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Old 09-15-2007, 12:41 PM   #1
calrider OP
I'm Lost Too!!
 
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Canadian Rockies Back Country Solo on an XR250

I signed up for the Horizons Unlimited meeting in Nelson, BC this summer. My parents only live a couple hundred km away in Cranbrook, so I trailered the bike to Cranbrook and then spent a few days in the bush getting to Nelson the "hard way round" (regards to Ewan and Charlie ).

Here's the GPS track of the whole thing...Kootenays trip.gpx
Just download it and then open Google Earth and then open the track inside Google Earth.

Here she is, all ready to go.


I have not yet built any racks so everything was just lashed to the back fender. Looks a bit like the Clampetts heading for Beverly Hills. Not the most stable arrangement (as you'll see later), but it would have to do. After all, isn't it all about just getting out there!?

All great Canadian exploratory journeys of the early 21st century must begin with an auspicious send-off meal. The venue of choice:


Chili and a coke. How appropriate. (apparently you're not supposed to ask what goes into the chili)


The economy in Western Canada is insane at the moment. Boom times all around. Nobody can find service workers any more. Businesses no longer seem to be using their signage to advertise their wares, rather, they are advertising for employees!


After about 15km of wearing down my knobbies on the slab, I hit the Wildhorse Creek forest service road. WooHoo! Things are beginning to look up!


Notice the campfire ban. Dry Dry Dry!

This area was once the site of a major gold rush. Placer mining still goes on to this day.

If you're unfamiliar with Western Canada and the province of British Columbia (BC), let me tell you a little about it. For the past 100 years, this has been a logging and mining area. The back country is riddled with logging and mining roads. The mountainous terrain is steep, rugged and glaciated for most of the landscape. Human habitation is restricted to the narrow, deep habitable valleys and a few plateau areas.
Here's a cell phone coverage map to give you an idea.


The province to the east (where I live) is Alberta. Great cell coverage because it's FLAT.

BC covers a huge area and at 944,000 sq km, is almost 1.5 time the size of TX. Over 2 million of the 4 million inhabitants live in the Vancouver area. And most of the rest are in the temperate valleys of the southern interior. So you can imagine that when you're in the back country it's easy to find places where you'll not encounter anyone over several days of riding.

Mussio Ventures publishes excellent back country map books that provide a general idea of roads and recreation areas. Although things change rapidly and I've often come to non-existent bridges and completely new roads. Here's my high-tech map holder. (held on with twist ties. later "upgraded" to zip ties) I'm thinking of selling the twist-tie system... any takers?


Bike started going a bit squirrely. Dooh!


Decided to scrap the "criss cross" system for a "straight over" system. Much better!

Typical bridges on old logging roads. Sometimes the boards are rotten (you can see it starting on this one), so it's a good idea to check it out first. Especially since the boards go lengthwise, not crosswise!


Saw a couple of these in quick succession. Creepy. Slowed down.


I'd seen a hiking trail on the map and hadn't decided whether or not to go for a hike, but when I saw the road leading up, I couldn't resist.


This moose eyed me suspiciously as a parked my bike and prepared to hike up the trail. It's not rutting season yet is it?? Maybe she's liking the size of my handlebars. (This became the ride of moose(s) later)


A pretty trail led to a picturesque alpine lake. (about 4km hike and some elevation gain)




The microclimates in BC are crazy. You can go from dry sagebrush to cedar and hemlock rainforest in 20km.

After the hike, I rode back down into the valley and continued up the Wildhorse River FSR (Forest Service Road). Passed by a hunting outfitter's camp and continued up to the headwaters of the Wildhorse until I hit this:


YIKES! Good thing I was taking it slow!
Managed to gingerly pick my way past this one. (definitely some sphincter tightening goin on here)

Here's a Youtube Link Vid:





And then hit this:


See the bike in the background? Well, with two people carrying/pushing the motorbike, it might have been possible, but alone... no way.

But there must be a way over the pass, it shows it on the map. So I went back down (yes, sphincter exercises again at the landslide) and turned up a lower road. After a short distance, there was an ATV track hacked through the bush (steep, twisty, rocky, rooty, muddy) that lead up to the original road beyond the "sinkhole". I was back on track again!! No pics of that section. I was too busy just keeping the rubber side down. If I'd have stopped, well, you know the story. Good luck getting going again.

Encountered another slide a little further along, but this one was easy.


As I kept climbing to the pass, I got into some avalanche slopes. Had not seen another person since the hike.


This area is just to the west of Top of the World Provincial Park.


The map book indicated that there was a trail that went over the pass and hooked up to logging roads coming up from the other side. So far so good. I reached the pass and was able to see into the valley down the other side. It was unclear, however, if the road was passable further down the valley.
Here's the valley I needed to go down.


So far, I had not committed the cardinal sin..."Don't go down something you don't think you'll be able to get back up". That was about to change...

(OK, I've taken about as much time away from my work as I can justify at the moment... further installments to come in a while)

calrider screwed with this post 03-06-2013 at 01:10 PM Reason: update links
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Old 09-15-2007, 12:50 PM   #2
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Back country riding at its best!! You sure could use a riding partner. Thanks for the great pics and report

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Old 09-15-2007, 12:53 PM   #3
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Solo!

tough country for solo riding.....thx for good pix....bruce
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Old 09-15-2007, 01:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Back country riding at its best!! You sure could use a riding partner. Thanks for the great pics and report
Yeah, I know. But my work is pretty flexible and I tend to just head out spontaneously. Hard to find people who can just come along...
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Old 09-15-2007, 02:49 PM   #5
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That looks like quite a ride. Great pics too. Thanks for posting.
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:17 PM   #6
GalacticGS
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Great ride, great adventure, great pics!

Anxious for more...
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalacticGS
Great ride, great adventure, great pics!

Anxious for more...
Coming soon.... Also hope to add a couple video clips.
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Old 09-17-2007, 05:51 PM   #8
roadholder
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Great ride and pics! I definitely have to spend some time out west again!
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Old 09-17-2007, 06:37 PM   #9
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I have hunted up there. See any Elk in your travels?
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:13 PM   #10
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A bit more

OK, so I've got a few minutes to procrastinate from my "real" work and do a bit of an update.

I left you just as I was about to head down,down,down to hopefully connect with better roads on the other side of the pass.

Ended up heading down a stupidly steep ATV track down through the logging cutblocks. (Not gonna get up that again if I need to go back)

No pics, because I was doin all I could just to keep it together. Did get a bit of video at a creek crossing, though.




Then suddenly the trail turns UP the next valley... That wasn't supposed to happen.

Oh well, see where it goes. After about 8 km I stopped here:



Could have gone through, but it was getting late and I really wanted to get to somewhere where I knew I was OK again.

Just across the creek, there was this outfitter's cabin:


Now I knew why the ATV track was there and why it went back up this valley. Obviously a remote cabin belonging to the hunting outfitter I saw back down the other valley. Thanks to him for keeping the trail open!!

So, time to go back down the valley and hope to find a way to get back to some semblance of civilization.

But not until I make it past the guardian of the gate:


I think she liked the look of my "horns" (handlebars). Must have been the rakish angle of my rear views. Just kept standing there and staring at me. So I revved a couple times, beeped the horn and started moving towards her. She finally, reluctanly, loped off ahead of me. Guess she figured I wasn't her type. After about 400meters, she finally headed off into the rhubarb. Moose are kinda dumb that way, they take the easiest route (in this case the road) to escape. A lot of them get killed by trains that way in the winter.

The ATV track continued down the valley and then went straight down the side of the valley though several cut blocks to some lower trails. (see the right-angle track on my GPS track.)

Managed to make it through that and then came to another creek crossing. I basically had to drop off a little cliff to get into the creek. I know I was never going to make it back up that if I needed to go back. Time to sit down with the maps, GPS and a little bit of divine guidance to figure out whether I should push on or not. Spent about 1/2 hour pondering and still didn't have any flashes of brilliance. OK, walked across the creek and about 1km down the trail on the other side. Looked half-decent so I decided to go for it.

Made it across and puttered off down the trail on the other side. actually quite a good old logging road. CLUNK! Whaaaaat? Didn't like the sound of that. Front tire shouldn't sound like that when it hits a rock! Funny, tire looks OK though.... CLUNK! Whoooaaaa.... Time to stop.

Squeezed the tire... FLAT. But sidewalls are so stiff it looked fine. No repair kit... (NOTE TO SELF!!)

OK, well, lets see how it does with no air. (really no other alternative at this point)

I continue on and it seems to be fine. Shift my weight to the back and avoid all lumps in the road. Suddenly I'm back on a "Class A" logging road.
Whew, I made it through!!! It's all good from here.



I wanted to camp at Ram Creek hot springs so I took the side road up and suddenly things didn't look so great anymore.



The road had turned into a river. After about 2km of this, I finally found the culprit:



Beavers had dammed the creek and diverted it onto the road!

I couldn't resist... I set about doing some "reverse engineering". Tore out a bunch of the sticks and watched the water cascading down the creek bed. Flashbacks to me as a 10-yr old building dams in the drainage ditches in the spring and backing up the water then letting it all go and watching it tear down the ditch in a "flash flood".

Beavers probably had it all repaired by the next day (they're like that...busy)

Made it down to the hot springs and set up camp in the dark and cooked a bit of dinner.


Then I headed up to the hot springs at 10pm and lay there in the water until 2am watching the milky way, shooting stars, satellites and the occasional jet plane. Not another soul around. Pools in the middle of the forest all to myself.

OK, need to get back to work now...

calrider screwed with this post 09-17-2007 at 07:36 PM
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kootenay kid
I have hunted up there. See any Elk in your travels?
Nope, but cow moose everywhere.
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadholder
Great ride and pics! I definitely have to spend some time out west again!
Thanks. Yup, come out. It's not going anywhere. (well, maybe Vancouver will be when the big one hits)
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:23 PM   #13
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It looks like you went solo.

Nothing like solitude off the beaten track.
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Global Rider
It looks like you went solo.

Nothing like solitude off the beaten track.
Yup, somehow solo makes it more "real".
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:49 PM   #15
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Did you get air in that tire?
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