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Day 3 ~ Manning to Princeton ~ The Day I Gave Up My Bags

Manning to PrincetonWe turned the first corner and there was the first climb of the day . . . . . not even a warm up to start us off. It went on and on and on. Just when you thought it was close to the top, there would be an overlook to have a short rest and a corner to start-up the next section.

The second climb of the day, brought me to tears. Exhausted and worn out, my legs were like spaghetti. I pushed on my pedals with all my might to inch up the slope. Several times I had to unclip quickly to avoid falling over. Doug and Ryan would ride ahead and wait for me at the next view-point. This was the day I felt broken . . . . I unwillingly gave up my saddle bags through tears and blubbering. Ryan and Doug took one each and tied them down to the tops of their trailers. On a positive note, this seemed to even out our speeds ~ well, I was able to keep up a bit better. A few times, I even passed them on the climbs. Only a few times!

At Manning Lodge, we cleaned off our plates once again and used the ice water jugs to fill our camel-backs. It was so refreshing to have chilled water to sip on to ease the pain of the effort needed in the heat of the day.

After lunch, Crowsnest Highway continued to wind back and forth, and up and down, endlessly. . . . . . . . 71 km doesn’t seem all that far ~ except when it’s over the Rockies! The ups were brutal, the downs were exhilarating. Some of the climbs took close to two hours followed by coasting with brakes for over 30 minutes. Doug and Ryan would glide out of sight around the next corners full speed ahead. I was building my confidence aiming to use my brakes less and less.

I’ve never forgotten the lesson Ryan gave me when I was struggling with climbs. Standing up for 10 to 20 pedal strokes in a harder gear then sitting, gearing down into an easier gear for a bit. Cycling through this pattern certainly helped me to concentrate on something other than the pain ~ counting out pedal strokes, hydro poles, and guard rails and shifting gears.

We arrived in Princeton at supper time, it had rained the last bit of our day and our faces were splattered with road grime. I was so happy we decided on a “hotel night!” Boy did I need it!

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Day 2 ~ Mission to Manning Provincial Park, Skagit Valley ~ amazing trees

Mission to Manning

We officially left the flatter, rolling roads and started climbing the mountains. It was a slow steady slog as we conquered the elevation changes. We put in about 50 km before stopping for lunch in the quaint little town of Agassiz. There were beautiful gardens lining the main road that welcomed us, along with an old train station. I was amazed, the food portions were quite large and we had consumed each last morsel. Doug and Ryan had a few beers, which I thought would help me keep up to their pace.

The next 50 km on the #7 ran along the Fraser River and a railway line which brought us to Hope, which lies between the Coastal and the Cascade Mountain Ranges. The roaring Fraser River and the smaller Coquihalla River meet here. Hope is named the Chainsaw Carving Capital. There were over 20 interesting, unique wooden sculptures of all sizes lining the park on the main road. Many movies have been filmed in the deep gorge nearby, one of them was Rambo-First Blood.

Leaving Hope, we continued on Highway 3 ~ Crowsnest Highway. Before arriving at our camp site for the night, we stopped to read about and view the infamous Hope Slide, the largest landslide recorded in Canada which happened in 1965. It is hard to imagine rock, mud, and debris traveling 2 kilometers down the mountainside burying the road and surrounding area 85 metres deep and 3 kilometres wide. “The mass of debris completely displaced the water and mud in Outram Lake below with incredible force, throwing it against the opposite side of the valley, wiping all vegetation and trees down to the bare rock, then splashed back up the original (now bare) slope before settling.” (Wikipedia)

We were so happy to end our day in E.C. Manning Provincial Park. We found a quiet camp area right beside the Skagit River. This was truly a magical place, complete with babbling brook and enormous, majestic trees.

* if you hover your cursor over the pictures you will see their captions.