Monday, June 25, 2012

Bike camping at Purden Lake

Me with my Summer riding companion, Deanna

Squirrel goes to the lake

This weekend I went on a 124 km bicycling adventure to Purden Lake and back with my Summer travelling companion, Deanna. (62 kms each way)

We left the city in the rain, but it cleared up as we reached the top of the hills out of the bowel of the City.  It was still quite warm despite it being overcast.

Leaving the big city in the rain
We followed the same route as Tour de Jasper and the recent training rides that I have been doing.  Along the way people were honking horns and asking where we were going when we stopped at places, it was just like bike touring last year!  And this was just a weekend trip.
Lunch break at the Boxcar
At Tabor Mountain, we met up with my friend Mary-Jo and her husband, Paul, who I have been doing the training rides with.  They had ridden for the day from Tabor to Purden and back, about 30 kms each way.  Afterwards, we stopped for lunch at the boxcar that I have stopped at on the day training rides.  It was a good place to eat as it has a bench there to sit on.  Deanna made us some nice hot Tomato Bisque soup!

Watch out for those Rumble Strips!
Finally a photo of me on fully loaded bicycle
 We then continued on and the sun soon came out.  I had to stop to put some sunscreen on! 
Purden Ski hill in the distance
We were biking into the headwinds, which is unusual.  Usually the Winds come from the West, not from the East.  It made the riding that much tougher that day.  By the time I got to the hill near the campsite at Purden, we were struggling up the hills.
Almost there,  2 kms to the campsite
We were so relieved to make it at the campsite.  There were 2 others there that were also doing a overnight practice ride.  That was the couple with the dog the I met 2 weeks ago on a ride out this way.  I know them from Tour De Jasper last year.  Another friend drove out in car with the bike and was going to leave it there for a couple days.  She rode back with us.  She is 74 and she is a very strong rider!
 It was nice to have a group to enjoy the evening with.  We had our bike and gear at a gravel camp sight as there was a picnic tables and a tree to lean our bikes on under a tarp, but we pitched our tents across the way on the nice soft grass.. After getting things set up for the night, it started raining hard.  We quickly put things away!  I spent the rest of the evening in my tent.  I went to bed quite late, which surprised me.
Nice Sunny morning after a rainy night
 Next morning, the sun was out.  We prepped everything for the morning ride home.
Getting ready to ride in the morning
It was a much easier ride home as the winds were still coming from the East and so it was in our favour.  It took us 4 hours to go home versus the 5 going to Purden.  Along the way I had the chance to see a Lynx cross the highway! I've never seen one before, and they are quite uncommon to see.  I wish I had a chance to take a photo of it.
End of the ride lunch in Fort George Park
Once we arrived in the City, we enjoyed a nice lunch at Fort George Park, complete with live music!  What a great weekend and a taste of what is to come later this Summer.  Despite feeling sore and tired afterwards, I'm excited that I soon will be getting to spend more time on the bicycle.

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