Back out on the road, on our way to a wedding in Vancouver, we stopped in Salmon Arm. The goal was to ride the Larch Hills Traverse, a 38km trail ride from Salmon Arm to Sicamous, then ride Hwy 1 back to Salmon Arm, making for a 66ish km ride. We did this in about 5.5hrs, which was pretty chill for me.
What can I say about the Larch Hills Traverse? Well there are lots of gravel roads and double track. You don't hit singletrack until the 19km mark, unless you climbed up single track at the South Canoe trail network, where the Salty Dog race is. As well, there are some long double track sections that connect the singletrack. Some of the singletrack sections are fun and flowy, while others have some pretty ridiculous switchbacks. I distinctly remember a clearcut section where the trail doubled back on itself and I could pretty much high five Bill as he passed the other way. The final descent into Sicamous is fun and flowy, but the flow is killed by the switchbacks where we had to dump ALL of our speed and sometimes pick our bikes up to make the turns.
|Moondust at the parking lot, but some impassible mud sections up high.|
|Log down. We're getting closer to Sicamous, I bet if this trail had less flow killing switchbacks, it would get ridden more, and someone would take care of that tree.|
|It was HOT|
|Free slurpee day in Armstrong, BC|
The Cosen's Bay trails have always looked appealing to me, and finally it was time to ride them! The sign at the trailhead warned of bears, cougars (yawn, I'm from CANMORE!), and rattlesnakes EEEK! I was able to put together a fun loop for a shorter ride on trails like Purple Haze, Twista, Cabin, and No Boats (in chronological and in order of declining difficulty too!). The real treat came at the end, ripping the Bear Valley and sections of the High Rim trail (a trail that ultimately goes from Vernon to Kelowna) back to the parking lot. Flowing singletrack through wildflowers and tall grass put a smile on my face all the way back to the car. Bill wasn't feeling it and took it easy after Purple Haze, and he missed out on some more great trails!
A dip in Kalamalka Lake recharged us for the journey ahead. We wanted to get a start towards Vancouver so that we could ride. Hwy 97C goes up over 1700m and we could not resist camping up high to get out of the heat and to camp in an altitude tent.
A nice and early start with a quick stop in Merrit to check out a trail map (looks like lots of good riding there, I will have to check it out sometime!), and we were off to Vancouver.
Although we were well out of rush hour, I think I have discovered the perfect way to travel THROUGH the Vancouver area. There is excellent mountain biking in pretty much every lower mainland community (W. Van, N. Van, Burnaby, Coq, Maple Ridge, Mission, Chilliwack) so instead of getting frustrated at getting caught in traffic, why not pull over, get out and go ride for a couple of hours!
Anyways, we didn't have much information, but I had heard of racing at Bear and Red Mountains near Mission (aka, they have not been logged or developed).
Rush hour was approaching, so we decided to check out Burnaby Mountain aka SFU. The trails there must get a lot of use as there was lots of rock work done on them. We had fun riding classics like the Cardiac Climb, Gearjammer, Snake, Mels, Poplar, and Nicoles. I understand the need for manmade trail work to improve sustainability, but I was getting more COPish vibes from SFU than say Bear Mountain where natural features such as rock slabs were neatly integrated.
After a couple of days of camping, it was nice to have a real shower at Grandma's.
I came up with the idea of doing the Grouse Grind. Nothing much to say but wow is it busy. I crushed it in 32mins, but I was pretty much passing people the whole time. We descended down the quieter BCMC trail instead of forking over $10 each for a tram ride, not sure if my knees enjoyed that. They were begging for some skis or my bike...
Seeing two people who want to make the commitment to spend the rest of their lives together was beautiful. It was enjoyable meeting up with family members who I haven't seen in a long time.