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Trip Report: Ashcroft to Hope BC (Pic heavy)

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Trip Report: Ashcroft to Hope BC (Pic heavy)

Old 05-04-19, 10:04 AM
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Happy Feet
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Trip Report: Ashcroft to Hope BC (Pic heavy)

Finished a year long project at work recently and decided to take a week off to reset. With a potential weather window opening, I headed out for a 3 1/2 day jaunt
around the interior of BC.

Travel Day - Mission Harbour to Ashcroft.

Booked a ticket on the Via Rail train for $65. All they require is a bike in a bag if the car doesn't have bike racks. I picked up a mattress bag from CT for $10. They also have a $25 bike fee they collect on the train but twice now they have forgotten about it. The train was supposed to arrive at 4:35pm but was delayed until 6:30. This reminded me of that old army expression: Hurry up and wait.




The delay meant I arrived in Ashcroft at midnight and it was quiet as a ghost town. I had arranged to get into the Legacy Campground, even though it was not yet officially open (thanks Barry) and set up my tent by 12:30am. Again, I didn't have to pay so that made me $35 in the black on the first day.

Day 1: Ashcroft to Kamloops - 120km's.

Awoke at 6:30 and was packed up by 7am. I rode into town and looked around but the only thing open was a gas station so I had a preservative laced danish and coffee for breakfast. Ashcroft was an important pioneer town from the Caribou gold rush days but now is just a sleepy little place like so many interior communities.

The Ol' Opera House.



My horse for the ride.



7am Ashcroft.



What I hadn't expected was the climb out of Ashcroft towards Logan Lake on the 97c. It was about 20km non stop and quite a grind first thing in the morning.

Looking back down at Ashcroft.



Looking up at the hill ahead.



A convenient two dimensional representation.



...to be continued next post.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-04-19 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 05-04-19, 10:18 AM
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Day 1 continued...

The weather was clear but cool and it was about 60kms to Logan Lake. Along the way I saw this amazing open Potash mine on a dried out lake bed.










I also saw an equally amazing copper mine that spanned a whole valley but am still working on those pictures to make a collage.

By lunch time I arrived at Logan Lake and had what had to be the worlds largest omelette at a hole in the wall cafe. It was delivered to the table in this truck.



After that I continued east on the 97 until it crossed the Coquihalla Hwy and then I took the Lac Le Jeunne back road into Kamloops. Along the way I rode through a snow squall. In Kamloops I stopped at Tim Horton's for a coffee and then headed south on the 5a for 5kms to a campsite in Knutson and set up by a nice little stream.




I call it the "Toe Chateau".
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Old 05-04-19, 10:31 AM
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Day 2: Kamloops to Merritt 90km's.

I expected this to be an easier enjoyable day as the 5a south goes more downhill than up and the valley it runs through is very scenic, but a strong head wind and cold temps had me pretty well shattered by the time I hit Merritt in the afternoon. I had to pedal constantly and it was an effort, the last 15 km's with brutal gusts requiring the granny gear on a horizontal road. Too bad, as running this road was the whole reason behind the trip. Oh well, an excuse to do it again in summer conditions.

Early morning along the 5a.









I stopped for a rest along the way and these four steers decided to start brawling right in front of me. First it was two, then three and finally a fourth joined in on the head butting action.



I arrived in Merritt and after a meal rode a little down the road to a campsite where I tried to recover in dread of the next day going up and over the Coquihalla.

...to be continued.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-04-19 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 05-04-19, 10:42 AM
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Day Three: Merritt to Hope 120kms.

I was a little afraid of the same headwinds making for slow progress again so I got up early and left camp at 6:30am. After playing around on Google maps the night before I decided to try the Coldwater Road instead of the Coquihalla for the first part of the day. Coldwater runs parallel to the Coke for 30 km's before joining it but doesn't climb as high going out of town. Good choice! This was the most scenic stretch of the trip with a windy quiet country road through beautiful scenery.

Early morning on Coldwater Rd.






A cool little place is Kingsvale, where Coldwater Road meets the Coquihalla.








...to be continued.
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Old 05-04-19, 10:52 AM
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Finally on the Coquihalla I settled into riding and after another 30km's hit the Britton Rest stop where I bought a sandwich to share with a friendly Whiskey Jack.



Then it was 5 more km's to the summit and a thumbs up moment for effort! The wind gods had smiled on me with only the occasional manageable headwind and I just missed a rain squall at the summit. It was cool enough to be a little chilled but not hypothermic.



Beyond that was the Zopkios truck stop and the start of the descent down.

A view of Yak Peak at the summit.





I hit 65kph and even passed a semi in the fast lane. It was a very long and fast ride!
At the bottom I took the Othello exit and followed Othello road into Hope where I met a couple from Scotland just setting out for Halifax. A little early in the season but the Scots are hardy stock I suppose. In Hope my lovely wife arrived to pick me up and the adventure was over.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:48 PM
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I really like your B&W images!
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Old 05-04-19, 08:26 PM
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Thanks

Here's the collage of the copper mine.
It didn't turn out that well and I may try another editor but to give it some scale the second pic shows a small section. Each layer is a road that a mine truck can drive on. The mine spans the whole valley from one end to the other.




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Old 05-05-19, 12:38 AM
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Cool pics, ya' beat the crowds I guess.
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Old 05-05-19, 05:57 AM
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Thanks for posting!! We enjoyed our that portion of our cross Canada tour 2 summers ago.
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Old 05-05-19, 08:00 AM
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I like the photo of the bird mooching a meal. Wild animals in close proximity are always charming. In New Hampshire, the Appalachian Mountain Club maintains a series of lodges in the woods. At Mizpah Spring Hut, Canadian Jays, also known as Gray Jays, will land on your hand for a morsel. Sometimes eaten immediately and sometimes carried into the woods to be hidden under some bark. It will then likely be back for more. This is how they cache food for winter.
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Old 05-05-19, 08:47 AM
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Thanks for the pictures and the trip report. Nice to see someone touring the BC interior, and actually using the train! Too bad the weather wasn’t slightly more cooperative- but then you’d get more traffic and tourists. Is there a way to follow your route more or less but avoid riding the Coq?

By the way, the ‘steers’ in your head butting photos aren’t steers - they are bulls by the looks of things (steers only started life as bulls).
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Old 05-05-19, 09:45 AM
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Thanks all

Originally Posted by berner View Post
I like the photo of the bird mooching a meal. Wild animals in close proximity are always charming. In New Hampshire, the Appalachian Mountain Club maintains a series of lodges in the woods. At Mizpah Spring Hut, Canadian Jays, also known as Gray Jays, will land on your hand for a morsel. Sometimes eaten immediately and sometimes carried into the woods to be hidden under some bark. It will then likely be back for more. This is how they cache food for winter.
I have always loved the Whiskey Jacks from my early days hiking and climbing on the coast. We also have Blue Jays (Stellars?) which can come close but not in the same way. As I was playing with this fellow a Blue Jay was sitting off a bit looking on with what appeared to be a hint of jealousy. On the other side of the Rockies we have Magpies which do the same thing as WJ's.

Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
Thanks for the pictures and the trip report. Nice to see someone touring the BC interior, and actually using the train! Too bad the weather wasn’t slightly more cooperative- but then you’d get more traffic and tourists. Is there a way to follow your route more or less but avoid riding the Coq?

By the way, the ‘steers’ in your head butting photos aren’t steers - they are bulls by the looks of things (steers only started life as bulls).
I dunno if they were steers or bulls (wasn't going to check ) but there was a whole field of them. I always thought they castrated bulls if they were going to be for beef production. This whole area is long time cattle country and you occasionally have to cross cattle guards on the roads. They have signage but I would not want to hit one at night.

To go from Merritt to the mainland through the mountains you can do several routes, depending on time distance and weather. For routes I always do a calculation of good shoulder vs bad shoulder vs traffic frequency. Bad shoulders are ok if there is low traffic (like the Coldwater Road) but sucks terribly if there is moderate to high traffic. In that case I prefer good shoulders, even if there is high traffic, which is why I don't mind the Coke as it has decent shoulders most of the way. With that in mind... From Merritt:

1. You can go west on Hwy 8 to Spences Bridge and then down the Fraser Canyon route (Hwy 1) and come out in Hope. This is scenic, longer, can be very hot in summer and goes up and down a lot. Also does not have the best shoulders. Good to do once to see the canyon but not high on my list because of the high traffic/bad shoulders.

2. You can go east/south on the 5a to Princeton and then follow the Crowsnest (#3) west to Hope. Again, longer, scenic, but good shoulders. I would consider this a good option.

3. You can take my initial route south along Coldwater Road through Kingsvale and then cross the Coquihalla and keep going on Coldwater Road southeast. This connects to Brookmere Road and then joins Coalmont Road which comes out in Princeton. Then it's west on Hwy 3 again to Hope. This is the old KVR route more or less, some groomed gravel, a little remote but scenic and low traffic.

4. A last and long convoluted route is to go west on Hwy 8 to Spences Bridge then south to Lytton in the Fraser Canyon but then veer northwest on Hwy 12 to Lillooet and then south west on Hwy 99. This will bring you out to Whistler and then south to Vancouver along the scenic Sea to Sky Hwy. I have driven this and plan to ride it as well one day but it is the longest by far and doesn't have good shoulders for many sections with traffic in tourist season.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-05-19 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:40 AM
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Great posts, love the photos. Thanks for allowing us to "follow" along on your trip.
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Old 05-06-19, 10:58 PM
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Your post is not "pic heavy". It is a nice "photo essay" telling the story with pictures and words. It inspires me to get off my duff, and load up the bike.
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Old 05-07-19, 08:43 AM
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Thanks guys.

Doug, somehow I don't think you need any inspiration

I didn't add it before but here's a map of the route. One can also see other roads such as Hwy 3 and 1 and various connections.
Red was the train route and the other colours represent each days ride.


Annotation 2019-05-07 073927 by dc460, on Flickr
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Old 05-07-19, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Awoke at 6:30 and was packed up by 7am.
so you are one of "those" ;-)
My whole life I have always preferred to need to wake up and not rush the morning routine, food, hot drink, bathroom and packup. I've tried but the whole "get up and be out of there in 30 mins" thing just doesnt work.

and to add to what Doug said about the photos, yup good job of editing and showing the right amount and what to show that gives a good visual storyline to it all.

and chuckle on the omelet being brought out by the wee truck.
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Old 05-07-19, 08:24 PM
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Really really nice thread, Happy. Chilliwack and Hope and Kamloops are far from unfamiliar to me/us. The rest of your trip is a bit new as far as my experience, but as mentioned by others, the pictures have certainly be superb in rousing my interest.

Last edited by Rowan; 05-08-19 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 05-08-19, 02:30 PM
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Thank you for sharing your story...and your pictures! When I can't ride I love living vicariously through thise who are! 😊
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Old 05-10-19, 08:05 PM
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Hey, I finally got to look at your pics. 😁👍 I saw your thread a few days ago, but couldn't spare the battery power, to look at them. I'm sure you know what I mean. 😉
I can tell, you really do have "happy feet", lol. 😁
Blue Jays often stop around Lake Erie, during their migrations, and I always had water out for them. They don't seem to be able to drink from the lake too well, and really used that bird bath a lot. 🙂
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