Hate to disappoint anyone who expected me to be in Penticton or beyond by now, but I am just 61km from Hope up the Coq as of May 8th overnight. Let me explain: Snow. Lots of it.
PS: I started a “By The Numbers” page you can find on the top header panel. Hope this provides a snapshot of my journey at a glance. I’ll be updating this more frequently than doing blog posts. I’m also open to suggestions for additions to this page!
Mostly a prep day in Hope – breakfast, groceries, organizing, and getting advice from the Visitor Centre. While Hope’s Buy-Low Foods has no bulk section, I was able to stock up on the goods:
… Which enabled me to prep for the tough days ahead:
… The result of which was a delicious and nutritious lunch just outside Hope:
Insistent on avoiding the dreaded Coquihalla Highway, I took the trail instead. The Coquihalla River Trail started not so bad – quite nice actually, though the roads were rocky pothole central. My touring bike did fine, but this trail is built for mountain bikes and ATVs. I found some good views, spots for water refills, and neat little bridges across the river.
After a short cycling day, I found a great spot right by the river to set up camp.
These days blurred together in my mind, as they were quite similar. Back at it on the Coq River Trail.
There were some very green sections.
… and then I hit the white sections.
Met a couple ATVers who had to turn back because the trail was blocked by snow banks. Great thing about cycling is you can push your bike through! I told the ATVers they should shed a couple wheels 😉
Turns out those snow banks were the start of a 2-day grind primarily pushing my bike and gear through snow. Several long snowed over sections where I decided to unpack my bike and split up the load into two or three trips. If you’re looking for a challenging full-body and cardio workout, I highly recommend pushing a bike with 61 pounds of luggage through the Coq River Trail before the snow melts.
The scenery kept me going – I was surrounded by mountains, cris-crossing the river, and passing countless mini-waterfalls.
May 7th provided my first bear encounter: a black bear the size of a large dog about 20 metres ahead of me in a half-snow-covered section of the trail. I could not have been more prepared – bear bell attached to handlebars, animal repellant whistle on jacket zipper, and bear spray in water bottle holder. And it could not have gone smoother – I stopped, rang my bell a couple times, and it took a couple steps and ran away before I could snap a pic (sorry fans!).
May 8th around 3pm was my return to civilization, where I pushed my bike through about a 2km stretch of snow to a road just off the coq highway. Met a road worker there so kind he handed me a bag of sausages and insisted I take them! He then pointed me up the road to Britton Creek Rest Area, where I spent the night recharging the batteries, as well as my own.
So May 8th was my first “non-cycling” day. Far from a rest day, but with so much pushing through snow I did not clock in any kilometres on my Garmin. Good news is my cycling muscles are somewhat rested and ready to veer off onto the Kettle Valley Rail Trail tomorrow!