Monday, August 15, 2016

Day Eleven - Sunwapta to Lake Louise

Last night was interesting.  No showers but we can live with that.  We were at about 2,000 M so that is fairly high up  and while it was nice during the day, the temperature dropped at night. I dug out several layers and a hat and I was toasty warm. Even when it came time for bed, I just slipped into my sleeping bag with my clothes on. It just seemed like the right thing to do.  I didn't have to zip my sleeping bag all the way up, but I was tucked inside. And I have to say that I had a good sleep.  The only problem - my tent was situated on a bit of a slope and I left the cover on my air mattress so it was slippery and a couple of times, I found that I was slipping towards the bottom of my tent and couldn't stretch my legs.   By the time, I realized what was causing me to slip, it was almost time to get up.  No big deal.

Here's something that should be banned on these trips.  ALARMS!   At 5:30 this morning, someone's alarm goes off.  It rings several times, then stops.  Then it rings again - seriously????   The bloody thing rang FOUR times before it was silenced. All before 6 AM.   There is no need for an alarm. There is enough noise from people getting up that we don't need them. 

The best thing about yesterday, last night and this morning?   The weather was absolutely PERFECT.  When I was doing this trip in 2011, the weather on this particular leg of the trip was awful.  Cold, wet and raining.  Not pleasant.  I put my tent away this morning perfectly dry.  You couldn't ask for anything better.  I attribute that to the fact that I had my heavy duty rain geared shipped out to me! 

But there was still the issue of the big descent this morning.  I'm not sure what the temperature was, but it was cold and that descent is fast and steep.  The sun was out, but hadn't made it to the valley yet.  I think I had on four layers including my big rain coat, borrowed a pair of gloves with covered fingers (thanks Mike), knee warmers and wool socks.   Let's get going!

There was about 10 K to get to the start of the descent and my legs were protesting.  "This is too hard! Stop -turn around - we don't want to work today." That was a lot of climbing that we did the day before and well, my legs were in fact protesting. Then the descent.  It didn't seem as bad this time as the last time.  Probably because I had built it up so much in my head and the fact that the roads were dry made a big difference. I did stop at the second pullout as we did last time, but was way easier to stop because my hands weren't frozen.  Took some pictures and then the rest of the descent was a piece of cake. But I didn't check the speed and well - I don't want to know. It's just better that way.

But I was happy I had all those layers on.  It was COLD but I was toasty warm which also helped to make the descent better. Had a little break at the 46 K mark where most of the others arrived shortly behind me.  It was a strip down session.  Shortly before we had arrived at this place, the sun had peeked over the top of the mountains and it warmed up considerably.  Then back on the bike for the first steady climb of the day.  As I was starting the climb, the truck passed me.  Then the climb got a bit more intense and my legs almost died right there on the bike.  I thought there is NO WAY that I can do any climbing today.  It felt like I had two wet noodles for legs. After careful evaluation of the situation, I realized that there was no choice but to carry on, although the thought of hitchhiking for 30 K did cross my mind!

Once I got into the climb and geared my bike all the way down, I was fine. But it was a long 5 K slog. I'm always playing with the numbers and thinking that if it's going to be climbing all the way to the Bow Summit at 84 K, then it was going to be a long day. However after I did the 5 K climb, it wasn't so bad with lots of ups and downs so that made it OK.  While my legs were never completely happy (only a day off would make them jump for joy!), I did manage to do not so bad.

Next up was a big climb to reach Bow Summit.  The climb was about 6 K and only about 300 M of elevation gain.  Fortunately, we had done the rest of the climbing while getting to the final summit so that was OK.  There was construction on the summit and I got caught in the traffic stoppage.  That was OK as I got to rest - I think I still had 2 K to go at that point.  But after chatting to the signal person for what seemed like a long time, I asked if I could start out.  Next thing I knew all the traffric was behind me.  No big deal - they all went slow.

The last forty K into camp were fairly easy.  There were some great distances of straight downhill.  A few uphills, but nothing too challenging. By this time, I think my legs were totally numb so I didn't feel anything at all!!!!

Got into camp at Lake Louise which is a nice camp.  The tenting area is on an island in the river inside an elecrified fence. The truck in on the opposite side of the river in a non protected area.

This entire area is hopping with activity. Campsites are completely full, traffic is crazy, tourist attractions are jammed.  Yes - it's tourist season!!!!

My tent is now set up, I've had a shower and I'm eating cereal and drinking a beer.  Don't ask - it's just what was handy and I was hungry!

No interenet tonight so no posting.  But things are going great.  Tomorrow is a light day and thank god because I don't think my brain or my body would be capable of doing anything like we've done the last two days.  That was a lot of KM and a lot of climbing.  I'll be posting some stats once I get back to civilization.

Since we had no power, I wasn't able to charge my Garmin (bike computer) last night.  I arrived at camp today with less than 1% left.  Now how is that for perfect timing!!!!

On that note, I think I'll be having dinner soon and then off to bed.  While some of us would likely hit our tents at 7:30, we have a rule.  Not before 8:30!!!!   Can you believe that?  Not the rule, but the fact that we are ready for bed at 7:30!!!!!

Have a great day!!!!


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