What another incredible day. We got up about 6am and by the time we got ready and had breakfast, we were on the trail for 9:30ish.
I knew this first part was going to be the killer as it was supposed to be 23km up a 2% grade. It started out relatively level for a few km or so biking through Grand Forks. We ran into a lady (not literally) who told us we were on the right trail.
As we reached the start of the trail, I was ready to beat this 23km of steady uphill. The trail itself was horrible, it was indeed a gentle grade up, the only issue I had was the trail was very difficult to bike on. It was either way to rocky or way too soft. We biked a great deal of time and walked a few spots here and there … honestly; this didn’t take away from the sheer beauty of it all.
As we were climbing up the grade to the summit at Eholt, we came to a retaining wall with fencing … this can be seen from the highway below and I remember CK telling me (from below), ‘that is where we will be biking’. That was a long way up … as I stood looking down, I was thinking, geez, that is a long way down.
We continued biking up and up and up until we got to the first tunnel. There was a shack of sorts that we stopped at for a break; a little food, a little water. By this time, it was getting really hot out. We were covered in suntan lotion and bug spray. The mosquitoes were terrible while biking in the bush … for whatever reason, they really liked my blood. I didn’t like walking as they could grab on and suck.
The tunnel was pretty cool, not long enough to really scare me but just enough to make it really dark. I turned on the GoPro and recorded the trek up and through the tunnel. The lighting in the tunnel was reflecting some pretty cool images.
As we travelled, the road seemed to get better. We ended up on a logging road so now it was super easy to bike. I had a nice rhythm going. We didn’t realize it then, but we only had a few kms to go before reaching the top (Eholt).
And then, there it was … the Summit. You have no idea how happy I was to reach this. My legs were tired, my butt sore. We took a few moments for some pics, a little bit of a rest and off we were again – leaving Eholt behind, it was all downhill from here.
It was an easy ride until we hit the field. That was a little tough to bike through, the area here was level but the ground was soft. The distance wasn’t that great so with a little umpf, we managed to make it through.
Now, we did do some research on what to expect on the trail and one thing that was mentioned was a locked gate (not sure why it’s locked but there was mention of dogs that can be aggressive to some bikers). There were many gates on the trail, it would seem every couple 100 feet or so, there was a gate. It took time to stop, open the gate, go through and lock it back up again. As we came up to this one gate (which I thought was the locked gate), we noticed it wasn’t locked, but just difficult to open. There was a gap between the fencing and the trees, enough for us to get our bikes through. As we biked the couple 100 feet to the next gate, I noticed the farm on my right – they had beautiful horses and I could hear dogs barking but nothing that startled me. As we approached the next gate, this one was locked and I freaked out. I didn’t want to jump it as I was afraid of the dogs on the other side. CK told me that it was going to be ok and he got our bikes over. I was really nervous. There was a Llama that came running over to us (I think looking for food), he was hissing at me but was right at the fencing. If I had remembered I picked apples from the apple tree, I would have totally given him one.
What I realised after (a light bulb went off) was that we were on the wrong side of the locked fence and I wanted to stay on the side where the dogs were not realising that we were coming from the opposite direction. I felt like an idiot. I am directionaly challenged and the first one to admit that.
We just had to motor along. The trail was pretty good; going downhill is so much easier. We arrive at the Tunnel of Flags; here is some more information on it … http://basementgeographer.com/the-tunnel-of-flags/.
After crossing the highway (again), we had a little uphill before the trail leveled out and started back down again. We eventually made our way to Greenwood and jumped off the trail for a bit for water and icecream and spent some time talking to the town folk. Once we were fed and watered, we began once again. Back on the trail, we were biking side by side and came up on the last farmhouse on the right (going West on the TCT). Two larger dogs got through the fence and charged us on the trail … for a few minutes, it was frightening.
After the trip, we stopped in at Wild Ways and told Len and Josh what happened. They got the Kooteney Boundary Animal Control on the phone and Sean wanted me to send in an email describing what happened … apparently we are the second to complain about the dogs.
Here is the email I sent to them … for the blog purposes; I changed the name of my friend to CK.
My friend and I were biking the TransCanada Trail on Sunday, July 24th, 2016. We had just stopped at Greenwood (My Udder Store) for a quick break. We started the trail again at approx 4:30pm. As we were biking, we came upon the last farmstead on the right as we were travel west along the trail. Two dogs started barking aggressively and ran from the property onto the trail. They aggressively chased us, barking, growling and running alongside of us for approx 100+ feet. One of the dogs bit me but because I was biking at a fast rate, he/she was not able to grab on and slide his/her teeth along my calf. At this point, the dog that was on me turned his attention to CK (so both were on him). I screamed loudly, reached for my bear spray (I was afraid for him), but then they suddenly stopped. I told CK I had been bitten and he wanted to stop but I just wanted to get away as quickly as I could. Once we bike a fair distance did we stop to assess any damage. The skin on my calf was not broken.
There were two dogs, one was black, the other was a beige/white dog, both looked to be some sort of Shepard mixes (longer fur), estimating at 75ish lbs.
What was scary is if we had fallen off our bikes, we could have been seriously hurt or mauled. These dogs should not be allowed to run loose as they are dangerous.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
We did bike up a bit further and I saw another dog on the trail. I screamed ‘stop’ and grabbed my bear spray, but he just turned and ran away. Those two dogs really spooked me and I had my guard up the rest of the bike ride.
Further up we saw a deer on the trail (which initially freaked me out – you know, the dogs). It took off for a bit down the trail, stopped and turned to watch us. I managed to get my GoPro working so I started recording and biking down very slowly … I got pretty close before it turned and took off. The video is a bit grainy and you really need to zoom in to see the deer.
The rest of the ride was great, nothing exciting … no bear or cougar attacks. We arrived at the outskirts of town and biked the trail alongside the highway.
We spend the evening recuperating and discussing who was sorer. I won that!!! Hands down!!!
Check out the rest of the photos … https://www.flickr.com/photos/selenakh/albums/72157670818742642
Until next time!