The dull jackhammering of a woodpecker into a dead birch tree reminded me that there is an abundance of woodland creatures in our river valley. Last week while riding, my friend Lyle inspected (not too closely) some scat on the trail and Lyle who is an experienced backcountry backpacker declared that they were bear droppings. "That's not dog poo - dogs don't eat a diet of berries!" he exclaimed. My own experience with bears on the Kettle Valley Railway made me agree with him.
Riding the Rollercoaster Trail on my way back from the Henday Bridge, my front wheel almost struck a blue, black and grey chickadee flitting about the many mud puddles on the trail. I didn't recall any rain this week until I remembered that at work, two days of shooting were cancelled due to poor weather.
On this excursion, I brought along two maps from River Valley Cycle - the Perimeter Trail and the Rollercoaster. I stopped frequently to refer to them as I was trying to find landmarks like "The stone bridge" or "Turn right at old mound of concrete" to no avail. I can't fault the maps - it must be my unfamiliarity with Terwilligar Park.
The temperature must have been hotter than the 24 degrees forecast as I was sweating with only a short sleeved cycling shirt and cycling shorts. To be more visible in the dense foliage, I wore a red shirt and to be heard, I unleashed my bear bell.
By 2 o'clock, the upper trails had become crowded with MTBers. The dog walkers tend to stay down on the flats and it is mostly bikers up in the hills. On 3 occasions I had to stop while pumping uphill to allow descending cyclists to pass. This meant that having stopped, I couldn't get going again and had to push my bike up the rest of the way. Maybe it is my lack of experience that causes me to stop rather than continue up and pass the opposite rider. Or is there a form of MTB etiquette I don't understand?
To my way of thinking, the people going downhill should make way for the person travelling uphill. Going downhill, you can easily get going again, whereas going uphill, you can't necessarily. Am I wrong or am I turning into one of those whiney, chip-on-the-shoulder grey hairs? Help me here!