a nice view down a valley

It was a tough one today, with a long climb some describe as the most challenging of the ride from Vancouver to Banff: Anarchist Pass. I started the day after a good rest, enjoying the stay at Stemwinder—though with a flat (the previous day’s tube repair did not hold). I also started to wear board (surf) shorts over my bike pants to protect my legs from exposure—which helped a lot!

Camp at Stemwinder Provincial Park

Following my only icy morning, I headed off on the cruise down to the east gate of Manning Provincial Park at 8:20am. I stopped at the store just east of the gate (the east gate diner iirc?) to pick up a ‘sports drink’ and a snack for breakfast. As I was setting up to leave a car pulled in that had passed me on the climb the day before (3 bicycles on the roof). We had a good chat about cycle touring. The occupants were moving back to Ontario after living out in Vancouver for a couple years. Their trip east was a journey! They had planned for three weeks travelling south of the border through exploring National Parks. After leaving the Provincial Park, the smallish climb up Sunday Summit was next.

The Fraser River and Valley at Hope.

Yes, I know the title is a little cheezy/a double entendre. I was on my bike before 8 for my ride to Hope where I planned on having lunch and picking up some food for dinner/breakfast. My first mountain pass was to follow and I was unsure of how I would manage. It proved to be pretty tough, possibly the most challenging climb for me of the whole trip. One thing that this climb taught me, in conjunction with the many that followed, was that sports drinks make climbing much easier (i.e. they keep you hydrated far more than water alone). I began carrying one at all times, then two later in the trip—for reasons that later posts will highlight.

BOB Ibex all loaded and ready to go

Given that I was up until close to 4am the night before, I had a bit of a late start today. I was off and on my bike around 10:30. I was unsure how far I would get, aiming for somewhere between Mission and Hope (interesting town names!). The Fraser Valley is very flat, and I stopped in the late afternoon, not wanting to push too far on my first day, at Squawkum Park.