What a luxury to have toilets with running water, what a luxury to have a sink with warm water. What a luxury to have clean water which you do not have to filter before drinking. What a luxury to have a running tap.
or what a luxury to be outdoors and feel nature!
Now with mainly very basic camping and when returning to areas where there are more people you appreciate the luxuries we have more. But is that the most important or is living more basic and being outdoors better? More about this in next week’s story but first week 6 and what happened with David and Katia.
When we arrived in Golden, David and Katia shared a story which changed our minds about bear spray.
Until then we only had the bear bell, a whistle and talking, making noise notifies the bears you are there and they will hide from you. Several stores had said to us that when you are on a bike, bear spray is not so useful as you can’t spray and then run for your car.
Luckily Katia did have a bear spray.
With a good pint and the company of Peter (from Canada and also on a reclining bike) David shared the following story.
Before Golden, after Roger Pass they also had to camp in the wild as the weather was changing and the distance was too far to make it to Golden before dark. Katia and David have a tent for just 2 people and leave their panniers on their bike. All food was stored, hanging from the branch of a tree far away from their tent and bikes. As per recommendations.
The morning call was different from any before as David heard scratching noises outside of the tent. First trousers and shoes but when opening the tent adrenaline kicked in as a black bear was ripping through Katia’s new red Ortlieb front bags. Talking and shouting was not impressive enough as the black bear was too interested in the content (used clothes…). Only after David used the bear spray, he took off. You can imagine that the first nights after this event were different and that the first purchase we made the next day was bear spray.
No photo of a bear searching for food but some others you also have to watch-out for.
We used Golden to fix the squeaking sound when peddling = silicone spray on the sides of the belt. And up-loading the blog and photos of week 5. Peter, David and Katia left and are heading to Lake Louise in one day.
We decided to spend some more time in Yoho Park.
Field is our first stop, but before we are there we have a support team handing out cherries. This was so much fun. More than a week ago we met Nicole and Chris in Revelstoke on the camping. They really came to us to look at the bikes and hear what we were up-to. Chris already did part of the Great Divide route and will continue where he left in September. Hope we will be in Colorado too by then.
They were going to visit family in the West but would return after the weekend to Canmore. (bit further than Banff so same return route as we would be biking).
What a coincidence that they spotted us and recognized us! And how sweet the cherries were! Thanks again Nicole and Chris! Nicole is an artist and works with glass, hope we can visit them when we are in Banff.
Field is a village of 130 souls including the dogs but with a very busy visitor centre for Yoho National park.
They only have one hostel, a few B&B and one Inn with a great restaurant where we luckily could get a place at the bar after some waiting and had a great steak on my father’s birthday and some nice wine! To your good health Dad!
The staff of the visitor centre, especially Tesa, was so positive and bright that she convinced us to spend not only time at Emerald lake but also at Takakkaw Falls. The campground is not yet open as they are still clearing the road after last winter’s avalanche and doing the final preparation on the campground, which would open in a few days. We would know if we can get a back country camping permit on Thursday.
After a beautiful hike around Emerald lake and great coffee with excellent cake in
an amazing lodge at the lake we also have a look at Natural Bridge. You feel the force of nature which has shaped a waterfall into a Natural bridge, which overtime will become a gorge. As this site is easily accessible busloads of tourists are released but most do have to leave again in a few minutes and don’t walk further than the Kodak point.
As we have to bike to and from the trails we spend most of our day just visiting these two spots. As the hostel did no longer have private rooms we had the dilemma of sharing a room but have the benefit of a kitchen and a living area or go camping. The weather was turning bad and cold so we tried out sharing a room. Strange but more than OK.
At the visitor centre, after some calling Tesa arranged the Back Country Camping Permit, we are aware that there still will be some maintenance during the day (dangerous trees will be taken down so we only have a limited selection of campsites we can choose from) and there will be no water provided (more than enough water in the river and the creek but you need to boil or filter)
Once we get the permit we decide to book straight away for 2 nights. What an amazing stay.
The way to the falls was already fun. First two interesting stops were still open for everybody: Spiral tunnels for the train and the joining of the clear Yoho river and the emerald coloured Kicking Horse river.
Met Mr. Tony Tang and his company from Taiwan and they wanted to know Franks age and feel how heavy the bikes were. They did not dare to ride them though! Thanks for the interest!
What fun it was that we could pass the gate that blocked the road for motor traffic and then had the whole road for ourselves. So when we had to rest in-between because of the very steep ascend or when we wanted to bike in the middle of the road because we knew there could be bears, there was no issue!
What fun it was to arrive at the campsite and be able to choose the best spot: site 3! View of the falls and the wetlands where we had a few whitetail deer grazing.
Funny to be able to tell one of the rangers, who wanted to send us away because the campsite was not yet open, that we had a back country permit.
What was it strange to be able to hike the falls the same evening and only meet 4 other people who also biked up but would return to Field as two of them lived there and where taking their American friends for a special trip. Sonia, Laraine, Jerry and JJ. Thanks for the photo and the interesting talk about Field and how keeping Field small is helping the balance between wildlife, tourism and people living in Field. As Field is located in a very narrow valley where the highway, railroad, the village, tourism but of course also wildlife need to pass through.
How very special it was to walk to the base of the waterfall with our raingear on (because of the big spray) and be alone there, knowing that in 2 days busloads would be there!
Takakkaw Falls is the second tallest waterfall of Canada and 7 times higher than Niagara waterfalls (but not nearly as wide of course). If you click on this link you can read more about this waterfall and Yoho Park http://www.field.ca/yohonationalpark/waterfalls/
As we were alone we had the food storage shed to ourselves, so big we could store all our panniers and our bikes inside! Safe feeling resulting in a great sleep.
As a hike we did the Twin Falls trail and wanted to continue with a loop around Marpole Lake, first having a look at the “tea house”, still closed but later in the season you would be able to sleep here (min 2 nights) or drink a coffee. All supplies are hiked up from the parking lot at the Takakkaw Falls, 6,5 km down!
We can’t do the loop as an avalanche wiped out the path. We hiked over the snow to see if we could pick up the trail but as it was more than 400 meter wide we could not find the path continued at the end of the snow field. Next day the rangers where happy about the information as they had not yet had the time to check all the trails. They have a separate team which will clean-up.
7 hours on the trails for only 13-15 km hiking 😊 Just back in time to see the setting sun create a rainbow in the spray of the waterfalls.
What a magnificent spot!
Frank makes a perfect fire even without firesticks, using the Swiss Method (more in next blog).
The day we leave the road is open for motorised transport and as this camping ground is first come first serve, the first campers already arrive at 9.00.
Happy we were privileged to camp in solitude with great weather! During the day around 20, at night it was freezing, in the morning there was ice on the tent!
The emergency food of the Canon team is now finally used!
What a difference to ride down: 17 km in 30 minutes.
After the predicted steep, long climb of the A1 to Lake Louise, we take the Great Divide Biking trail (actually the old highway, now closed for motorized vehicles) for the final stretch, where we cross the Great Divide for the first time. Several poo signs of bears but no bears.
At Lake Louise camping site we only have the possibility of one night on the overflow site.
To know if Lake Louise is as impressive as everybody is saying and if we finally reach Banff, the starting point for Spinning South: you will find out in the next blog!
Wild life sighting of this week: bighorn sheep!