After a good breakfast and coordinating the logistics of our return with Joan, we were just about ready to head out. One last look at the map and with that we left the campground at 10 am. Not a particularly early start, but a small price to pay for not having loose ends and keeping everyone happy.
Our route began along the beautiful Carpenter Lake, created by BC Hydro damming the Bridge River. The green-grey shimmer of glacial runoff sets this lake apart from the extremely clear Gun Lake.
Soon, we turned off the paved road and began climbing the steep gravel towards Tyaughton Lake. At the turn-off for Tyax Resort, I asked Lee if he wouldn’t mind checking the place out. Gosh, were we impressed. We spoke with a couple employees, one was the outdoor activities guide who told us about various summer and winter activities that involve helicopters and floatplanes. The cheap rooms looking out the back are $199 right now, $165 during the shoulder season.
We then rode up the quiet Tyaughton Lake Rd, Mud Creek Rd. and Relay Creek Rd.; our entire first day’s ride is highlighted on the map below in purple, along with our complete loop in red:
Just a few hundred yard above the Tyax Resort were bear foot prints on the dirt road, next to those 2 bike tracks that must have originated from the 2 fellows who came through the day before us. In other words, the road is pretty darn quiet. And much more scenic than I had expected. Tyaughton Creek is the first that we crossed – thank goodness for bridges.
I lost and found my one banana within 10 minutes – and 10 ft. from where we stopped for a rest.
We rode along, pushed here and there, and actually cranked out quite a few miles.
Finally, we reached the park boundary where the Relay Creek singletrack was about to start.
Though it all seemed quite serene and untouched, the area was a huge mining operation a few (dozen) decades ago.
Just as the singletrack was supposed to start, we found ourselves ankle deep in mud – pretty mud, but still, wet mud. Lee’s hiking shoes were water proof, my biking shoes were mostly mesh. For the next 3 days, I’d be constantly trying to keep my shoes dry, only to get them wet again.
After walking around the beautiful swamps for a while, we did notice that the GPS route was just above us – and going there we found beautiful single track again.
This lead us past the Relay Cow Camp.
We found a place to set up our tents and after our freeze dried meals hit the sack. It got chilly in the night, but I still slept pretty well under my down blanket. The next night, though, I put on my thin wool baselayer and stayed much warmer even though it dropped down below freezing.
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