Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mountain Life Summer 2015....


This Spring I was approached by Mountain Life Magazine to contribute some local mountain bike photography and share some stories. These guys always do an amazing job of capturing what the Sea to Sky lifestyle truly is. I'm honored to have a couple of small pieces in the Summer 2015 issue!



             



Monday, June 22, 2015

Squamish Summer Solstice in Disneyland....




On the longest day of the year it seems fitting to tackle the longest ride in the Sea to Sky corridor. Brett and Juneau joined me to sample the alpine rock and loam on the airy Disneyland trail. This area is a special place and truly demonstrates how beautiful the coastal fiord of Howe Sound is. The forecast called for some hot temps but instead we experienced some dark high ceiling clouds with some rain showers. This made the 5 hour ascent much more manageable.                



We settled in on the long climb / hike a bike and Juneau came close to her first Grouse encounter.  


There were a few uphill riding sections....


But way more uphill pushing sections....


Brett just picked up a brand new 2015 Norco Range Carbon C7.2 from Republic Bicycles in Squamish. This was a pretty good first big ride!


We came across a tree that was a real Dick!   


And after a few hours the grade eased and views of Howe Sound far below started to open up....



We meandered around some pleasant alpine tarns... 





Midway through the ride the sky became angry and dropped some precip on us. This is typically a place you don't want to ride when wet....    



The rock features in the high alpine are spectacular in this place....



Far below in the small town of Squamish, many riders were just rolling in from the test of metal....  


The Sea to Sky Gondola looked pretty cute from here. If you look closely you can see it in the upper right hand corner....


Juneau was having the best day of her life!


The weather sorted itself out somewhat and we dropped in for a very long descent....


And steep.....


With my ongoing knee problem I installed a One Up Components 44T X-Cog. This thing was amazing and shifted buttery smooth. Highly recommended if you want to save some energy on the climb!  



Once we re-entered the forest we got loose in the loam....


And Juneau did her own version of loam hunting....

 
With more daylight left in the day Brett and I enjoyed a few pints poured from my Squamish pub and celebrated the epic ride. Brett gifted me this custom tap handle last week. Who knew he was an artist! Long live Long rides!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Opening Day.... South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park....


Each Spring as the May long week-end approaches, the South Chilcotin Mountains start pulling me in their direction. I've spent the last 25 years searching for better single-track but have never quite found what this place offers. When the snow melts I waist no time taking advantage of it's short six month riding season. Sometimes however, the opening of the Hurley Pass FSR gets in the way of this goal. Last year in particular was one of the latest openings and we didn't end up getting through until the second week of June. 

Featured in Norco News....


We packed up and found ourselves on a very clear and smoothly graded Hurley Pass road on Saturday morning.   


We arrived at the Jewel Creek trailhead a couple of hours later and made our way up Gun Creek towards Spruce Lake. I typically pack a good handsaw and do my best to assist in the fall / winter's windfall. This year we got through a solid section but about 10 big trees exist that will require a gas powered machine and couple of sad sacks of beer.    


We made our way through the unique golden aspen forest as we gained altitude.  


This is one of the pieces of single-track I dream about over the winter. In May it's barely snow free and the famous Spruce Lake Grass is just sprouting from the soil.   


This is what it will look like 30 days later....


As we broke tree-line the dominant Mt Dickson showed it's north face....



It's also cool to see the Balsam Root explosion just beginning it's spring life cycle....  



On the final approach to Spruce Lake Mt Sheba showed herself....



Indian Paintbrush in it's first days of the season....



Late afternoon we reversed our direction and took advantage of the "almost" clear Gun Creek Meadows descent.   



That evening we packed up and drove another 90 minutes to our campsite in Paradise Creek.


Our next days objective looked snowier than I thought it would be.... Nevertheless the evening light was spectacular.    



The next morning we enjoyed a couple of very cold spring creek crossings.


The day's weather was a mixed bag but this area is rarely traveled and spirits were high....





Looking towards our objective it became clear it wasn't clear (of snow) so we explored a new valley for a future mission.


It was a solid day out and we managed to ride snow free to 1773m on south aspects....


On our return trip to camp the skies became angry and a typical South Chilcotin May Monsoon unleashed on us. We spent some time waiting it out among the lodgepole pines.        


 
That evening we celebrated another early Chilcotin ride and my 40th Bday with a fine mini keg of traditional Czech Budvar! See you soon high Chilcotin passes!