Monday, 31 August 2015

Foiled again

Last week, we tried to go to Commonwealth Valley, a hike you bike into, with great views and high alpine meadows. But we hadn't made it more than 2 km from our house when the smoke and terrible viz turned us away.

Yesterday, the forecast was calling for sunshine, some clouds and windy today, and rain coming in later in the week. The smoke is mostly gone (though it could come back; the fires aren't out yet), so we planned to hit Commonwealth today before the rain hit.

This morning, it was partially overcast but OK in the valley. We strapped the bikes on the car, drove 50 km down the Spray Valley to the Commonwealth trailhead, and found...

Rain. It was sort of sunny in the northern section of the Spray Valley, but the farther south we got, the worse it got. The Commonwealth Valley itself was grey, and the farther up the valley you looked, the more socked in it was. So much for the forecast. And so much for hiking in.

We thought we might just move a few valleys north and bike in to Watridge Lake (which I last rode to in 2009), so drove to the Mt. Shark parking lot. That valley was no better, and it was spitting rain, but we could see it was still sunny with partially blue skies back up where we started in the northern section of the Spray Valley.

So we drove back to the Spray West campground, thinking we would ride the 28 km round trip West Spray Road (which we last did in August 2011). Then Karen had a bright idea to instead ride north towards the Goat Creek parking lot along the old power-line service road that they are turning into the High Rockies Trail in this area. Sure enough, we found trail crew stuff, but the crews themselves weren't working.
Trucks, quads, gear & wood 
Boardwalks under construction 
The boardwalks start at the far end of the road
The reason they're building boardwalks is because it's quite marshy in that area. We couldn't see a good way through the marsh, so after having ridden all of 2.3 km, we pulled a U turn, intent on heading back to the car, then back to the West Spray Road.

And right around here, the saddle on my bike broke. A clamp that holds the nose of the seat down failed. My seat was thus unstable, and my bike sort of unrideable for any distance. So much for riding anywhere today.

So it was back to the car...
Spray Lakes Dam, where we parked 
Little Lougheed and cap clouds on Mt. Sparrowhawk
... then back to town. We stopped at a bike shop who concluded that they don't make replacement parts for things like that (because they "never break"). With them, I brainstormed ideas on how to fix it, then went to Canadian Tire and picked up some clamps designed for electrical conduit. A bit of reaming to make the hole big enough for the seat bolt and bingo, problem solved.

So we spent 3 hrs driving around in the car to ride less than 5 km, saw 2 deer, and once again proved that weather forecasts in the mountains are useless. I wonder if we will get into Commonwealth this year?

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