Friday, December 2, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

Snow Biker's

After 3 nights, it was time to head back to the ranch. We got up at 5am, went to get the horses, saddled them, made breakfast (the rainbow trout we caught ourselves), made lunch bags and off we went. We didn't take the same route as when we came up to Spruce on day 1. This time, it was uphill straight from the beginning. Our boss told us not to worry because once you reach the top, it is all downhill to the ranch. Was he fooling us?

The way up was steep, very steep. We didn't really get the chance to pedal, it was pushing, pushing and some more pushing. Switchback after switchback. Tree after tree. Bear scat after bear scat. After two hours, before reaching the top of Windy Pass, Adam and me sat down for our lunch. The valley below us, snow dooming up above. At the top of Windy Pass, our companions on their horses who left half an hour after us, caught up with us. Right on time for taking pictures of Adam and me crossing Windy Pass', bikes on our backs, walking through snow, following Grizzly bear's tracks for directions. I know it sounds like a made up story, but it was the real thing. It was cold, my toes were frozen, I was tired and my back was hurting, but there was no time for resting. At the summit, it was too cold, and riding downhill is far from easy. It's maybe even more difficult than going uphill, especially when large parts of the trail are covered in snow.

So we began our descent to Eldorado camp. Left, right, left, left, right again. We crossed snow, creeks, mud pools, rocks and trees. Down in the valley we went to Eldorado to put up tents and get some cables to take back to the ranch. This was a difficult moment for Adam and me: we were hungry, exhausted, cold, wet and hurting, but we pushed through. Cowboy up and positive mental attitude (PMA) all day! After setting up camp, it was time to head home. Again, our boss told us: “It's slightly uphill, but not for long. Then you can follow the trail and you'll be at the ranch in no time.” Was he fooling us? By now, you should know how the stories goes. Indeed. It was steep and long. But this time, we had a grouse accompanying us during our ascent. For me, it looked like a big chicken, but that was maybe due to the fact that I was so hungry. Adam called me a silly Belgian when I said that, but you gotta give it to him. When he knew he was so hungry, he found the best way to get me motivated. He told me that he, before we left for Spruce, had bought ice cream for when we got back to the ranch. Not just any ice cream: Magnum Double Caramel!

At the final peak of the day and in the next valley: no trail. Only snow and animal tracks. So we followed the tracks to find our way down. No trail means free riding, snow and some more free riding. And some more snow. At one point, the tires of my bike were frozen. Snowballs came down together with us. When we finally made our way through the snow, we still weren’t out of the woods. Literally. Mud, creeks, trees blocking the trails, rocks, branches and leaves hitting our faces. I crashed 4 times. The first time in the snow. That one was really funny and didn't hurt. When crossing a small creek, I crashed a second time because the front wheel of my bike got stuck in the mud. Because of the soft landing in the creek, still no pain, only a bit more wet. But then, when we had picked up some speed, my brakes suddenly decided to stop working. I dodged the first 3 trees but not the 4th one though. I do not know how I managed to do it, but I jumped of my bike, letting the bike crash into the trees, myself landing just next to them. This happened on the Molly Dog trail. Black Diamond. Go me! Although my brakes didn't function properly anymore, I decided to get back on
my bike. Bad decision. Just on the next trail, Johnny's Lookout, it hit the slope with my left pedal, launching me of my bike, landing on the downside of the slope, holding on a branch so I wouldn't slide further down.

Adam looked down at me asking me if I was OK. I confirmed and told him that I didn't lose anything. “Even not your dignity?”, he replied. Twenty minutes later we were back at the ranch, sitting down at the table, enjoying a well deserved meal. We had ribs, some rice, a coke and dessert. After dinner I took a shower and went to bed. Before going to sleep, I had my Magnum Double Caramel. My Spruce Lake adventure had come to an end.

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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