Overnight and first thing this morning there was a series of very loud bangs (bear bangers local call them) and lots of noise from megaphones, this was being done to move bears away from the campgrounds, a reassuring thing.
After yesterdays dire warnings about every campsite in the whole of the northern hemisphere being full due to the Canadian public holiday, we got up early and we were away by 8.00 hoping to get to the campground before they were full.
First off there was a very steep climb just to get us back on the track to Elk Pass, at least it was still cool so we could struggle without too sweatyness. We were now on track plenty of up very little down. The route followed an overhead cable, in fact if followed anywhere that would be called challenging.
Up here the quantity and variety of wild flowers under the power cables was very impressive, my pictures cannot show you their true beauty.
A few hours later we crested the Great Divide (or if you prefer the Continental Divide) at 6443 ft high for the first time. Although there is a small confession to make, in our keenness we went straight over the top and part way down the other side of Elk Pass without realising it. Goodbye Alberta hello British Columbia.
WOOOOO! Some great down now, very rough track but no pedaling at all, what could go wrong? We did not know until later our binoculars had bounced off Janet’s bike and made a successful bid for freedom about halfway down. On the way down we actually met someone else coming the other way, he was taking his 2 grandsons to see and fish a glacial lake high up in the valley, he had stocked this lake many years ago when he was a fisheries volunteer. He also showed us what a bear banger was I am sure your eardrums would burst it you were nearby when it was set off.
Eventually the down ended at the Elk River road (for road read rough potholed track), follow the link to a short clip of the first part of the road and our next task to find a campground.
The first one was at a cabin called Tobermory (you could just use the cabin if you wanted) the cabin was empty and the campground was empty, not the vision of full full full we were led to believe would be the case.
We met three guys on buggies who confirmed everywhere was empty and we would have no problem finding a camp spot, they even offered us a beer.
Continuing along the Elk River road the next campground approached, and wait what do we see a Bear? If only we had our binoculars. We moved forward slowly then saw they were a couple standing on the track. We did go up to them and apologise for mistaking them for a bear, they were watching some Elk high on the mountainside. They told us about the sweetest tasting water from a stream you could get further up the track, so leaving them we moved on and filled our bottles up at the stream (once we found it, it proved quite a lot further on than they said). The water was fine as well.
We also learnt about the many tags on the pine trees. These show that are diseased (with a currently unknown virus) or suffer from pine beetle, and will be felled soon. In fact the whole valley will be completely cleared next year, a shame.
We made our way to Weary Creek primitive campground (Primitive = one compost toilet as the only facility).
On this site we met some fishermen, of course I got out my tenkara fishing rod and got talking, they offered to lend me one of their rods but I wanted to try my own as yet unused rod. They did give me a so called killer fly and it did work, I caught one and lost three.
The river Elk is the finest trout rivers in Canada, it must be for me to have caught!
The one (small) trout I caught was supplemented by another (large) from our fisherman friends, both were cooked on our stove with rice, the best meal yet.
Whilst walking up the river we saw two small spotted deer which were white tailed deer fawns.
To finish the day I hung the food and toiletries up a large tree and we retired for the night, so we thought. There was a Knock! (If such a thing is possible on a tent) and the gentleman with the grandsons we met earlier that day had found a pair of binoculars and gone to the trouble of checking every campground on his way down to find us so he could return them. What kindness and I will say typical of everyone we seem to have met on our journey so far.