(June 15 – written by Nancy)
We had a very quite night in the Mountain Shadow’s tent area. The only other guest was a Swiss guy who was riding his motorcycle from Alaska to Argentina. He had a year or so to complete the trip. He was going back-to-back 1,000k days to get south to warmer weather. It made us tired just thinking of riding those k’s in a day, even with a motor.
The only noise we heard in the morning was our Swiss friend tipping over his motorcycle as he tried to get started. We just heard the yelling and first thought perhaps a bear had wandered in the site (the owner told us yesterday there was a black bear around). Dave discretely checked on him and saw that he had tipped over his bike. We waited a bit and he was able to get the bike back upright and started. No harm done, short of a little wounded pride. He has a long way to go to work out how the bike handles. He just lifted his hand a bit to wave at us as he rode past.
The climb out of the RV park was quite a challenge. It was very steep with grades over 11% and some loose gravel. It was only 800 metres long but a hard way to start riding without much of a warm up. From the top of the drive it was mostly downhill to the small village of Iskut – we didn’t stop as we didn’t really need anything. There is a grocery store there, but we heard from bicycle travellers going the other way that they did not have much in the way of stock-other than the ubiquitous potato chips.
There were quite a few lakes and creeks today, even with the short distance. The gradients were kind – just a bit of up and down but not too much. We rode alongside Tatogga Lake, and stopped at the Tatogga Lake Resort for a second breakfast. It’s another neat old lodge that has survived the years and is still in operation. It has 10+ cabins and a new building with 20+ motel rooms so seems to be doing well. They operate until early December as there is quite a bit of hunting activity in the area- the area is known for a specific type of sheep. There was a full size moose (stuffed) in the lobby area, together with several other stuffed animals. In an adjacent room there was an ‘honor’ display of arrows with the details of the stone sheep taken attached with cards.
Second breakfast went down well – Dave had pancakes (with blueberries) and bacon and I had a bacon and egg sandwich – closest I could get to an egg and bacon roll. We got two extra pancakes to take away with us, thinking they might make a tasty lunch once we got to our campsite.
It was only about 25k from our breakfast stop to the campground, but we did manage to fit in another bear sighting. A black bear ambled across the road up ahead of us. Fortunately there was a car coming our direction that seemed to spook him so he ran off into the woods on the other side. We didn’t see him when we rode by – that’s the kind of bear sightings that I can live with!
We set up at Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park. It is a lovely campground and we have a nice tent spot right on the lake. The lake is apparently known to be good for fishing, and two Ministry of Transportation guys came by in their van just after we got here and put a canoe in to do some fishing – on their coffee break, they said….
We made Vegemite and cheese sandwiches out of our pancakes for lunch. Interesting combination that wasn’t too bad, actually. I don’t really like Vegemite but a little bit with cheese is okay. Dave was in heaven, as he would eat Vegemite on anything! We even got the frying pan out to heat them up and melt the cheese a bit.
It is pretty chilly now, and we had some sprinkles just after we finished lunch, which pushed us into the tent for a bit. There was a 2 kilometre walk around the lake that we would have done had it cleared – it didn’t. There is no pavilion here to shelter under like we had at Boya Lake, though there are some small covered areas around the garbage cans – which is where we ended up after 4 hours resting in the tent while it rained. We emerged when the ranger came by to collect the fee. Well, they don’t charge fees to bikers – nice!
When we finally got out of the tent we noticed two cans of beer on our table. It looks like perhaps our friends from the Ministry of Transport left us a treat in exchange for parking in our spot. We kind of hoped that they would catch some fish and offer us a sample. We didn’t get out of the tent when they came back but we’re pretty sure that they left us the beers – nice again!
Later while under the garbage area cooking our nasi goreng, Dave decided that we really needed a couple eggs to finish it off. I had earlier asked the warden but she did not have any. So Dave knocked on the door of the big California motorhome parked next to us and offered them $2 for 2 eggs. They were more than happy to give us two for no cost – nice for the third time. Nasi goreng turned out great!
Tomorrow is a long day, 75 miles, to another lodge called Bell II. They have full services and a restaurant, so we are aiming to make it as there is nothing really in between. There is a little bit of climbing but it doesn’t look too bad. Hopefully we won’t have rain….