Cranbrook to Blairmore ~ 167 km, 9 hours 20 minutes
It was a beautiful ride into Wild Rose Country, Alberta. Long sweeping roads overlooked small lakes intermingled in green valleys. We were just over half way back to Calgary. It was a tiring ride into Crowsnest Pass and we were hoping to have a “hotel night”. Not only were all the hotels booked stating “no vacancy”, but the town was overrun by motor-homes, tents, trailers and visitors. The streets were filled with people, moving in masses. It was “Thunder in the Valley” weekend . . . . . . . what were we in for?
It was an evening of spectacular fireworks that lasted almost an hour, set off in the valley surrounded by sky reaching mountains. It was delayed for a short bit due to a fierce thunder/lightning storm with a heavy downpour that lasted 15 minutes.
We found a spot away from the crowds to set up camp in the long grass to hide our biking gear. The only trouble was it was right beside a railway track. We had gone in to town just minutes before it began to rain to grab a bite to eat. Tons of people ran into the restaurant to seek shelter from the torrential downpour. The streets quickly filled up with streams of water. We waited until the storm was over, dreading what we would find back at camp. Would all our gear be soaking wet and there would be no place to stay tonight? When we returned to our tent it was floating in about 3″ of water, the tent, ensolite pads and sleeping bags. Without realizing, we had set up our tent in a very low spot. We couldn’t believe our luck, all our gear inside the tent was perfectly dry, we just picked up our tent and moved it to higher ground.