Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 14 - Hedley to Manning Park East Gate

Similkameen River
Squirrel and Bunny's Excellent Adventures:

When I last posted, we had biked from Penticton to Hedley.

After staying at a campsite near Hedley for the night, it was time to head on.  First we would be biking a fairly easy 35 kms or so on a highway that follows the old railway that used to connect Hedley to Princeton, so there would be no hills, so to speak.  One thing nice about leaving early in the morning is that there isn't much for headwinds yet.  They seemed to start at around 10 am or so each day.  It was also cooler in the mornings which also made for easier riding. That seems to be a mantra of bike touring, leave early!
We left the campsite by Hedley early to bike to Princeton

32 or so kms later, we arrive in Princeton
After a couple of hours we made it to Princeton. We stocked up on food and water as we would be camping the next night in Manning Park and there would be no facilities.  Luckily, I still had one freeze dried food left (I had bought a couple while in Lake Louise for camping in remote places).  I did stock up on quick energy food like dried fruit, etc.  Princeton is a nice little place that has a seen a boom recently.  One thing about bike touring is that you stock up when you reach a town.  You must plan ahead, especially if where you will be staying the next night isn't near a town or store.

When we left Princeton, the riding got much harder!  There were 2 big hills that we had to go over, and another smaller one as we left Princeton.  It was a warm day which made the riding up them that much harder.  I walked/rode up all of them.  As I found on other steep graded hills, I could get up steep sections much faster walking then I could by riding.  It was a good excuse for a bum break and it would keep me in fairly good hiking shape for when I return home.  I am planning to do a backpacking trip in September.

Climbing hills this day was like doing 3 hikes in one day.  After climbing up one of the big ones, I found the highway went right back down, to another valley! What the?!!  Where's the justice in that?  I had to start all over again, from the bottom!  People were looking at me with wonder when I started each time from the valley bottom as they knew what I was in for.  Of course, I also got lots of honks of support too.

After climbing the hills, I caught up with Jim who was waiting for me at the top.  He didn't know how far we had ridden or how far away Manning Park was as his odometer wasn't working.  He was quite upset about that as he had paid good money for the wireless unit.  Mine just didn't work when it was cold and wet at the same time.  His wasn't working, period.  Bummer.  Stupid electronics!

I was wondering if we had any more climbing to do, but as I reached a sort of a summit, I asked a trucker if there was more, and he said that I'd now be going down a big hill! Yahoo!  It's true, where there is an up there is a down, somewhere....
View of where we came from as we are going up one of two big hills
We made it to the East Gate of Manning Park!
It turns out that we weren't that far from the Park.  Just before the East Gate, we stopped at this gas station.  Jim enjoyed a tasty Samosa.  It turned out that we only had 6 kms to ride to the first campsite along the way.  I stayed at that same campsite a few years back when I went hiking there with some friends.  Manning Park is a very nice park!  I again treated myself to a drink before heading on.  It was an easy 6 km ride to the campsite as it was pretty well flat, the road had double-lanes on both sides, and there was quite a decent sized shoulder to ride on.

Manning Park is fairly easy riding, with a little bit of a climb to Allison Pass
As the campsite was rocky, I held the fly out by using rocks rather then trying to hammer the pegs in as that would bend them.  This was the first campsite on the trip so far where we locked up the bikes at night.  We just felt that as it was closer to Vancouver and near a busy highway, it was best not to take any chances.

We were lucky to have paid only for one tent in all the campsites that we stayed at.  According to what we read, they were supposed to charge for each of us!  It's a bit confusing actually, but the park attendant said nothing about it when we signed and paid for the site.

After having dinner and a short walk around the campsite, I was so exhausted from climbing all the hills that day, that I crawled into bed by 8 pm!  We biked 105 kms that day.

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