HAB I'd hike it and leave the bike
    - between 25% and 50% of time spent HAB it would be a situation by situation call

    For sure this last trip to the Chilcotins has taught me not to be dogmatic about bikepacking vs. hiking.
    Safe riding,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    Actually one way to do it would be to do a hiking / packrafting trip instead and leave the bikes at home (gasp!) and paddle all the way down the Lord River and upper Taseko Lakes to Taseko Beach, and bring a sat phone to call for a plane pickup. That would be a simple and fast trip.
    Funny you say that, because reading your awesome trip report, I was very curious about how much actual riding you could do. The bike seemed like more of a hindrance than a help, as I didn't see much trail or even flat/open ground in your pics. But hard to gauge percentage of terrain from photos alone.

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    If you are actually successfully riding, then stopping to take a picture would interrupt the flow. But if you are hiking, pushing a bike, especially if you have to take the panniers off the bike, then stopping to take a picture is a welcome distraction.

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    I rode 20 km up the road to get to the start. Then I was pushing it across the alpine which overall probably was about the same effort as hauling a big pack. I was cursing the bike a lot but then I'd probably also be cursing a heavy pack at the end of the day too. There were short sections I could ride but not worth it by the time you take the pedals on / off. Bushwhacking down Duane Ck was definitely more difficult with the bike, actually brutal in places. After that the trail to Crystal Lake made pushing the bike not too difficult. There were sections I could ride, actually quite a bit of it, but I didn't because I had my dog on the leash, plus I was totally beat. Most of the trail from Crystal Lake to Taseko would be ridable, interrupted by a few nasty steep sections and deadfall that needs to be cleared, but I had my dog on the leash and didn't want to so just pushed it. That trail would actually be a nice ride if it was cleared.

    The biggest downer was all the deadfall, especially on the Taseko River road / trail. If that wasn't there I would have ridden more than half the trip but when you have to stop every 50 meters and grunt your bike over a log, and sometimes take your panniers off, it's no fun. But still, the grass is always easier on the other side of the hill so I imagine hiking a heavy backpack 60 km from Taseko back to the road, and then along the road to Gold Bridge, that wouldn't have been nice on the hips either.

    Going down, even if HAB'ing, having the bike is still OK because it takes the weight off your back and it helps to stabilize your descent, especially with the brakes. It's when you have to 1) go up steep sections, or 2) have to cross deadfall, that the bike really becomes a hindrance. A log lying across the trail 2 ft high is about the worst impediment to a bike there is. If it was a rock you can at least ramp the bike over it but with a log, all it does is catch the chainrings and the pedals go under and get caught.

    If someone could clear the deadfall and make a trail along Duane Creek this would actually be a nice "biking" trip, with lots of pushing in places. It wouldn't be difficult to clear the trail since the game trails are already there and it's only a few km, just get rid of the logs which aren't very big. Who is that "someone"? Me I guess...
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    One other factor I just thought of, for those of us with wacked knees, loaded downhill hiking hurts. I can hike a bike up loaded without a problem but coming down...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    l so I imagine hiking a heavy backpack 60 km from Taseko back to the road, and then along the road to Gold Bridge, that wouldn't have been nice on the hips either.
    With ultralight gear there is no need for a heavy pack these days or a really heavy bikepacking setup for that matter. For a week+ trip you'll have a lot of food at the start, but you'll be reducing that weight each day.
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    By far the most weight was my food, except for my bike. For a 2 week trip there is no way around this. But I could go quite a bit lighter next time. I used those freeze dried food packages from MEC for dinner. These don't pack well and they also require a stove and fuel which is not an insignificant amount of weight and space which provides no calories. Plus you have to go to all the effort and time to cook them at the end of the day.

    I will try next time to bring food that doesn't need cooking, which will also help with the calories because there will be less carbs then and more protein and fats which provide more energy per pound. Things like Clif bars, lots of peanut butter, coconut, dates, nuts, dried fruit, brown sugar etc. This is what I was eating for lunch on this trip so I'd bring more of it.

    I'll bring a small wood burning stove like this one in case I need to cook something (if I catch a fish) or want warm water, and maybe bring some oatmeal for breakfast and a few dinner packets.
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    This Emberlit stove looks good, since it can also take a Trangia and packs flat.

    Emberlit Emberlit Stove FireAnt
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    OK so it's been a while... got sidetracked on other things. Here is the rest of the report.

    Day 9: Lower Duane Creek to Crystal Lake

    We headed out soon the next morning, apprehensive about the nasty snarl we'd be encountering, based on the previous report. The first 100 meters were pretty bad and we had to leave the game trail often to get around the deadfall but we soon headed up to the right and flanked the base of the talus slopes, which was actually fairly easily passable, relatively speaking.



    I'll post this map below which details the route up until the top of the bluff where the trail to Crystal Lake begins:



    River near meadow:



    On the dry pine area before the final Ravine of Hell:



    At the final Ravine Of Hell, I actually gave up and decided to leave the bike behind and just hike to the lake. I'd come back for the bike the next day. So I packed up my stuff and left it. Then, about 20m later, the terrain cleared up and I was on the final bluff! So I went back to get the bike. And it turns out that was a good decision since it was still quite a ways to the lake, not something I would have liked to repeat the next day. I'm sure there's a moral to that story, not sure what. Maybe don't give up? It's always darkest before dawn? Your bike is your friend? Or how about: don't slog your bike through nasty shite.

    Climbing the final bluff, you get views of the Lord River and Taseko Lakes:





    Stopping for lunch near the top:



    Nice!!!! Thank you!



    Once off the bluff, the trail winds down through uninspiring dense pine forest for a few kilometers, crossing a few creek bridges and steep ravines along the way.



    In places you can see how difficult it would be to move with a bike. You think you are getting through this? Good luck. You'd be lucky to do a kilometer a day. It'd be easier to haul your own personal chainsaw and make your own trail.



    In other places it's clear:



    We went so far that I thought we had missed the turnoff to the lake but then a trail finally appeared going down to the left. I wasn't sure what to expect at the lodge and I was hoping there would be people there who would provide a break from the isolation, info on local trails, as well as maybe food and accommodation since I had cash! We arrived at the immaculate tent camp and there was no one there. Oh well, at least we had the place to ourselves!



    I assessed all our food supplies and washed up in the warm lake, which must have been at least 20 degrees C.





    It is a very pretty lake with a beautiful view towards the mountains to the south and west. It is also clear with no glacial feed. There are lots of fish in it, jumping trout and these guys below which I think are dace:



    But the wind picks up in the afternoon, as it always does here in summer, a southern wind racing down the valleys pushing us northwards, which luckily is the direction we were heading and also the direction I'd be heading in future trips if I packraft down the Lord River and Taseko Lakes. So the camp gets the brunt of it, making afternoon lake excursions pretty rough.





    There's a reason they call it lodgepole pine! I'm not sure if they flew the lumber in to make the lodge or cut it up on site. No shortage of nice straight pine here though.

    Last edited by Mark_BC; 08-08-2017 at 09:59 PM.
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    Days 10 and 11: Crystal Lake to Taseko Road

    Early the next morning the wind had totally died down and we were serenaded by a loon.



    This was supposed to be an R&R day at the posh resort but I didn't know exactly how the trails linked up with the Taseko Valley so I wanted to check it out by foot with a light load rather than risking lugging the bike down a dead end the next day. That I did, except that I didn't want Reina doing much walking that day so I threw her in my backpack. It's good we did that scoping trip since I took a wrong turn to avoid a steep section heading up a hill to the left covered with deadfall. The fork to the right ended in a swamp, so the left trail did indeed seem to be the correct one. We followed this over the hill and started down the gradual decline to Taseko, far enough to convince me that it was the right trail, then we returned to camp. All told I hiked about 7 km that day.

    My cooking gear: A Trangia stove inside a Trangia bowl and MSR bowl, with a titanium Clikstand. I had to grind the Trangia pot a bit to get it to slide inside the MSR pot. Surprisingly I just could not find a small and light double-bowl setup for a Trangia so I had to make one. I need the double bowls because my dinners are large.







    Also I broke one of the attachment points for the pannier cord, likely from it getting snagged on a tree and me pulling hard on it:



    Zap straps should work:









    The next morning we headed out like usual, except I was able to push the bike (without pedals) fairly easily now! At the marshy end of the lake:



    Easy... at least, up until that steep hill with all the deadfall. It was pretty brutal; I had to take most of the bags off the bike and do the hill twice. It is a good trail except it looks like no one had cleared it since last year. It's unfortunate that all this deadfall was concentrated on the steep section!



    After this there was enough deadfall to make riding the bike probably not worth it, every 500 m or so. So I just pushed. If cleared, it would make for a nice ride. There is just so much deadfall out here. Normally this would burn to the ground and start a new forest but with fire suppression activities these pine forests just get too old and the trees die and fall over. You would never run out of firewood to burn here in a million years. Someone went to a lot of work to clear this trail though:



    We eventually got to the Taseko River and had to cross since I wanted to camp up at the road on the north side. The riverbank was steep and the little side channel we had to first cross was deep. I went for it anyways and dunked both wheel hubs in the water! I was so angry at myself. The last time I did this years ago the bearings went rusty and pitted, ruining the hubs. And the kicker was that the side channel was shallow only 10 m upstream and we could have crossed there! I was so disappointed and it threw me into a bad mood for the rest of the day and for the rest of the trip actually.

    The river was pretty high and it is good we had the packraft since it would have been a dangerous crossing otherwise.







    We started climbing the very steep opposite bank through nice dry meadows interspersed with forest. As it levelled out the trail was easy to lose since there are so many game trails here.



    Looking back south:



    I just kept trying to go from marker to marker as I did not want to have to bushwhack even a few hundred meters through brush. It can get nasty really fast. It wasn't long however before we came upon the road! I was so elated!



    My bike quickly transformed from this:



    To this:



    We rode only a kilometer or so up before finding a nice scenic spot overlooking the canyon and the broad valley to the south from which we had just come. And 50 m further up the road was a clear cold creek, perfect! It was a bit windy though but we managed to cook dinner OK. I had promised Reina that we would be having two dinners that night, each supposedly serving 2, which came to a grand total of 4 servings for myself and her. I don't get how they can claim that those dinner packets can feed 2. One packet doesn't even feed me; I have to beef it up with spaghetti noodles. Especially when you are hiking and have a bigger appetite.



    Last edited by Mark_BC; 09-19-2015 at 06:28 PM.
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    Days 12 and 13: Taseko Road to Warner Lake

    The weather looked a bit more foreboding the next morning and we got a few sprinkles that didn't amount to anything.

    Before:



    After:



    It wasn't long before Reina went berzerk barking at something down on a terrace in the canyon below. It was a black bear and I hollared but we didn't see it again. I was keeping her on the leash, or at least in control, at all times, after the bear encounter the other night.



    We started up the road and it climbed... and climbed... and climbed... For a few kilometers it just kept going up. I wasn't riding much, mostly pushing up the hills. I rationed that it must go down again since it does meet up with the river again. That it did.




    And I let Reina loose (dragging the leash behind her) as I rode. The deadfall was spotty. Sometimes we'd go a kilometer with nothing, and in other places it was every 50 m. On average I was humping the bike over / around a downed log every half kilometer or so.

    Some of the logs were brutal impediments. About 3 feet off the ground with thick branches making going both over and under nearly impossible with my bike setup. So luckily I had brought a folding saw which turned out to be really sharp and made quick work of the worst of the deadfall.

    Before:



    After:



    All along the Taseko road / trail were big wolf prints. They actually followed us past Warner Lake, up until they were obliterated by bike tracks.



    We arrived at a big creek crossing with various mining debris strewn about, where we had lunch. There were lots of raspberries here.





    I dunked the hubs again on this crossing but at this point I didn't care. And I dunked my food pannier too so I had to dry out my oatmeal packets in the sun.



    The terrain was often not too scenic, being stuck in forest. But every once and a while you get some nice views of the mountains and river.





    We got to the junction with the "road" leading up to the north into the Battlement area. I checked the map and stayed close to the river. Soon the road ended at a riverside campsite.



    ... and it was trail after that, with a nice big dead tree laid perfectly along the first little hill to welcome us!



    This area is a bit strange. There are all these old mining exploration tracks in the hills. I was hoping that a trail from Crystal Lake would meet up with one of these since it's only a couple kilometers from there to the southernmost mining tracks on the south side of the river. That would have allowed us to bypass the entire leg down to the lower Taseko River and the climb back up the mining road on the north side. Unfortunately there didn't seem to be such a trail. You can see the tracks on the far mountain here:



    But as we crossed various creeks along the trail, I noticed that each one seemed to have different shades of discolouration. One was leaving a grey / bluish slime on the rocks, another was deep orange, and another was very turbid. I don't know if this is natural or from the mining exploration activities that previously went on up there. I would presume natural since they haven't disturbed the area that much yet. I wasn't sure if it was safe to drink so I filled the Platypus bags anyways in case and hoped for a better source later on, which I did find in a little stream draining a swampy area.







    We plodded on through difficult trail conditions with deadfall and light sprinkles. I wanted to get up near the subalpine so that we could be sure we would be able to cross Warner Pass the next day with ample time to spare to allow us to get down the other side, should the weather not be agreeable. Finally, after clearing one deadfall too many, I gave up and found a meadow and camped there.

    The next day continued on with a few big creek crossings



    ... and up into the alpine and it got pretty windy.

    Looking back towards Taseko Lake:



    Looking forward towards Warner Pass, left of center:



    Looking up the other valley to the west of Warner Pass:







    There is a nice little lake on the north side of the pass and we stopped there for some peanut butter on Clif bars. The wind grabbed the Clif wrapper and blew it towards the lake. I raced after it and then raced back to find Reina lapping the peanut butter out of the jar. She sheepishly moved away as I yelled at her.







    After this the trail climbs a little pseudo mountain and is very steep and rocky. I had to do two runs, and even that was difficult. It would be like, "hold both handle bars, thrust bike up trail a foot, then grab both brakes to hold it there; use bike to pull yourself up trail. Repeat".



    Again looking back to Taseko:





    Then the trail crosses over to the pass proper. Looking back, with Reina pointed out for perspective:



    The final ascent up to the pass is also steep and loose and required two runs again, but you get up to the pass in good time. Finally we had made it! It was all downhill from there! Yeah right....





    Looking back to the Battlement Ridges from Warner Pass:



    It is only 2400m elevation, but feels higher from the exposure it gets. So now we had the leg down to Warner Lake to contend with. Soon enough Warner lake came into view:



    The trail is brutal; it is very steep and loose with cobble. It follows the sidehill and almost never relents. You would not want to fall sideways or you'd end up a long ways down those slopes before you stopped rolling.







    The trail continues along the sidehill the entire way until it finally reaches Warner Lake which provides a real campsite, a clear stream, and flat dry ground. Nice!



    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  50. #50
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    Days 14 to 17: Warner Lake to Slim Creek Main and Out

    I woke up to rain on the tent; I didn't know what time it was but knew it was early. Then the sound of the rain changed. You know how you can tell what state the precipitation is by listening to it hit your tent? Well I know what sleet sounds like and I could swear it was sleeting. Yup, it was, because it soon turned to snow! I couldn't believe it! Mid July and it was snowing. We were at 1800 m so not super high in elevation. But the mountains were getting the real snow that was sticking. Even though it sucked to be in snow here, at least I wasn't having to contend with Warner Pass that day so I counted myself lucky!



    I had zero interest in riding in snow or rain so we just waited it out. The rain was coming down pretty hard, contradicting my observation that the weather here often looks threatening but then just sprinkles. Soon I heard a plane flying up the valley. It landed on the lake and a few minutes later took off again, heading back down the valley to the south-east. It must have been some mountain bikers being dropped off. This was great news, since it meant that the trail would be clear of deadfall below that point!!!!

    Around lunchtime the weather cleared up a bit so we packed up and rolled out. Immediately upon hitting the trail, the rain started again. So out came the rain pants. I was actually genuinely riding my bike now now since the trail was indeed clear. It is a pretty rough trail and not ideally suited for a loaded bike with panniers. So over a lot of sections I was pushing, which was tricky since I had the pedals on and would often whack my shin on them.



    I wasn't happy about the sections of talus and climbing but we gradually worked our way down the valley to Trigger Lake. My gear was getting soaked. The wet bushes were making the gear 10 X wetter than it would otherwise be from just the rain. And the rain was off and on. I'd have my rain jacket on then it would stop raining and I'd take it off, then it would start up again. This was made more complicated by the fact that Reina was in my backpack!



    This was because technically dogs must be on leash in South Chilcotins Park (which we entered at Warner Pass), but also to keep her from chasing bears. Plus I was moving fast at times and she would have had a hard time keeping up, as well as wearing out her paws more.

    We were also getting low on lunches with about two left. My appetite was going insane. It usually takes a week or so for my appetite to catch up and I would have been constantly eating if I had that much food. We passed Trigger Lake but I wasn't interested in taking pictures or appreciating the scenery. I just wanted to get to the campsite on Hummingbird Lake, which we finally did late afternoon. There were some campers there! The first people we had seen in almost 2 weeks. They were two nice older couples who come to these areas in winter to ski but wanted to check it out in summer. One of the guys assured me that the trail from then on downwards was a piece of cake and that I'd be out by noon the next day! Awesome, since I was cold, wet and hungry, generally miserable all around, and just wanted to get to the store in Gold Bridge to gorge.

    Later that evening as it was getting dark some mountain bikers squealed along the trail and had a chat with the other campers. They were heading for Spruce Lake. You can move pretty fast on these trails with the proper bike and if you aren't loaded down with tons of gear.

    The next morning presented some brighter weather, though not entirely out of the woods yet.



    The trail had some uphill south of Hummingbird Lake and a few other sections of uphill around Cowboy Camp. But contrary to what the guy told me at camp, the trail was not all a piece of cake. There were some very tricky rocky sections, but also some really great downhill sections through the beautiful dry meadows and aspen groves. This would be a great trail to ride on an unloaded bike.





    Crossing Gun Creek:



    Lunch at Eldorado Creek:





    Almost out!



    But each uphill section was agony; I felt ever incline to my core. My body was just dead and I had no energy left regardless of how much food I was eating. It had been 2 weeks of brutal daily slogging all day every day and my body was saying enough. I finally got to the Jewel Creek trailhead late afternoon and I was pissed off at the false optimism given to me by the camper. Lunch time, my ass! Maybe dinner time if I really busted my butt. And there was nowhere to camp away from the roar of the river which I was not too happy about since a bear could sneak up on us. We camped in the parking lot.

    The next morning we ran out of both alcohol for the stove, and lunches, which was timed perfectly since we'd be getting into town for lunch. We rode down the Slim Creek Main which unfortunately included a 300m climb before steeply descending to Gun Lake and then further on down to the road in the main Bridge Valley.



    I set the tringle into the highest gear and we made good progress along the paved road into town, with Reina in my pack. The tringle had worked really well. You give up some freedom by needing to manually change the chain but it sure was hassle free. There is no way a derailleur setup would have survived that assault on my gear. And alternatively, an internally geared hub would have added significant weight which would have made hoisting the bike over obstacles more work.

    We got into town around lunch time and I immediately headed for the general store which luckily was open. I gorged myself, eating constantly for about an hour. It took a few weeks for my appetite to die down again, and strangely during that time I lost most of my sense of taste. Most things tasted like cardboard. This came on quickly, basically coinciding with the day I left the wilderness; hmmm, puzzling...

    I asked around for a ride up the valley and got to meet Pioneer Paul, the local "mayor" of town who deals with all these kinds of things. He has a tire repair shop. He asked around and said it would be a week before I could get my car out because they were re-decking the Nichols Creek bridge! Damn!

    I stayed at his place where he has a guest cabin. I took apart my front hub to inspect for rust and there was none thankfully. The next day he took me up to the Hurley Road junction where I'd try to hitchike back to Vancouver and return in a week to get my car, but only about 6 cars went by that day and none stopped. It worked out OK however since it turns out the next day I was able to get a ride up to the bridge by a guy on the crew and they'd be able to get me across! Only because I had a 4X4 with big wheels that can go over anything.

    So he drove me up to the bridge and then Reina and I hiked a couple km further up the road to the car. Almost every day there had been a mother grizzly with cubs showing herself at the bridge and I wasn't too keen on meeting her, and luckily we didn't.





    We got back to the car and whew! ... it hadn't been attacked by bears!



    Although one did leave some paw prints on it.



    There were tons of raspberies around here and I loaded up. I was almost ready to go and went to fling my orange and banana peels into the bush and to do this I took one step off the road. I snagged on a log and fell flat on my face into some prickly raspberry and currant bushes! I couldn't believe it, although I didn't fall face first since I put my hands out to brace the fall and they got full of spines. Man that hurt! So I spent 2 weeks slogging through the bush with all my gear, and I didn't slip or fall once, and then on literally my LAST step in the bush, I fall straight into prickle bushes! Man those spines took a long time to go away, weeks.

    We drove back to the bridge, crossed, and went home.



    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  51. #51
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    Summary:

    This was a great trip, but more difficult than I had expected, mostly due to the deadfall. If someone would clear the game trails along Duane Creek this could almost be a genuine epic bike route. It wouldn't be difficult to clear, just work getting the chainsaw out there. Also, the trail from Crystal Lake to Taseko needs to be maintained and of course the road up to Warner Pass. "They" need to maintain it, although I'm not sure who "they" are. Maybe "me"?

    I guess ideally what you'd do is hike the first half to Taseko and get the floatplane outfit in Gold Bridge to drop your bikes off at Taseko Lake beforehand, then you ride back. I think that is what I will do next time since I really want to paddle down the Lord River. I'll hike up Thunder Creek and cross the alpine over to the little feeder valley and go down to Taseko Lake and pick up the bikes. I don't know how else to do it, other than driving another vehicle around to Taseko Lake but that is a major detour and undertaking, adding probably 500 km to the drive to get all around. Alternatively you could ride your bikes north out of Taseko over the more gentle terrain of the Interior but that is still a few hundred extra km.

    Gear-wise, I will definitely try to get away from panniers next trip. They are a pain and just get snagged. I'd have to put more stuff in the backpack though which is a compromise. And I took too much stuff like usual, but not overly excessive. I shouldn't have taken my solar panel, which I did actually use for charging the Gopro batteries. It would have been much easier to bring extra batteries... If I really need a charger I could use a dynamo front hub. Also, I brought my fishing gear which I didn't use but it's always comforting to have it in case you need or want it. But ultimately, we were out for 2 weeks so by far the bulk of the weight was in food. You can't get away from that. Next time I will experiment with bringing food that doesn't need to be cooked since that requires hauling fuel around which is weight that provides no calories. It also requires valuable time at the end of the day that I'd rather be using for something else. Instead I will get one of those little titanium fold-up wood burning stoves in case I want to heat or cook something. Also, those freeze dried backpacking food packets are tasty, but they don't pack well. They aren't very dense. Plus they are mostly carbs and I would like to bring more oils since they provide more calories per unit weight. The ultra-expeditioners often just bring things like butter and peanut butter and that kind of stuff -- just pure oil and calories. No cooking required.

    I got a lot of great video footage so I could make a nice movie out of this and I will make sure I do this time!
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

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