cycling Hydraulic Lake to Penticton BC

July 29, 2019 – day 20

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Best. Day. Yet.

Even better than yesterday’s Best. Day. Yet.

First up, first gone from Hydraulic Lake Campground, I was really looking forward to the day.


The past 2 nights had been surprisingly cold. The elevation, I’m assuming, as weather continues hot and clear.

This morning was tranquil.

McCulloch North Dam reservoir

There’s Kelowna far below.

I was second to arrive at the famous Myra Canyon Trestles, the best section of the Kettle Valley rail trail and — indeed — one of the highlights of Canada’s Great Trail.

18 wooden trestles and two tunnels!

People drive to one end or the other and rent bikes. They’ve had groups as large as 60 people!

… lightning sparked the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire …

This fire engulfed many portions of the KVR between Penticton and McCulloch Lake. After a valiant fight …, the fire unfortunately claimed 12 of the 18 trestles …

Restoration of the trail was completed, with an official re-opening ceremony held June 22, 2008. …

I took quite a bit of GoPro video which I won’t edit until end of trip.

I had been a bit disappointed in the amount of wildlife I’d seen so far. After 2 bears on day 1, I’d seen mostly deer and rabbits since.

But todayI saw two more bears. One still almost a cub. The other a BIG Black Bear. Both ran away so quickly I didn’t get photos.

The big one was on the trail between me and an oncoming German cyclist. He pulled out a whistle and reached for the Bear Spray mounted on his handlebars. This was only the 4th bear he’d ever seen. Big excitement.

Once past Myra the downhill into Penticton is mostly great riding.

I did take one shortcut trying to cut off about 6 miles. My road was probably tougher than sticking to the trail. AND I somehow broke another spoke.

While my spoke was being repaired in a bike shop I enjoyed a good break in town. Catching up on these trip reports, for example.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

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cycling Midway to Hydraulic Lake BC

July 28, 2019 – day 19

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Best. Day. Yet.

Midway is the start of the famed Kettle Valley rail trail. And it lived up to billing.

Loved it.

Kettle River

It’s tranquil. Pretty.

I left a Summit Stone a challenging reach away on this pretty rail bridge.

Starting the day the trail surface was pretty good.

I stopped many times today. At this Cyclist Rest Stop, for example.

And this … doll house?

One young German cyclist I met loved all this wilderness.

Though my bike is heavy, I managed the 2% constant uphill grade quite well.

Lakes provided much of the water needed for train boilers.

Arlington Lakes

Later in the day, the trail got rocky. A Mountain Bike would be superior to my hybrid.

Late in the day I stopped at Hydraulic Lake. Very pretty. The haunting call of the Loon.

A couple from Kelowna offered me water and leftover dinner. I couldn’t say no. 🙂

And did I mention the wine?

Click PLAY or watch today’s ride on YouTube.

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4-5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24info | video

cycling Christina Lake to Midway BC

July 27, 2019 – day 18

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As my stomach was not 100% I took an easier day.

The only thing worse than explosive diarrhea is explosive diarrhea while cycling. 

I hung out at the Grand Forks library, for example.

It was 1pm before I really got going on the rail trail.

Grand Forks

It is lovely country here close to the U.S. border.

Some sections allow motor vehicles. Too bad.

A tour of 5 of these vehicles passed me by.

At one point I was stopped by fire fighters. They were putting out a small blaze up high on a mountain. I watched the helicopter make multiple runs down to the river.

Very lucky this summer, I’ve not personally had any fire delays or smoke.

For the most part, the rail trail stays high above the road.

A highlight — again — were the many tunnels.

Though long deserted, stations like Eholt were once bustling little towns.

Eholt

This rancher decorated rail trail fence with used bikes.

The trail is mostly unpaved here. Mixed surface.

Certainly the rail trail is a real tourist attraction along Highway 3.

I stopped for the night close to Midway. Here begins Canada Trail’s most famous cycling section — the Kettle Valley rail trail.

Click PLAY or watch the ride on YouTube.

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cycling Castlegar to Christina Lake BC

July 26, 2019 – day 17

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FINALLY.

Castlegar is the start of the former Columbia and Western railway, now a multi-use recreation trail extending 150 km (95 miles) to Grand Forks.

I had camped close to Tim Horton’s for a QUICK JUMP in the morning.

… But decided to wait until 9am to get my front wheel checked.

The techie recommended I replace my bald original tire with the one he used 4 months Cairo to Capetown. I instantly concurred.

After the repairs made by Dave Adlard a few days earlier, my bike has never been better.

I visited the Waldie Island Trail before leaving town. David Thompson was here in 1811.

Off to the rail trail.

The Columbia and Western starts here at the 1968 Keenleyside Dam monument.

This really is lumber country.

I started using the dedicated Great Trail app.

The ride parallels the gorgeous, tranquil Columbia River.

As in Washington State, there are a lot of tunnels.

It was hour after hour of relentless 2% uphill grade until I reached the summit at Farron after 52km.

I’d actually run out of water in the hot sun. Until this gushing spring.

There’s Highway 3 overhead.

I crossed these kind of bridges, instead.

Finally Christina Lake came into view.

The town had no power for the second time in a few days. One lakeside gentleman offered me a Rickard’s Red in his yard as I waited on tourist information and grocery store to open.

I ended up wild camping. A nice spot. Perfect evening.

I was very tired, very happy after a long day.

Strava said it was 107 km.

I’d done 135 km and 130 km the two days prior, but those were much easier highway miles.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4-5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24info | video

cycling Metaline WA to Castlegar BC

July 25, 2019 – day 16

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Reluctant to depart my perfect campsite, I enjoyed 3 large cups of camp coffee before packing up.

It was only about 12 miles to the border at Nelway, a nice crossing.

Back in Canada, eh?

B.C. has had more big hills than did the Idaho panhandle.

Coming into Trail.

Happy happy.

I wanted to get off the highway and join The Great Trail (formerly Trans Canada Trail) as quickly as possible.

Yet I ended up on highways for the rest of the day getting to Castlegar, one Great Trailhead.

Columbia River

In South America I used a popular app called iOverlander that provides tips for travellers. It doesn’t have much data for North America, but I did use it in Castlegar to find camping.

A nice spot.

For the first time in decades I had some knee pain. … Worrisome.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4-5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24info | video

cycling Newport to Metaline Falls WA

July 24, 2019 – day 15

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My least favourite cycling day so far. Most of the day looked like this. Boring (and dangerous) highway.

On the bright side it was much cooler after the rain storm the night before.

You’d think cycling alongside the Pend Oreille River would be scenic. But the water is often out of site.

There are some nice stops, of course.

Bald Eagle nest

As you approach the Canadian border there is less and less development.

Sweet Creek Falls was a nice hike.

There are some big dams.

Dave had suggested I check out Metaline Falls. And it is a lovely town.

From there I headed towards Sullivan Lake finding my best campsite so far. This is National Forest.

I was able to dry everything.

And I enjoyed a campfire.

Only rarely do I have the time and energy to set up a fire.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

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cycling Athol ID to Newport WA

July 23, 2019 – day 14

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After a glorious week off hosted by the Adlards, it was finally time to resume my Pacific N.W. bikepacking adventure.

I had decided to head north to join the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in B.C.

Departing, Jeni and Dave led me on the longer, hillier, more scenic route north from Dave’s house to Sandpoint.

Jeni was just back from Europe. One highlight was via ferrata in the Dolomites.

Wild turkeys.

Dave had a turnaround time. He and Jeni raced back to his house.

Laer I got stuck behind a stopped train.

For some reason I thought this was a pedestrian bridge across the lake into Sandpoint. Unfortunately it’s TRAINS ONLY. I had to backtrack.

Click PLAY or watch the morning on YouTube.

I took a long break in Sandpoint delaying getting back under the hot sun.

In fact it was a bit of a struggle carrying on with a narrow shoulder and a Great White headwind.

Only 5 miles of Highway 2 departing Sandpoint is on dedicated non-motorized trail.

Tired and hot, I took frequent breaks.

Finally, I set up in National forrest.

Click PLAY or watch the afternoon’s ride on YouTube.

During the night we had a huge lighting storm. A bit scary in a tent, it was a show.

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