My cycling trip has really started and it was good.
Vancouver-Kettle Valley Trail-North Cascade NP-Seattle-Olympic NP-Victoria (vancouverisland)
Distance : 1659km
I finally left Vancouver on friday, june 6, when the weather wasnit to good. I already waited a day longer and visited the national museum of etnography.
I left together with Naomi, a local cyclist and hiker who i met. She leaves on Sunday to cycle through Canada. This is a testride for her. It is nice to ride with someone who knows the way and i really enjoied her company.
Naomi, thank you for cycling with me and i hope you have a great trip.
The first aim is the Kettle Valley Trail (KVT) which originally was a railway made for the goldrush in the late 19th century. When it became out of use it was turned into a trail for hikers, horses, cyclists,.... and some of it is a part of the official Trans Canada Trail.
On Sunday i cycle over the Cloquihalla pass (1200m) high. Till now i have had allways bad weather and now is no different. There is still snow and it is very cold. When i finally get to the top i enjoy a hot chocolademilk. (yes, Naomi, i am crazy enough to do this, you were smarter to avoid it).
Normally, after the pass there is a trail that leads you to the KVT but people tell me it will be snowed in for sure. 20km further i can go directly on the KVT. When i finally find it, it turns out there was a landslide and i have to turn back. I have to cycle 80 km around the mountains to get back on the trail.
The funny thing is that if you get over the pass the weather improves a lot. The mountains keep the rain and snow away and very soon i am in a semi-dessert region but still cold. I find this out on monday morning when i see ice on my tent and bicycle. When the sun starts shining it gets warmer and i enjoy the ride. Back in the mountains i see a lot of animals : deer, very small squirels, beautiful birds,.... They arent shy at all.
One thing is very disappointing : the local people use this trail for riding with there quads and that destroys the gravel. It becomes to hard to cycle and i return to the mainroad which still is beautifull.
On tuesday, june 10, i decide for cycling direct to the North Cascade NP and the USA. I met Dave. An american guy from Flagstaff, Arizona who cycled from there and wants reach the east coast of Canada. I will meet many more cyclist who are hoping to ride from coast to coast in Canada. We cycle together for the bigger part of the day. In the evening i have to go south to the USA. I cross the border in Osoyoos with very little problems.
In this region we see a lot of fruits and even some winegards. It is very beautifull.
To reach the North Cascade NP i have to pass Washington Pass (5477 feet). With a splendid headwind it is a hard thing to do. I finally reach the top. I need more than 4 hours and i just covered 40 km. Here i meet three other cyclist on there transcanadian trail but they are cycling for a charity. For Livestrong. Against cancer and named after Lance Armstrong, a famous cyclist which had cancer. Their website is www.crossamericabikeride.com
I reach the NP decide to do some hiking on Friday. At the start of the trail i meet Jordan and we hike together for most of the day. He stays up there while i go back.
The campsites here are totally different from those in Europe and i have to adapt. In Europe there is allways clean water and showers and mostly a shop where you can buy food. Here that is more of an exception. Even here there is a lot of snow and some trails are not open yet.
Because of the time limit and because there is also a lot of snow in Mount Rainier NP is decide to skip that and cycle through Seattle to the Olympic NP.
I try to meet Kam, a longdistance cyclist, but he isnit home. I still have a good time meeting Gill who gives me the place of a good friend on Vancouverisland where i can stay if i want.
The people are very openminded here and several times a day they will talk to me. So also on Monday when Hubert talks to me. He is from east-Germany and left the country in the 1960s.
He offers me to stay at his place and it is great. A hot shower, decent bed and a warm meal can do miracles.
On tuesday, on my way to Olympic NP, they advice me to take a cycle route on Lake Crescent. It is very beautifull but also very hard with steep descent very close to the lake. A lot of stones, hight roots,.... It is very good for mountainbiking but not for a heavy loaded bicycle as mine.
i will learn that people dont really know this way of travelling. Allthouhg there are more bikingfacilities than expected there is not a really cycling mentality like home.
On wednesday and thursday i go hiking in the NP. It is beautifull but also here i have a bit too little food with me. But i works out and i see my first black beer, two elk and a lot of other animals. It is also my first time in a rainforest and i like it. I am also very lucky. I am 4 days in or near the forest and have only 1 day a bit of rain. I have been wurse of back at home.
On friday i manage to visit Neah Beach and Cape Flattery. It is a Indianreservation and also the most NW point of the lower 48. The pacific ocean hits here the rocks and it gives wonderfull scenery, caves, birdcolonies and so on. I can cycle for almost 80 km directly along the coastline and i camp on the beach. It is great.
On saturday i take the ferry to Victoria on Vancouver-island. Today, monday, i will leave to Port Hardy where i take the ferry to Alaska.
Victoria is very beautifull and i see two times some live music. I stay with Adam, a guy i meet when i leave the ferry and he invites me to his home. He lives on a floathome. A home that stays on the sea. It sometimes shakes a bit but i like it. Adam is also a member of the canadian rowing team that goes to the Olympic games in Peking.
Adam, thank you very much for hosting me and i hope you win in Peking. (at least end before the Netherlands).