14 June 2007

Because we had such a short ride today, we decided to set off a bit late and take care of a few things in town first. Dan was having a few problems with his bike, so we went to 180 Mountain Sport to get it looked at. The mechanics there, Chad and Rene, were extremely helpful to both Dan and I. They talked to us at length about our bikes, gave us some sound advice, and weren't just trying to sell us stuff all along. The best part was that I got a new cassette for my bike, which added a low gear. This was quite necessary, as before this, I only had 16 gears, which were barely enough to get me up Roger's Pass, and would not have gotten me through the madness that was to come today.

As we were getting ready to leave outside the bike shop, we met Alec and Adam, two cyclists who were biking to Calgary to raise awareness about the environment as part of the Otesha project. Adam is a rower at Trent University!

The first part of the route to Field was treacherous. Right away, we were faced with 15 km of some very steep climbs. Now we were really in the Rockies--the road twisted and turned, and only a short concrete barrier separated us from a deadly drop. Shortly after this climb, it started to really pour. The zipper of my rain coat had broken a few days ago, and I got absolutely soaked. Luckily, though, the weather in the mountains is constantly changing, and the rain didn't last.

We stopped for lunch at an entrance to Yoho National Park shortly after it stopped raining. We saw a deer jump out of the forest, bound across the road, and then leap back into the forest on the other side. Then, literally seconds later, we saw another deer get hit by a car! It all happened so fast: the deer jumped out of nowhere, right in front of the car; the car hit the deer, then stopped immediately. The deer, after getting hit, just jumped right back up and bounded back into the forest! It was insane!

The rest of the ride into Field was absolutely amazing. We are really in the mountains now, and words cannot describe what that's like. Despite having seen so many pictures of the Rockies, nothing can compare to actually riding through them. It's a bit cold and a tough ride, but absolutely breathtaking.

We spent the night in the Kicking Horse campground in Yoho National Park, 2 km east of Field. This night was the coldest yet. I don't know what the temperature was, but we were shivering in our sleeping bags, even though we were wearing many layers to bed. Oh well, tomorrow we're only going to Lake Louise, a mere 25 km away.

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