An early morning start... I knew it would be a tough one today. Despite the rest day and eating a few burgers over the course of the day.. I wasnt confident that this was gonna work. Were my legs up to it... more importantly was my mind...
Todays section was through some pretty remote country and I almost certainly would have to bivvy. There was a v slim chance I could make the border but it was unlikely.
Leaving Fernie was similar to leaving Banff... a bit nerve wracking. The sun was already out though and it promised to be another scorcher of a day.
I had covered myself in deet but no need this morning... the mossies weren't out to play! Instead (too much info warning) ... there was an itch in the undercarriage area which might have been a reaction to the soap I washed my shorts with... either way... it proved to be a very uncomfortable hour in the saddle. Several baby wipes later and it seemed to do the trick. It had however distracted me from the bear fear and as I made my way out of Fernie and down the road... I blew no whistles and didn't shout!! The road was wide and good gravel and very soon I was out in the middle of nowhere. I saw lots of deer on this road... one with a baby which was pretty cute. As I came along... mum went one side ... baby the other. Round a bend or two and there they were again... re united! It was a very good distraction from the gradient. This road was technically part of the re route to get us from fernie back on track to the flathead section and it was hurting my legs.
Sometimes after a rest day your legs react badly but this was different... after they had spun round a few times I got this acute ache in both of them that lasted either till I stopped or dissapated after several revolutions of the pedals. I have had this before and someone came up with a likely reason which I cant remember for the life of me but probably had something to do with crappy diet.
Anyway... back to the road. It felt awful and didnt look too steep and had me wondering out loud.."what the hell has happened to my legs!!" Then I looked behind me and what seemed to have been gentle gradient was actually a hell of a slope. At least that explained why my legs hurt.
The lack of bear fear this morning was demonstrated by me getting out my ipod and switching it on!! Normally never without music... I have been a bit wary up till now of using it in case that bear sneaks up behind me! 😁😁
The first song?
Unsafe building!! That made me laugh... how appropriate.! For those that dont know its a song by Mike Peters who founded the charity I cycle for and starts... "Declare yourself an unsafe building!!" I do frequently declare myself unsafe but never more so than at this moment!!
The scenery was trying to make up for the gradient and I do remember through the pain and fatigue that the road opened out into the most beautiful valley below me with the view stretching for miles and miles. Pine trees and more pine trees...
The immenseness of it all..
And then... there was descent!! Now you would think that because up is up... down should mean down right??
Seems not. To go down one must often go up then down... then up a little bit... then down. After a series of rollers.. I eventually turned right to the road that would lead to a cabin... which was plan c. Just after I turned there was a rec site (camping site to us english people) and it was filled with people and campervans and ATV's. I passed but was soon caught up and overtaken by the ATV's in a procession to who knows where. Once they had passed I spotted this wierd chicken-like-but- not-quite bird who was chirrping madly. It soon became apparent why as just in front of me... flapping its stubby little wings wildly flew a baby chicken-like-but-not-quite bird. Very cute!
I carried on down the road plans a b and c for the day running through my head. Plan c was to stay at Butts Cabin about 60 miles into my day. This plan would only come into fruition if I was totally done in at this point! So when I arrived... I realised I wasn't.. totally done in that is... and also if I stopped here the next day would be hell! So I sat down and ate a load of sugar.
The cabin itself was pretty cool but smelt pretty dank and I was glad not to stay there. I also had a fair few hours of daylight left so had to make the most of them!
Just further on I turned onto the 'road' that led up and over Cabin pass. It was not a great quality trail and was really hard to cycle up... especially as my legs were starting to feel like they didn't belong to me. But I needed to get to the campsite on the other side (plan b)... I had accepted that the border was gonna be a stretch too far. However my new mantra "Its not as bad as the re route" did make me smile. Also ... wierdly... I started singing that ditty from friends.. ba ba bah .. the one that I think Ross starts whilst they are all sitting there ... and one by one they all join in. Of course it was a bit hard for me to do the joining in bit ... but I started it off!
That kept me amused for a little bit of the grind up cabin pass and by now my legs were so useless that I walked a fair bit. Eventually though... I hit the top! Woohoo. Just as well cos my legs wouldnt have gone much further up! The down was a bit sketchy... bumpy with shale everywhere. Never mind the bears.. I was barely hanging on to the bike at points. Fortunately my screechy brakes gave ample warning of my arrival 😁😁
As I got near the bottom of the descent I was keeping an eye out for the rec site I was going to stop at. I did screech to a halt when I saw this house though... it was a lovely wooden ranch style house... complete with its own helicopter parked in the back yard!! House and transport envy took over at that point!
However I had to continue onwards to my own version of the Hilton and not much further on I found the grassy track leading to Wigwam camp site. There was a picnic table and a toilet cabin and that was it!!
Looking at my options for pitching... I decided it would be easy to string the tarp up kinda over the picnic table... just in case it rained...
I rigged up the tarp and as I turned round I got a bit of a fright!! Standing there ... all nonchelantly... was a deer!! He just looked at me and calmly made his way round to the other side of my bivvy. He then stayed there... licking at the ashes of the fire (dont know why) and the fact thaf I was filming him and taking photos from a foot away didnt bother him in the slightest. Very cool.... although when he looked like he was going to try and become a tent buddy I shooed him away a bit. I did think that if he came and did that at night he would frighten me to death! But how lucky to be able to get that close!
I settled down... under my bivvy... fully intending to blog.. but the energy left me and I fell asleep clutching my bear spray!