After our start and seeing the large Elk (see Hopefully the first step is the hardest), we settled into our first day. We began to figure out that if the wobbly bikes didn’t kill us the mileage of the first day might. We were excited that the first day was “only” 20 miles. Well what we didn’t realize was that it included 2000 feet of climbing. In fact, we ended up pushing our bikes up hills three times. Still this was a beautiful trail and we were really enjoying being out of tourist area of Banff.
Everything was coming together when we rounded a corner with a nice wooden bridge spanning a river. There was a sign saying bridge closed with a barricade. I thought well this can’t be, and saw a guy with a skip loader blocking the entrance to the bridge. I sent Denise over to ask nicely if we could pass thinking how could a construction worker refuse a beautiful girl. But noooo, he said we had to forge the river.
I took a good look and the river looked fairly deep and was moving fast. Well we did sign up for adventure, so I took off my bike shoes and put on my tennies. I thought I would walk across first and make sure it was doable. Well I am telling you that was one cold river. The rocks were very slippery but I managed to get to the other side. However my feet were so cold I did not want to go back to the other side. Well it was getting time to get to camp so we sucked it up and managed to getting everything across. The cold water actually felt good after everything went numb.
As our bikes were already way overloaded we decided not to carry too much water as we had heard that water was readily available in streams and rivers. Well of course I forgot to get water in the river we just crossed so getting thirsty we luckily found a stream. It is very cool to be able to get drinkable water right off your trail. We are filtering it just to be safe but I am sure there is no problem. Best news is NO PLASTIC BOTTLES!!!
Finally we rounded a corner and saw our first nights destination, beautiful Spray Lake. We road for a few miles finally finding this beautiful spot, our first campsite. We were in heaven. After finishing dinner, I headed away from camp to hang our food and bear bag out of reach of any hungry, wandering bears. All of the sudden I started hearing a bell ringing, I though what the heck, and out through the brush walked up another cyclist. He was pulling a trailer and doing the same trip as us. I asked him to join us as it was almost dark and I was thinking safety in numbers when in bear country. His name was Bob, and he was pulling a Bob. We quickly became friends. More on Bob later.
The days numbers: 25.4 Miles, 1972 feet climbing, 981 feet decent, 6.9 miles per hour average, max speed 20 mph, ride time 3 hrs 24 minutes. Total travel time 5 hrs 23 mins.