Spruce Lake - Aug.1999 long weekend.
The destination for this long weekend was the Chilcotin area, near Goldbridge/Carpenter Lake. Its about a 5 hour Drive north of Vancouver past Whistler, 2-1/2 hours are on a logging road which gains 5000 feet of elevation on a switch backed climb that is pretty fun when driving an all wheel drive Subaru that is not yours... Especially when you return that way and take a corner a little bit too fast.
We managed to find a camping spot in the first place we stopped, Gun Creek Campground, and parked the two (no we are NOT yuppie's ) subaru twin station wagons.
Since we got there early enough on Saturday Bob grabbed his GPS and 1:50,000 Topo map and we headed on our way.
Having been there before we sort of knew where we wanted to go but not exactly... We started up a double track that should have taken us along a nice gently climbing grade, but we found the road just kept going up and up and up. We decided to consult the GPS/Map and determined that we were on the trail that was crossing a lot of contour lines... now we know what a trail that crosses a lot of contour lines looks like on a 1:50,000. Isn't learning great! So back down we went and found the correct trail only to come across Pearson CREEK with the washed out bridge. Not to be deterred, we took a couple of fallen trees from the side of the road and made our own bridge.
This sure beat getting our feet wet!
After continuing down the road, we got to a clearing that was quite muddy, but upon further investigation we found a TRAIL!! That led to a great descent!!
This was probably a horse trail, but not one the horses would go down!
We got to the bottom of the road to find one of the dangers of this area (notice the sign).(danger shooting range)
Up at the crack of 9:00 am, this is what a mountain biker looks like before he finishes his bowl of oatmeal, drinks his coffee and does his business.
After some mechanical problems, we finally started our ride at 1:00pm to try to get to Spruce Lake which we estimated would take about 5 hours to get to, probably three hours back. Along the way we followed Gun CREEK (This is what the Creeks in BC look like this year due to all the melting snow).
Also due to all the snow much of the trail was washed out from slides, but since the area is generally so dry the slopes were quite stable, and the views were SPECTACULAR!
We had to climb 450 meters in 12 km to get to Spruce lake on trails that looked like this
Pretty shitty, but someones gotta do it! Bob had to keep his mouth closed because the mosquitoes were starting to get pretty bad at this point, or maybe he was just trying to see what climbing was like without breathing!
We rode for 4 hours and decided that we would not make it to Spruce lake at this point since we were still about 1-2 hours away and we still had to do more climbing. This was not so bad since we had to go back on the trail we came up on and the mosquitoes were getting worse! Gary took full advantage of the loss of elevation by hammering down and yelling to warn any hikers/horses/deer or bears that would have foolishly been on his path... Fortunatly he was wearing his Lovely New Zealand Gournd Effects Sleeveless Jersey in "Hunter's Don't Shoot Me" Orange.
This was truly a GREAT descent. Lee, Gary, Bob and I were constantly fighting for the lead! Gary and I dropped Lee at one point, Lee blamed his toe clips that he had to rent at Whistler since he forgot his SPD shoes at work on Friday! Here at the end of the day, back at camp, you can see Bob was the one who ate most of the dust!! HA HA HA!
We piled into the twin (no we are not Yuppies) subarus and drove back to Vancouver.
This is gaz, the guy with the apparently bad colour sense...oh well I'm colour blind. I just thought I would put a bit of a close onto this little series of epics. I am returning to Australia on Friday, and it is going to take every fiber of my being to jump on the plane. As you've been gazing through brodiegirls photo-essays, thinking "boy that looks great", I can assure you that it was. The best. I really doubt that a mountain bike experience can get better... and I think I'm fairly qualified. My point to all of this is not to brag about how great the riding is here (well ya, it is epic)... but there is great riding all over the planet. Trails are just a bunch of dirt unless you ride them, and experiencing these places with good friends is what turns a good ride to an unforgettable experience. My gang of Vancouver mates, I reckon, I are the best blokes (gender nonspecific) anyone could ask for. I spent most of the Chilkotan Epic laughing so hard my abs hurt. I have shared a lot of experiences with this crew, from being lost in the Rockies, to midnight pub runs on the North Shore. And the thing is, anyone can do this.
My advice if you are drooling over these pics wishing it was you, is to make it happen. The formula is simple, so shocking simple, but most folks don't try it:
1] get you're mates
2] get some good topo maps of a neat area.
3] go there. ride long, ride hard. Let the trail take you on an adventure
4] finish together, and have a beer. Laugh a lot.
5] leave your heart rate monitor, training logs, diet supplements, skin suits and attitude at home.
In fact, turf it forever. And then, just maybe then, you might experience what Mountain biking can be... if you let it.
Thanks guys for a great trip. You're the greatest, cheers, g!