I awoke in Golden to a fine wet fog mist and 2.5 C. Golden sits in a valley and the fog had settled there nicely. It was spooky. I was up quite early as I had a big climb ahead of me. For some reason, I had bear on my mind the previous night. I awoke at 1:45 AM and was sure I could hear rustling in a nearby bush. It’s funny once you have an idea in your head you cannot get settled. I have found the best way to deal with this (do not scoff) is to go out and explore the area to convince oneself that all is fine. Of course, this works as long as you do not find a wild animal! Thankfully, I did not and was able to fall asleep again my mind being settled. Of course, the train came through at 2 AM and 4 AM so it was a fitful sleep.
You start climbing right out of Golden. They now have a bike path (steep!) which parallels Highway 1 for a bit. You eventually end up on the Highway and the first 6-8 km are nerve wracking. The road is very narrow with no real safe shoulder and big trucks driving through commonly. I wondered if I had to add dense fog to the mix! Thankfully, as I climbed bright blue sky appeared and I broke free of the fog. It was going to be another brilliant day.
The only truly scary moment on this section occurred when I was slowly climbing and taking one of the tight turns with no shoulder. A large truck came up behind me and proceeded to cross the centre line to give me more room (thanks). Just then another truck entered the turn coming downhill so the climbing truck beside me quickly swung back into my lane to avoid a collision with the other truck. All I could see was the rear of the trailer closest to me coming right at me. I had no where to go. Tension builds! I slowed down and the end of the trailer corrected to within 6 inches of me! Talk about drama!
The rest of the leg was uneventful except for incessant climbing. Boy, I did not remember so much climbing. It seemed to settle within 5 km of Field. I was tired and my pace was slow. I stopped in Field and yes they had a restaurant that was open. Glory be! I needed energy. Imagine my dismay when the waitress said they were “transitioning” from lunch to dinner and could only offer soup! I played up my bike touring saga and showed a little mountain pass honed leg definition and she agreed to bring me a deconstructed beef brisket sandwich. It was the best sandwich I have had in a long time. I also had the soup. Trust me the energy was needed for what lay ahead!
Just when you think you had clear sailing, I rode out of Trail and suddenly remembered the “other” pass I had to climb. Kicking Horse Pass. An unrelenting 10-12 km up with no breaks in grade. It is not the lungs that get you it is the butt pressure. You keep readjusting position to reduce the discomfort. This is where cycle touring is psychological. It can break you. I am thankfully very stubborn and was able to conquer the pass without a break! Yes!
I neglected to mention that when I got to Trail at 3 PM I called ahead to see if Castle Mountain Junction Chalets had room. I forgot it was a Friday long weekend. They did not! This led to my first backup plan. I would camp in Lake Louise. A shorter distance was welcome as I was tired and I would have arrived at Castle Mountain at 7:30-8 PM!
I pulled into Lake Louise at 5:30 PM and proceeded to the campground which was closed for tenters! Yikes. I then quickly rode over to the Alpine Centre HI Hostel at Lake Louise. As I walked in 10 guests were checking in! I was not hopeful not having a reservation. When it was my turn I again explained my predicament. I must have looked worse for wear as she agreed to open up the second wing and got me a private room. Perfect! I had a great hot shower and a great meal at Bill Peyto’s Cafe and then a nice walk around the town centre.
I am in bed as I write this blog. It will be a long day tomorrow as I have to make up an extra 30 Km to keep up with my schedule. A good night’s sleep without trains and not needing to camp will help me get an early start.
I have not quite completed the Golden Triangle as I have to get back to Castle Mountain Junction before I can claim that accomplishment.
I am on my way back. I am so thankful for the weather which has been amazing. I will saunter along the Bow Valley Parkway to get home. The hardest part is behind me! Adieu.