June 24th, GDMBR North, Day 3

Today was a 28 mile ride from Ram/Wigwam Campsite to Butt’s Patrol Cabin. I then did an extra round trip of 1 mile to go get water from the Flathead River. I finally feel after these last three days that this is a real true and proper camping adventure trip; the paved road turing just didn’t sit well with me.

Day started with me drying out my sleeping quilt. There was so much condensation on the inside of the tent. I slid down a bit during the night and the scrunched quilt pushed against the top rain fly. I also dried the inside with my orange absorbant towel. Whole time I had my solar panel in the sun charging its battery. Finally moved on out at 10AM, later than I would have liked.

I climbed 2000ft up to Cabin pass. The ride up had gorgeous views of the mountains. All still have some snow on them in their crooks and crannies. I stopped way too much and took photos. In general I was able to bike a fair portion of the climb. Much less step than Galton pass is.

The ride down was varied. Started off with a section that burned in the past. Pines were all white with black charred spots. This side of the pass gets much less traffic. There were tumbled rocks littering the roads in sections that would be to large for most vehicles to pass. I loved watching the bike tracks in the road. Bikes are definitely the main users on much of the East side of cabin pass.

Much of the decent was through a mixed forest on sandy clay roads. I’d hate to bike through here after it rained. There were tons of deep bike tracks. Maybe they were from the race. This section was very steep in places with a lot of hazardous rocks and sink holes to dodge. Most memorable was a stream flowing across the road filling the entire bottom of the valley. Around 30ft wide and above my pedals. Flowing slow enough I could bike through it. Thankfully the bottom wasnt muddy — I checked first!

Too quickly I moved into an active logging area. I don’t understand why they cut trees that are too small. Think of the size needed for old style fences. They pile them up and burn them. Evidently too expensive to haul out of the area.

The day finished up with a look at the Butt’s Patrol Cabin and seeing the water source was bad. Was unsure if I wanted to stay, so took the whole bike with me to the bridge over the Flathead River 0.5 miles away. There is an access road to the river right before the bridge. Nice clear water. Filled my 6 litre MSR Dromedary and water bottles. When I got back to the intersection heading towards the cabin, I was happy to notice it was downhill. Cabin it is tonight!

Dinner was a Knorr 7 minute rice meal and one whole cup of oatmeal — none of this half cup business I did at home.

Tomorrow is hopefully a super long 54 miles to the Mountain Shadows campground in Sparwood. Twenty miles is paved, so it should be doable but still difficult. Crossing my fingers that a store or restaurant is open, because I’ll need food. Still have oatmeal, but I’d rather not make two plus cups to get my needed calories.

June 23rd, GDMBR North, Day 2

What a day. Woke up a few times through the night and it was raining. By the time I got out of the tent at 7am the ground was dry and also my tent.

Got working on figuring out my rear brake problems aftet taking down the tent. The problem was caused by the pad getting thin enough to allow the rotor to get stuck on the spring and bend it. The bendt spring also scratch the rotor.

The ride down Galton pass was beautiful. The first down hill was steep and maybe 4 miles long. Shear drop off to one side or another. This is true of the entire day actually. Nice views of tall hills and the occasional rock face with snow on it.

On the road decent, I came across a really interesting little stream. Was flowing down a hill of broken rock pooling at the bottom, then flowing down the road for about 100ft. The water was crystal clear, nice views of to the side of the cliff, great trickling noise from the running water. Tranquil all around.

After the decent level out and became flat, I was treated with the notorious single track trail through the woods. This trail is covered with fallen trees that I had to lift my bike over. Streams that flow across the trail, others that flow down the trail making it muddy slick. All of this is in a confined width, and always with a slope either forward or off to one side. I’m a bit sad that no pictures were taken, but I had to concentrate to get through safely and not damage the bike or myself. This wasn’t even the epic part.

The epic part came immediately after the muddy stream laden trail. The epic section is a shear drop both forward and off the river side. At all points on the quarter mile section footing is dangerous. I took off all my panniers. My bike went down naked. Only way. I took 3 trips total. My feeling is that Adventure Cycling should specifically raise money and replace this section with stairs. The part through the woods could use a couple boardwalks. The cliff drop should be the fist priority.

The trail section concluded with a nice flat section through a meadow with two steam crossings.

Rest of the day was dirt road riding. Gentle rolling hills, finishing off with a long downhill to Ram Wigwam campsite.

I did have a bike mechanical. Evidently I let out the inside adjustment screw too far. Somewhere in the trail section I noticed my rear brake all of a sudden was loose. I figured the cable slipped, and I’d tighten it later. Right before the cliff I tightened the outboard screw which let me get down the cliff. During the rolling hills I stopped and looked into it further, and found I only had one pad. The second must have dropped out on the trail. I cannibalize a pad from my second set I was saving for my front. Hopefully the bike shop in Banff will stock them.

This campground is considered “primitive”. Outhouse, but no running water available. The river is close, so I filtered water into my MSR dromdarry to prepare for tomorrow.

Tomorrow will either be 27 miles to the Butts Patrol Cabin or 41 to another recreation site. If don’t do the 41, I’ll have to do 57 the following day to stay on schedule. Today was 21 miles.

June 22nd, GDMBR Day 1

20 miles total. 10 to the border then 2 to the dory road, lastly 8 up the super step road to Galton pass.

Had to walk most of the 8 miles from about 11am to 7:30pm. Long and the weather was over 80 again and full sun. Clouds rolled in later likely around 5. I was looking at the tenths of miles Tick away slowly. Finally switched to the clock around 6 so I’d be less frustrated at the slow progress.

Right before the top, my rear brake started squeaking. I think a piece of grit got in there. Though the pads are near life, so maybe there is something built in. I did not do any downhills this afternoon, so I can’t think that I wore any more off.

Got to work hanging a bear bag right away. Beneath me is the heaviest population of Grizzlies anywhere. I even forgot to eat my carbohydrates after getting off the bike. Slightly paranoid, but for good reason.

Dinner was two Knorr 7 minute meals. A taryoki rice, and a broccoli alfredo noodle. Tough to know how many calories I burned, and if I’m at a major deficit or at a healthy deficit for the day. How many calories to push a 75lb bike up a 50% incline?

Morning will be 6am, pack sleep stuff, fix bike, get bear bag down (if the bears didn’t already), eat granola bar and head out. I’d love to get to Butts patrole cabin tomorrow, but that is likely too many miles. I’m not even going to look at the map tonight, I just need to bike bike bike.

Posted this to the map and needs to be here also:
“My 30th birthday is today. The landscape is breathtaking here. Such a magnificent place to bike through. Everything is so grand, the trees, mountains, the length and difficulty of the trail. I’m glad that I’m spending time from my one life on Earth doing this bike trip.”

You can watch my location on this tour in real time and read random comments I post to the map at my InReach MapShare tracking page. Password:bike