Posted by: cherylyoung | December 27, 2012

Day 4 Cycle the Trans Canada Trail in B.C

Day 4  Cycle the Trans Canada Trail in B.C

 

Cycle the Trans Canada Trail In B.C

By Bruce Obee

I have one foot in B.C and the other in Alberta, and my head in the clouds.

It’s not the altitude dizzying my brain, but pure euphoria

“We did it” shouts my fried Mike LeBlanc, flexing his muscles on the Continental Divide.

Ahead of us, down there is Alberta, the turquoise lakes of Kananaskis reflect the frosted peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Behind us in B.C are the bicycle tracks we etched in the mucky gravel of the Trans Canada Trail as we inched up the western slopes of Elk Pass.

We had agreed from the outset to keep it simple.

No shuttle buses or backup vans.

We would simply cycle out my back door on Vancouver island and ride the Trans Canada Train across Southern B.C  A monumental undertaking, in theory: in reality, it’s just a matter of sweat and groceries.

Would you do this just for fun?” asks LeBlanc, a lanky athlete in his early 30’s .

I’m the same age as his dad.

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Maybe” I hesitate, reflecting on the journey.

Tending for 23 nights; riding 1.756 kilometres over seven mountain ranges; innumerable potholes and bone-rattling stretches of washboard; enduring bouts of lightning, heat waves, and bloodthirsty mosquitoes.

“It helps to get paid.

When the Trans Canada Trail Foundation assigned me to write the official guidebook to the TCT in B.C they sent along LeBlanc, The TCT’s trail identification officer, to lead the way…sort of.

It’s not his fault we got lost in the woods behind Nanaimo, or blundered in the unplanned detour on the boulder-strewn backroads of the Chilliwack Valley: our maps were sketchy.

And I can’t blame him for the she-bear and cubs we met in the Coquihalla, or that one in the Monashee Mountains: it’s our job to warn others about these trail hazards.

I soon discovered that the Trans Canada Trail is more a route than a trail.

Sometimes it’s a track through a forest or a farmer’s field, sometimes it’s a multi-lane highway, a downtown street, a logging road, an abandoned railway or a dike; sometimes it’s a ferry ride and , quite often it’s not where you think it should bet we found it, documented it metre by metre, and proved that you can load up a bicycle or backpack in Victoria, on the Pacific Ocean, and follow the Trans Canada Trail all the way across B.C to the jockty Mountains.

There are long stretches that can be travelled by horseback, in a wheelchair or with a baby stroller.

Cyclist can cover reasonably daily distances at an unhurried pace, breathing in the outdoor fragrances, hearing the rivers and birdsong stopping to chat with locals.

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“Probably, I confirm

“Probably what?” Probably I would do this for fun.

That’s easier to say now that we’re reached a high point.

We’re familiar with uphill balles by now.

Within the first 30 Kilometres of the trip, we had to grind up the Malahat outside of Victoria.

It set the tone for other heart-thumping sections to come: the unforgiving swithchbacks up Paleface Pass in the Cascades, the 14 percent grades over the West Kootenay’s Purcell Mountains:  challenges that pushed me to the edge of my physical tolerance.

It’s natural to expect a few hills.  B.C lies within the world’s major mountain systems.

Yet Trail BC, the organization responsible for the Trans Canada Trail here, has mapped out a surprisingly easy going route through the topography.

The TCT links together many long-established recreational trails, and in VC theat include urban walkways, rural dikes, and 670 kilometres of abandoned gently graded railway corridors.

From Brookmere, near Merritt, you can take your children or grandparents to Caslegaron more that 550 Kilometres of near-continuous old Kettle Valley line and Columbia & Western rail trail.

Ironically, one of my favourite parts of the TCT was a stretch I’d most dreaded the traffic-snarled gauntley through downtown Vancouver.

But as we wheeled off the Sea Bus-the TCT route from North Vancouver-we were directed onto a paved multi-use pathway that carried us safely around Stanley Park and False Creek onto designated bikeways out of town

Beyond the hum and glitter of metro Vancouver, the Trans Canada Trail becomes a leisurely tour of small town B.C.

Locals offered a heartfelt welcome as we rolled in, eager to show us their communities, share their knowledge, trails and favourite places.

We British Columbians brag unabashedly about our finest scenery, but our people are even finer.

Now up here in the clear Rocky Mountain air, vivid moments stand out, from the blur of people, places, triumphs and surprises over the past three weeks.

Gauging the personal significance of this journey will come later, for now I’m happy to have completed on of the great cycling routes of the world

Though I’m not quite finished yet.

Next up: the northern BC leg of the TCT, whick follows the Alaska Highway from Watson Lake, Yukon, for 978 kilometres to Dawson Creek, BC, then traces back roads for 73 kilometre to Alberta.

If we still have energy to burn after that , there is plenty more trail to ride.

Linking all provinces and territories, the TCT total length in Canada is 21,000 kilometres.

Info www.trailsbc.ca   www.tctrail.ca

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CHERYL C YOUNG, REALTOR

SAANICH PENINSULA REALTY

SIDNEY B.C   www

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