49: Dease Lake to Jade City – 66 miles

Another morning of slow motivation, turned off alarm clocks and procrastination getting out of camp. The first quarter mile up the dirt road back to the highway was exceptionally steep and painful, and the road climbed some more in the first ten miles. With weather that couldn't make up it's mind and relatively un appealing scenery, I considered every reason to stop a good reason: four snacks and seven clothing layer changes later, the weather cleared up and I finally rounded a bend and found myself atop a long, sweeping descent down a mountainous river valley. It was ...

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45 – 48: Kitwanga to Meziadin Lake to Bell II to Kinaskan Lake to Dease Lake – 96, 57, 74, and 85 Mi

45: Apparently my body really wanted two days off so close together, because today I had LEGS ( and quite probably a tailwind). The miles this morning melted away, and by noon I'd already done 50. Just after lunch I rode past the places folks in Kitwanga recommended I camp. I stopped at a lake for a yoga break, where thousands of baby frogs had just hatched. Individually they were cute, but in that quantity they looked like swarms of termites or cockroaches - they created the illusion the whole ground was crawling, which was altogether kind of gross. I just kept ...

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Red Tarps & Red Tape

The Nepali Times just published a great article about the challenges that the Nepali bureaucracy poses to aid organizations like ours. What they describe is consistent with our experience getting aid into rural Nepal in the interval between the April 25th earthquakes and the beginning of the monsoon season in late June, detailed below. The whole article is worth reading, (link at the end of this post), but here's the key paragraph: While we were able to procure an initial shipment of several tons of food, tents, 32 tarps, and other assorted materials into Darkha in ...

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43 & 44: Smithers-ish to Kitwanga and weather day – 66 & 3 miles

Andy made blueberry pancakes this morning, and then the three of us set out - Andy and Kirsteen on mountain bikes and I weighed down with 10 days worth of food plus leftover brownies and grilled chicken from last night. After my grocery run in Smithers, I had to pack and repack meticulously several times to make everything fit and balance the weight evenly. My bike was so heavy this morning that I was grateful to be able to draft behind Andy and have an almost-all-downhill day (following the river) to get used to the extra weight. At Moricetown, about 12 miles down the ...

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41 & 42: Houston to Smithers and Rest Day – 42&2 mi

41:Houston to Smithers -42 mi Leaving Houston was a slow start. John and I both found it necessary to sleep in, and then make important phone calls before hitting the Great Emptiness that will be the Cassiar highway. My phone call (involving my health insurance and a prescription refill) was not fruitful, and left me frustrated and in a sour mood heading out of town. Unlike the previous few days, the short ride to Smithers got more and more scenic as the day went on. The climb up Hungry Hill was exceptionally sweaty, but that meant a long coast down the other side and ...

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Days 37-40: Purden Lake to Houston, BC- 50, 67, 70, and 68 mi

37: Purden lake to Prince George- 50mi On our way out of the campground, John and I stopped to chat with a German couple cycle touring across Canada. The beginning of the ride was nice, but a few miles out of PG we turned a corner from wilderness to an alien universe of industrial ugliness. We were hungry and stopped at the first gas station, where I caved to the lure of cheap hot dogs. When you're really hungry all the time, junk food is hard to resist.  I did not like PG and was very grateful for the security of John's company. As we made our way across town to ...

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Days 35-36: Mt Robson to La Salle Lake to Purden Lake – 79 and 66 Miles

Day 35: Mt Robson to La Salle Lake, 79mi Today was hard. After saying goodbye to Mr. Davidov and riding off in opposite directions, I was a bit overcome by loneliness.  I'm now just over half way in to my trip, which means I'm completely off-sync of all the logistics planning I did in May. I knew today's route in terms of "go down the road and stay left onto 16 and follow that for a few hundred more miles" but knew nothing about elevation profiles, camping options, etc. I was completely demoralized when I reached Tete Jaune Cache (named after a blond fur trapper) and ...

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Days 33 & 34: Jasper to Mt Robson and impromptu rest day – 66 & 2 miles (+8 miles hiking)

The ride out of Jasper was gorgeous and felt like it was all down hill, so I was surprised when I reached the top of Yellowhead Pass, crossing the continental divide and into BC. Either Yellowhead Pass is an enigma, or my legs are finally so strong they can't tell up from down.      They can, however, tell headwind from tailwind, and though it was definitely downhill from the not-pass to Mt Robson, it was certainly up-wind. My ride was uneventful and beautiful until I got to the visitors center and got a message from one of my favorite high school ...

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Days 30 -32: Lake Louise to Jasper – 59, 58 & 35  Miles

Luke's parents got home from their weekend getaway very late on Sunday night with a whole car load of fresh fruit and groceries. Megan insisted I take lots of cherries and blueberries with me :) The day started out cloudy and the weather progressively got worse. I stopped for second breakfast at Mosquito Creek when it started drizzling, and when it became apparent that it wouldn't let up for a while I kept riding. After cruising up Bow Pass (which, for the record, has NO business calling itself a pass compared to Montana's hills), I took a short detour to see Peyto Lake ...

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Day 28 & 29: Canmore to Lake Louise (56mi) & Rest Day (23 mi unweighted +4 mi hiking)

It was easy to get on the road quickly when leaving the youth hostel - no tent to pack up and no hosts to share leisurely breakfast/coffee/conversations with. The first leg of the ride was on the Legacy Bike Path which kept me safely off the freeway but had some annoying animal control gates that required dismounting. I got to Banff early and immediately felt claustrophobic -- even at the pre-tourist hour it felt kitschy and over stimulating. I felt obliged to be a tourist, however, and stopped at a coffee shop where yesterday's muffins were only $0.50- so I bought two! ...

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