Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bike Camping at Ness Lake

This weekend I did an overnight S240. I left yesterday morning, and arrived 2 hours later at my friend's place on Ness Lake, which according to my odometer, is 34 kms (21 miles) away.  It was more challenging then I expected because I had to bike into sometimes strong headwinds.  Thankfully, there were no headwinds when I was biking up Foothills, so I climbed that in decent time.
I stopped at another friend's place along the way for a much needed rest.  I got to meet her new grandson who is so cute!

My loaded bike parked in front of the person I visited along the way to my final destination.  Since I was in the area, I thought it nice to drop by (with notice of course).
At the BBQ, there was lots of people from all over visiting, and plenty of space for camping.
I didn't have to worry about bringing much food out with lack of space on my bike.  Roast Pig was on the Menu!
They like to raise some of their own food.  (They also have a nice garden)

 Ness Lake is very popular with swimmers, waterskiers, ski-doos, etc.  There's a camp here too that I went to when I was a child.
 And for all those who stayed the night, we were treated to wonderful breakfast!

I had a bear encounter similar to  Like his meeting, the bear was on the road ahead of me, on a hill that I was going up.  But there were enough cars driving buy (and a cyclist going in opposite direction  to me) that I really wasn't too worried about it.  Sure enough, the bear took off into the bush, so it was safe to keep on biking up the hill.

I throughly enjoyed my weekend bike-camping trip. It's a wonder why I don't do it more often.  I did a bike camping trip last year, but had to have my tent and stuff trucked out.  This year, I got the ultra-light tent, and I can now carry ALL the stuff that I need for a bicycle camping trip, on my bike!  It is such a wonderful feeling to be self-sufficient on a trip like this!  I have all that I need to do this more often now, and it was so worth the investment.  This trip was a prep trip for Tour De Jasper, but I do hope to do more overnighters in the future. 

The nice thing about living here, is that it isn't a far bike ride out until you hit the country.  Sure, there are no trains that can take you out of the city, but you don't need that here with the country being so close.  The only thing is any of the ways that you can get out the city with, all involve a big hill, so you get a workout to get out of the city.  You do a few of those and it's not so bad as you thought it would be. (except possibly in a headwind)

Since I am supposed to be writing about pros/cons of biking in our city, my one gripe about biking out on Foothills Blvd in the Hart, is that the 'bike path' is not safe to bike on at all, it wasn't repaved when the road was so there are lots of deep frost heaves and potholes.  At times it was so bad, that I was forced out on to the main road so I didn't hurt myself or my bike.  This is probably one of the worst sections of road that I have seen in the city.  And Chief Lake road out to Ness Lake has no space for bicycles, so it can be dangerous at times.  Ok, end of gripe.  All in all, an awesome weekend despite these flaws.

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