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Two climb day –Dease Lake to Mountain Shadow RV Park (84k/1753k)

(June 14 – written by Dave)

We were up early, ready to ride after a nice rest at the Arctic Divide Lodge.  I think we were the second couple down to the brekkie and ate heaps of food.  Just as I was starting to feel like a pig, Sophie came out of the kitchen with a basket of muffins – nice one Dave.  We still managed to eat a muffin each.

It was trying to rain as we started to leave so we delayed, all of about 10 minutes.  It really didn’t look like serious rain and just riding turned out to be a good call.  It was cold starting but we had the first of our two climbs start almost right away and we warmed up quickly.  Not long after leaving the lodge, we passed the “official” Arctic Pacific Divide sign – pretty weird actually as it was right in the middle of a slight incline with no noticeable change in grade – kind of a weird place for a “summit” sign.   I’m still not sure that the whole Arctic Pacific Divide thing isn’t just a tourist thing!

AP Summit

We were only 5k into the day when we saw our first (and last) bear of the day.  He happened to be right on the side of the road where, from a distance, I had sort of planned to have a quick nature break.  Needless to say, the nature break was postponed.  The bear looked at us but didn’t appear overly interested.  From my limited knowledge it appeared to be a small/juvenile black bear.  Bear count is now 9 black, 2 brown, FWIW.

The first climb was actually quite pleasant.  It was over 15k long and had some steep pitches but we both do a lot better when the climb is long and steady, as opposed to lots of ups and downs.  It could also be having the day off yesterday made us fresh.  It seemed like before we knew it, we were at Gnat Summit where we found the first summit sign of the entire trip – I’m still not counting the Arctic Pacific Divide Summit sign as a real summit.

First mountain summit of the trip 1

The next 20k was through a fantastic rolling summit meadow where you’d think we would have seen a moose or ten.  Nope, still no photo of a graceful moose with a mouthful of reeds.  The area is known for having caribou herds as well but all we saw was four horses (from a very remote farm) and a bald eagle.  Still it was quite pleasant riding with some small ‘payback for climbing’ downhills and a slight tailwind – yeah.

Bald eagle

We knew we had a downhill and another climb to get across the Stikine River.  The downhill was a ripper at 8% for 5kms.  We had to ride the brakes a bit, just to be safe.  The bridge over the river was quite impressive though I’m still not sure I like riding across these open grate decks.  We had lunch overlooking the river but didn’t linger as there were some dark clouds about.  (we managed to dodge them)

Stikine River BridgeStikine River Bridge grate - deckStikine River Bridge 2

The climb back out of the river was steep and had the only remaining dirt on the entire Cassiar Highway.  We’d seen a grader and water truck heading back to Dease Lake earlier in the day and sure enough, they had just graded the road.  This made it smoother but it was also wet and a little slippery.  We grunted up this part in low gears and were lucky to have no trucks or motorhomes pass us in this section.

Can't miss that KPH sign

Hard to miss that speed sign

The second climb was also good.  It was not quite as long as the first but took us to roughly the same elevation.  As we neared the top we could see storm clouds brewing in the surrounding mountains.  We rode fast to reach the end of the climb and the final decent into our home for the night at Mountain Shadow RV park.  It never really rained but at one point it almost looked like snow would get us!

Afternoon climb

The RV park is nice.  They have great views out to the mountains and some nice hiking trails.  We got camp set up and I walked the trails while Nancy took an afternoon nap in the warm tent.  I didn’t see any of the moose that the owners told us about, but neither did any of the hikers that I ran into.

Valley view

View at Mountain Shadows

Our site

Mountain Shadow

Another Mountain Shadow view

The park is for sale, as are many of the places we stop at along the Cassiar.  While clean and neat, they do have a lot of signs at this park, mostly telling you things that you shouldn’t be doing.  They have nice tenting area but it has no water near the tents and in the toilet block, the only place you can get water, there is a sign saying not to wash your dishes in the sink.  I’m not sure how you can say that you have tent sites when you don’t provide basic clean up areas – perhaps another Trip Advisor review is in order.

Dirty dishes aside, it was a very pleasant day.  We both rode strong and feel pretty good.  Tomorrow is kind of a funny day in that we need to split the next 100 miles into a 30 and a 70 mile ride – unless we bush camp.  Tomorrow is the 30 mile ride so we don’t need to be up early.  And best of all, there is a resort that serves pancakes 15k from here, so of course we will need to stop and see how they are.  So, it should be a really easy day – we’ll see…

Happy camper

Happy camper with a great dinner

Great dinner

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14 responses to “Two climb day –Dease Lake to Mountain Shadow RV Park (84k/1753k)

  1. Not sure how Dave does it, every time I read one of his posts I find myself wishing I was back on the trail with you guys.

  2. i would definitely bring a bigger bowl, less oatmeal and fewer clothes but I’d be there!

  3. What beautiful scenery. You two amaze me! I’m rather sad about the lack of a moose but there is still time!

  4. Beautiful pictures! What great country you are traveling through. Thanks for the picture of the bald eagle. So pristine. Dinner looks delicious. How did you prepare it?

    • Fried tofu first while legumes were soaking. Then tossed it all together with stock. It was really good. But that could have something to do with the location as well.

  5. nice hat Nancy 🙂

  6. What all is in that dinner bowl the Happy Camper is eating?

  7. I think you will enjoy the ferry ride from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy. Followed by the bike ride on Vancouver Island. We few years back we took the ferry from Port Hardy to Price Rupert and then paddled back in our Sea Kayaks back to Port Hardy taking the outside route. The scenery is spectacular.

    Jonathan’s paddled the Skakine river from the headwaters to the bridge you crossed.

    You can stay at hostel in Port Hardy. You can do you Laundry there.

    http://www.northcoasttrailbackpackershostel.com/

  8. Donaleen Kohn

    I didn’t get my Spot update last night. Has anyone else heard from them?

    • Hi – sorry, limited internet along here. We did do Spot but it must not have gone through. We were at Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park two nights ago and at Bell 2 Lodge last night. Today off to Meziadin junction.

  9. Donaleen Kohn

    I think that is the first time I didn’t get a Spot notice. Does that mean that this is the deepest wilderness you have been in?

  10. Actually, I think it is probably because I stopped the Spot too soon as it had started to rain. Spot will show it has (or is) sending the email but they suggest you leave it on for 10-15 min or so. I think I probably turned it off before it had a chance to complete the process.

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