Kamloops (British Columbia) – Barriere – Little Fort – Blue River – Valemount – Mount Robson – Jasper (Alberta)
In short, BC (British Colombia) is an absolute stunner. From all the blogs that I’d read I’d decided to take my sweet time in this province – not just because of the Rockies/ALL the mountains, but also because it’s supposedly the most interesting region terrain-wise. And it delivered. Our cycling days (I was still cycling with Abby!) were really variable because of this, anything from 60-100km and we were happy bunnies/cyclists.
We ended up staying 2 nights in Kamloops, giving ourselves a lovely day off to catch up with STUFF. A city, so not much to write home about in itself, but actually the FEEL of the place was lovely. And ridiculously, the route to leave was stunning and one of my favourite day’s rides* of the trip so far as it included getting a small ferry (McLure) – which I always love!
As I mentioned in this post, I’m a fully-fledged Digital Nomad/free-range Creative (everydaypioneers.co.uk), successfully and luckily managing to combine three of the loves of my life – cycling, travelling and creating. Because of this, we had some cycling/work juggling to do (easier than it sounds…), we still wanted to make progress on the bikes, but I also needed to do 3 days worth of work. This meant a couple of days of 40km with a solid 14-hours in front of my laptop in between, and a couple of 100km days complete with shorter laptop stints. And it worked 😊 we’re through to the next round of the pitch process And I got to cycle AND use my brain whilst on the bike!
That’s the biggest lesson I learned when touring last year. My mind was blown WIDE OPEN by the space that there suddenly was without having to worry about all the everyday niggles that exist in my (admittedly pretty simple) life at home in Bristol. I was suddenly über creative again! I was coming up with SO many ideas – some ridiculous, some not – that I realised I could probably make a life doing this when I was ready to start working again. So I have.
This working/cycling stint took us from Kamloops, through Barriere and Little Fort to Blue River. Little Fort was a surprise – we were aiming to do a longer day but stopped at a lovely diner for coffee and a brunch and just didn’t quite manage to leave until the next day (luckily I had the work excuse too…), there was nothing else there so we made the most of the amazing quiet camp and great coffee/food on tap!
This section of the Yellowhead is apparently the area where you’re most likely to see bears in the whole of BC. And we did! Abby (Bear Protector No. 1) had spotted a little Black Bear and her cub having a bit of a wander on the side of the road and slowed to a stop about 80m away so I could squeal excitedly/nervously and take a rubbish video and a picture of my hand apparently 🙄. But YAY, I’ve seen a real, live, actual bear and didn’t die!
Leaving Blue River we had Warmshowers hosts lined up for the night in Valemount, a night in a lovely cabin with Peggy, Tom and the dog Lucy. We just had to get there first. Cue: the BIGGEST Canadian thunderstorm we’ve seen/been in so far. I mentioned before Abby’s Thunder Phobia and it came into full force – the phobia and the storm – on the side of the Yellowhead highway, right after I’d told Abby to just “keep bloody pedalling, it’s not going anywhere…”, helpful right? Ahem – needless to say, Abby handled my bear fears a lot better than I did her thunderstorm phobia… Anyway, we threw bikes to the ground and frantically stuck out thumbs in the downpour. And met Ryan who pulled over immediately – apparently he saw Abby’s face and thought something AWFUL had happened – and gave us a lift the rest of the way to a Valemount bar where we plied him with thank you beers until Tom found us…!
The next couple of days were again along the Yellowhead highway past Mount Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, to Jasper – a place that I knew I’d love mainly because of the name 😍 – and it didn’t disappoint. Yes, ok it’s pretty touristy and all that, there are rented motorhomes EVERYWHERE – actually, that goes for the whole of BC – but still, it was a beautiful town, and we were in our second province, Alberta! We left the town proper (refusing to pay $50 EACH for the hostel we thought we were going to treat ourselves to…) and opted for the Wapiti campground and the elks that welcomed us on arrival instead.
And so onto the Icefields Parkway… to follow!
*I’ve said this quiiiiite a few times now though.