Friday, August 12, 2011

We Meet Butch Cassidy

Exiting the "Mines of Moria"    Photo:  Kenneth Roy

A gaggle of twenty geese splash landed on the elbow of water we were camped next to in Castlegar.  Their thrashing and honking woke us up out of the fitful sleeps we had been having because of the loud drumming of rain on the metal roof of the picnic shelter above our heads.

After a brief conference over breakfast, we rode through the outskirts of Castlegar and stopped on a highway bridge to take in the beautiful scenery all around us.  Beautiful if you liked the plume of smoke rising off in the distance from the nearby pulp mill and the stench of wet paper permeating every breath you inhaled.  Having said that, we wouldn't be here but for the mill as it appears that the biggest economic activity in this valley is the pulp and paper industry.

Beautiful No?                                                         Photo: Roy C.

We rode all day through alternating bands of rain and warm sunlight as we ascended the 52 klicks to the summit at Farron.  So it was a matter of stopping to put on rain gear only a little while later to take it off and then to stop and....
On again off again on againoff again on again off again

Just before entering the longest tunnel on this whole railway, we ran into four cyclists - a grandfather from Montreal, a twenty something guy and girl and a young boy who excitedly asked us if we had seen "The Lord of the Rings" and that the tunnel up the trail was just like the "Mines of Moria"!

The white minerals leaching onto the tunnel walls did give the dark tunnel an eerie feeling and it was easy to imagine being in "Middle Earth".  All we needed was Golum riding a bike beside us chanting "My Precious" to make it real.

It was a relatively easy pedal down the 2% grade to Lafferty where we made camp in a much improved backwoods campsite that included an outhouse, picnic tables, flat spots for our tents and a firepit.  While Perry constructed a blazing fire, Roy and I spotted someone walking down the trail toward our camp. It turned out to be a friendly local named Cassidy out walking his two dogs - a bloodhound and a Heinz 57.  According to "Butch" Cassidy, the dog of 57 varieties was the better hunter and Cassidy regaled us with tales of his experiences living in the back country.
Roy looks like he was caught with his hands in the cookie jar

Before leaving us, he suggested that we stop in Christina Lake the next day and take in burgers, fries and a beer for 10 bucks at Christina Lake Village where he worked.  Knowing how hungry we would be after biking down to the lake, his words were music to our ears.

Now we had a plan for the morrow

The Stuff Bike Dreams are made of       Photo: Roy C.

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