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Saturday, July 01, 2006

2 of 5 Getaways from your getaway

My seat is sore. I won't go into what I mean exactly but I can tell you that Skogan Pass is a tough one to do in 30 degree C heat with a loaded bike. Of course I had planned the trip ahead of time without anticipating what the weather was to be. As per usual, the weather turns to whatever it needs to be to challenge me in my resolve. Normally a I am subjected to rain, lightning, snow, wind but it had to one up those and make it harder to deal with, extreme heat in the likes of Onterrible temperatures of 30+ and humidity.

Suck it up is what I hear my very good friend saying to me (in my head, thanks W.) By the way I did this trip with my friend's fiance's friend. She shall remain nameless so as to not cause her embarassment or shame or to keep her from killing me for saying something I shouldn't. She biked to Banff, where we met, biked back to her place where I promptly passed out on the couch as she tried to convince me that we should bike the Smith-Dorrien (which would have added a thousand more kilometres and probably more scenic and not as up-hill). I wasn't convinced that a longer route was better than a 625m climb through a pass that went through the forest which lots of potential for getting lost. In hindsight, I would have been better to do the Smith.

Anyways, we did the Skogan, after being lost for 2 or so hours. The trails are not marked very well. Once at the top, the hard part behind us, it felt rewarding knowing all the Ts and Ts that we went through to get there. Our being lost and my complaining that we were lost. My friend's eyes screamed death to me or stick a sock in it. But in all fairness, if she let me look at the map as often as I wanted.....

From the top it was smooth sailing to Nakiska ski resort and then the Ribbon Creek HI hostel. This was a nice place. In a glade of trembling aspens near Ribbon Creek. The manager is Mark, 25 years old. Very hospitable. Nice quiet atmosphere, firepit, village nearby, comfortable lounge. I could very easily go back. My partner had arranged for some friends to come out with food for a picnic. My friend Mike was there minutes before us. Followed by his fiance and then the other couple. Good food, good friends. I hope to never forget that night. It was a top ten. I'm glad that it was thought of. Again, after all had left, I passed out. I haven't seen stars for a long time.

The next mornings departure took us along the Stoney Trail. A long winding path that follows along the west side of the Kananaskis Valley. A road really, under power lines, but it made for a relatively smooth bike ride, scenic, and travels along the west shore of Barrier Lake. We followed the route to Camp Chief Hector but I think that we weren't supposed to. It was very clear. The rest of the trip was along the 1X to the 1A to Canmore with a lunch break at Grotto Pond(?)

After all that ass numbing riding I caved and purchased a pair of extremely expensive cycling shorts/convertible pants. My bottom feels better now.

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