(June 11 – written by Dave)
Wet, wet, wet at the camp last night. In fact, it rained really solid from 9PM until 3AM. We were in bed early and by 3AM we both needed the loo and could hardly wait for it to stop raining so we could make the dash. Yes, tent camping is very glamorous.
We were up early and it wasn’t raining so we moved everything into the pavilion to pack up, just in case it started to rain again. The ranger came by to tell us that there was no rain forecast for the day and she turned out to be right. Unfortunately, we would also have winds from the SW, our direction of travel. She also told us that we would be crossing both the Continental Divide and the Artic Divide during the day sometime. She said there would be signs but it turned out that there weren’t any – or perhaps we just haven’t reached the points yet. When we get internet, we’ll try figuring out where they were, it wasn’t obvious from the route.
We had lots of ups and some headwinds for most of the morning, making slow progress to our first second brekkie at Good Hope Lake – a town with a post office and all of 28 residents. We purchased a cinnamon bun from the refrigerator, heated up in the microwave and a cup of tea – actually it was better tasting that it sounds. There were a few inebriated folks in the store – perhaps a hangover from Saturday night – a bit of weird scene for a Sunday AM but we needed a break.
It was very scenic today with one new mountain peak around every corner. I stopped for a few too many photos and Nancy always waited – staying close for bear safety. We only saw one fleeting black bear running away from us but after our encounters of the last few days we decided to be safe. Actually, we tried a new approach today – we both attached our bear bells to our bikes so we jingle jangle quite a bit on these chip seal roads, so perhaps that is the way to go. It helps save your breath from trying to yell while you are talking or make other loud noises anyway.
We eventually made it to Jade City and had another stop for free coffee and a check of the weather. It was sunny but our route was long and we wanted to know what the rest of the day looked like. While there we purchased a small souvenir piece of jade, which Nancy is carrying on her bike (Editor’s note – not sure how this ended up in my pack, as Dave is the one who picked it out. Thank goodness it is small). We also ran into a motorcyclist named Henry. He told us of a possible place to camp only 20 miles away. This was music to our ears as the wind and hills were wearing us down.
For the next while we had headwinds but almost out of the blue we then had tailwinds. We pretended to not notice for fear of ruining our good fortune. The nice winds last for a good 10-15k, before turning on us again. I think it was just being in the mountains and how the hills affect things locally – whatever the cause, we were very happy for the afternoon push.
Almost to the mile we came upon Henry’s recommendation and pulled in a driveway with signs for camping, showers and WIFY. We were greeted by Sarah – her boyfriend and the outdoorsman behind the project, Greg, was away for the day. Sarah showed us to our tent platform with an amazing view out over the Dease River. She showed us around the place, including the outdoor shower. We were sold and called it a day. It is a small place and we understand this is their first year doing this – they don’t advertise so that is why we couldn’t find anything out about it on the web. (Sarah informed us later that they put the sign up three days ago, had Henry for 2 days and then us, their second and third guests – we were really happy to find it, it really was a magical location)
After nice hot showers, watching the fledgling bald eagles fly over the river and lots of photos we were getting settled in for dinner. I decided to take one more photo of the tent from up the driveway a bit. As I started to walk up past the house, a 3-4 year old grizzly started to walk down the drive towards me. I sort of froze, calling out to Sarah in the house. Sarah is only sort of local, she moved here from the Philippines only a four years ago. She basically said that the bear shouldn’t be here, to which the bear promptly turned around and walked back up the driveway and out of sight. Nancy came out with the commotion and saw the bear as well. Wow – that was almost too exciting. (Editor’s note – don’t really need that kind of excitement…)
We made a fire, a big fire, and cooked dinner, keeping one eye looking up the drive at all times. We’ve asked Sarah if we could put our food in their car for the night as well – no point enticing the guy back down the driveway. We are now settling in now and hoping for a quiet night, bear spray at the ready.
Tomorrow we are up at 6AM as that’s the best time to see the moose that live in the river below our tent – fingers crossed that they come out tomorrow and the forecasted rain doesn’t muck up visibility. We’re off to the town of Dease Lake and a day off the following day. It will be our 8th day riding in a row so a break sounds good.