Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hot Springs, September 1

September 1
When we wake up it's freezing outside.  I haven't worn this many layers since Deadhorse!  We bike still wearing our fleeces and gloves.  All morning the road follows the river valley, rolling green mountains on either side.  I get the feeling that larger peaks loom behind these mountains, but they're hidden in clouds.  There's the occasional turnout or hiking trail, but otherwise not much along the road.  We stop for lunch at a ranger base, where we're able to charge things in the outlets and attempt some pullups on a bar outside of one of the buildings.  I am only able to manage 6 and a half in sets of one.  That's what biking does to your arm muscles.  
After lunch we continue down the road.  For awhile it's flat, and we have a spectacular view of some craggy peaks on the left.  Then we begin to climb Sinclair Pass.  The headwind we've had all day makes a much more noticeable difference when you're going steeply uphill.  After a long, exhausting climb, we reach a viewpoint.  Here we meet a friendly ranger who has a display set up.  She tells us about the fence and innovative crossing structures on highway 1 and part of this highway, designed to keep animals off the highway without limiting their natural movement.  Apparently the system on highway 1 has limited animal fatalities by 80%!  We learn about all the research they're doing on which areas benefit most from fences and what types of crossing structures are best for the animals.  It's all very interesting to learn about, and it would be great if more highways implemented this system.
After the look-out, we turn more into the mountains and have one more tough 7% section before we reach the top.  The summit is marked by Olive Lake, a small, picturesque lake tucked among the trees next to the road.  From here the rest of our day is downhill!  It seems the other side is even steeper and longer than what we came up.  
We still have a headwind, but it's not freezing, the road isn't rutted, and it's not raining, so no complaints.  It's not long before we reach Radium Hot Springs.  It's rather odd to see a large pool/spa complex staffed by National Park employees, but we can't pass up a giant hot tub, so we pay the $6.50 to go in.  Inside we lounge in an enormous pool heated by natural hot springs to 102 degrees.  
photo credit: radiumhotsprings.ca

Emerging after an hour or so, I feel a little dehydrated but overall really relaxed and happy.  I wish every mountain pass had one of these after it.  We get back on our bikes and cruise the easiest 2 km ever (11% downhill).  We grab some groceries and find a lovely spot to camp in a local park.

No comments:

Post a Comment