Bikes Planes and Automobiles - Riding the Chilcotins

🔖 cycling 

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The B.C. province of Canada should really be short for Best Cycling.

Recently I had the opportunity to get out of Whistler and go for a 3 day trip into the Chilcotins. The journey involved driving north on the Sea To Sky, hooking a left in Pemberton and hurtling over a mountain pass on a notorious forest service road. Just as you think the land can’t become any more sparse of society, the Tyax Wilderness Resort pops into view from around a bend in a scene eerily reminiscent of the one in the opening credits of The Shining.

Camp at the Tyax resort was comfortable with plenty of company during the weekend. The sites are located next to the lake, with water and electric hookups. The lodge is right next door with a full bar and restaurant. They even sell day passes for the spa for $20 if you’d like to camp in luxury.

The first day’s ride was an enormous XC route which took us from the lake and wound us all the way up to Camel Pass. The route is easy doubletrack most of the way, until you turn off the main road on to singletrack and begin to gain altitude rapidly. By now you are above the tree line, and breathing becomes noticeably more difficult. The trail is perfect singletrack, barely wide enough in places to fit a tire. After an amazing and somewhat steep decent directly after summiting Camel Pass, you climb again. Then you begin to doubt you are not lost when you descend again. And then climb again. And then descend again. All in all this route had over 5500 ft of elevation gain with plenty of hike a bikes and tough terrain. Not for the feign of heart or beginners to the sport.

After passing out at 8pm, it was time to wake up again and get on the Floatplane! This was the day we had all been waiting for. We were booked for one of the last flights, and our anticipation grew with every takeoff and landing of the plane before us. Once we all weighed in and stuffed ourselves and our gear in the plane, it was off to Warner Lake. Pretty amazing experience, being shuttled by aircraft. But the the real cream filling was the ride. Again, perfect singletrack all the way down. You pass many pristine lakes, wilderness camps, and grizzly tracks. All in all ~5000 feet of descending with ~3000 feet of climbing thrown in to keep you earning it. Nothing too technical, but plenty of extremely high speed singletrack that seems endless. It’s hard to stop on this ride with the weight of your own dusty grin seeming to pull you down the trail - fast.

Of course our van broke down and we had to get  a tow out of Tyax, but that just added to the adventure. All in all, amazing trip. Would repeat!

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