Day 18: McBride to Mount Robsen

Distance: 84 km

Elevation: 677 m

Date: August 19, 2022

Today was hard, really hard. After the usual morning routine I was on the bike by 9:45 am.

Although I felt good at first, my legs were still tired from the long stretch yesterday.

After a couple of minutes, I met Guide from Montréal, a fellow cyclist. He cycled from East to West and complained about the steady headwind.

Well, it is a not so well kept secret that on the northern hemisphere the dominant wind direction is from West to East.

He did about 100 km a day and was on the road for seven weeks already. He was not much of a talker, so we compared setup and roots and other key cycling stuff and then parted ways again.

My road today was essentially one straight line following the Fraser River. There was a mild but steady ascent and there was a strong headwind from easterly directions. Statistically that should not happen but what can you do? There was nowhere to hide from the wind. Oh, and it was about 30° again.

Most of the time I was going at speeds of below 10 km/h. And this for 70 km. Absolutely nerve wracking.

I asked “upstairs” for a bit of relief but nothing changed.

After 50 km, when I made a rest, I met Dave. He was a retired volunteer, who just returned from a trip to restore an historic trail with some friends. They had been flown out by helicopter with gear like chainsaws, mowers, fuel and other equipment. Then they restored the trail with all their tools hiking back to Prince George. It took them four days to restore a 18 km trail.

Not only was he an avid hiker, he was also very knowledgeable in water filtration. Since I was running out of fresh water again, I asked him about the usage of water filters. I did have one, but I was not sure exactly sure how to use it and when.

Dave was from Banff, a NationL Park that I will still come through. He gave me a couple of good tips how to avoid the overly touristic places and stay at some really cool sites. One was called Mosquito Creek and the other one Pedro Lake.

When you cycle at 30° everything becomes 30° warm, also you’re drinking water. At one point I was so much looking forward to something cold to drink that I followed a handwritten sign 3 km downhill in the hope of finding a general store. Unfortunately, there was none so I had to climb back up to the highway.

After about 70 km I reached Tête Jaune Cache. A part of me was ready to settle and stay at the local campground. Another part wanted to continue to Mount Robson because that would bring me out of the wind and into the real cool mountain scenery.

Bernhard from Heilbronn, Germany, who had been very helpful in planning my route, had promised me that after this junction everything would become better. So I got myself something to drink and after three cans of Canada Dry and the sugar rush that came with it I felt ready for the final ascent.

Bernhard had been right. Everything changed. First of all, there was no more wind. And I now followed the Robson River upstream which was running through a beautifully breathtaking mountain scenery.

On my ascent I came by some waterfalls. I was ready to pass but a dude that just climbed up from the viewing point said “ I know you are tired but you will want to see this. The salmons are jumping upstream.”

Rearguard Falls

So I hiked down to the viewing point and saw the waterfall. Not only was it really beautiful but in fact the salmon were jumping.

This waterfall is 800 km away from the coast. It is considered the farthest distance that the strongest salmon can travel.

The place was full of tourists dressed in tank tops, flip-flops and shorts getting out of the vehicles to see the waterfall and then drive on with their RVs into the next campground. I started to get a slight feeling that I might not like what I’m going to see in Jasper and Banff.

About 45 minutes later I arrived at Mount Robson campground. I was really relieved and happy. The campground was fully booked but I talked to the park ranger and we found a very nice piece of lawn that I could pop up my tent on.

I took a warm shower and prepared dinner at an empty campsite with a free table. Of course I had asked a park ranger for permission to do that. A little later the RV crew who had reserved this place arrived and it were three young and nice guys from Vienna, Austria. One was a banker, the girl was a city planner, and one was working for the Austrian TV.

They were on a five weeks trip through western and eastern Canada, partly with an RV, and partially with flight and train.

They had started their trip two days ago in Vancouver taking over the RV. That means in just two days they covered the same distance that I did in 18 days. Now, that is hard to imagine!

I finished up with my dinner while two of them went for a shower and one of them, the banker, was making a joint for the evening. It never occurred to me that the free and legal access to dope might influence the choice of a vacation destination.

Tonight I put all of my food stuff into a bear cache. Much easier than roping it into a tree.

When I was lying in my bed and some raindrops started to fall I was really thankful for this day.

One thought on “Day 18: McBride to Mount Robsen

  1. Schön zu lesen, dass Du den Höhe- bzw. Wendepunkt Deiner Reise womöglich erreicht hast, Karsten! Ich bewundere Dich total für Dein Durchhaltevermögen und versuche, Deine bisherigen Ups and Downs ein wenig nachzuvollziehen. Was für ein Plan, und welch vielfältige Eindrücke und Empfindungen hast Du schon gehabt! War die Nordkap-Tour eine gute “Übung” bezüglich Einsamkeit?
    Alles Gute weiter, keep biking (and reporting)! Christian

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