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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 19 Jul 2009

Location: Canada

MapAnother journey ends.

As I write the campfire blazes. My feet, although naked, are kept warm by a log sat close by the fire as it soaks up the heat. The same delicious bananas, chocolate and marshmallows atop the fire were for dessert but were cooked higher, away from the flame and rotated halfway through ending up better than last night! The sun has just gone down behind the mountains, its 9:39pm and I sit above an emerald lake called Mitten Lake which still reflects the light from above. It makes me wonder what draws humans to water, we all want to be near it whether its oceans, rivers or lakes, it draws us in. Instinct? Maybe some primitive need to be close to water even though it is now so readily available to us. Why also do we go camping? With few resources, affected by the elements, eaten by mosquitoes, un-showered for days, swimming in water which sits barely above freezing temperatures and sharing small spaces with other people. Because it allows us to use our imaginations, build fires to cope with the cold, get sweaty and smelly, feel the refreshing sweet water sting our bodies when we swim and enjoy meeting others, sharing stories and smiles and the same simple joys of camping together. I especially enjoy replicating what I was taught growing up and remembering how my family did things and learning about what other families taught their children. Ok, enough for the action.

We left our riverside campground this morning and got back on the road. Driving down newly formed highways, huge volumes of rocks blasted to allow for increasing traffic, the mighty Kicking Horse river right alongside. My how things change from National Parks to just regular areas in so many ways. Clear fell logging was now scarring the mountainside rather than the pine beetle. Construction different, increased development all around and luckily for us plenty of roads to hide away any Ďillegalí camping spot.

We arrived in Golden around 10am and J was extremely keen to get out of the car and onto his downhill bike to conquer the much talked about Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Iím a cross country biker and feel quite confident and in control atop Poison Ivy but I was moving out of my comfort zone today and onto a dual suspension Specialized downhill mountain bike. The gondola ride up allowed magnificent views back down to the Town of Golden and along the valley running north to south. I was elbow padded, knee padded, full face helmeted and ready to rock this mountain. What a difference the bike made, to its advantage it soaked up the impact of rocks and tree roots and jumps, to its disadvantage, it was heavy and because I wasnít used to it, a little harder for me to control. After 2 runs I was tackling the blue runs and my favourite was the #4 Ė Superberm. As the name suggests its an entire run of berms, technical and lots of fun. Those who think that I got it easy getting a ride up on a gondola and a downhill ride all the way back to the gondola then this is wrong. Standing up and holding your body back to allow control of the bike burns your calves, wrists and hands and you actually need to take a few breaks on your way down to rest your overworked muscles! Crazy I know. One spectacular crash has me now hurting in a few places but didnít manage to slow me down. It did maybe shorten my riding day as I rested the arm I landed on with my bike on top of me Ė at least it got a soft landing. The black run disguised as a blue run was to blame and a double run of holes running straight into a berm finally had me unstuck. Iíll live to ride another day, just maybe stick to my cross country for awhile longer.

ĎBooí the bear in the Grizzly Refuge on the Kicking Horse Mountain was swimming around on a warm day and there are a few photos taken from the gondola of him for you to enjoy.

Driving out of Golden along rural land sided by wide rivers and lakes, lily filled wetlands lay in between, tractors picking up hay, horses penned, vegetable gardens everywhere I fall further in love with this area. I was told I would fall in love many times while travelling...I didnít realise it would be with the beauty of my surrounds. Along back roads we found this lovely little camping spot I now find myself in. I tried to wash tonight but the cold still remains too much for me. Tomorrow is home time and although a shower will feel wonderful I will miss being on the road. New things providing brain candy as each km passes. Iím so lucky that Canmore is my home and not some condo/flat in the city Ė it would make leaving here even harder. I imagine what my cycle will be like, living like this for probably the best part of 2 years...will I tire of the simplicity of life? Time will tell.
Back to work this week and then the 24 hours of Adrenalin on the weekend. Iím scared and excited. Itís been described to me as the Woodstock of biking alas, you will have more photos to wade through.