Highlight = Arlington Lake. Beaverdell had good roadside snacks, Axel loved watching trucks.
More 🚲!: Today was mostly downhill, hurray! We came across a lost straw hat mid-trail which fit Ryley and seriously upped his cool factor (and was a much better sun hat than his cycling cap). Smooth and forested trail down to Arlington Lakes where we found a boat launch and picnic table for a great swim, lunch and also a chat with a family heading the other direction (2 teen boys and their parents). We kept riding down until we hit Beaverdell, a little highway stop with a gas station, store, and food truck. Ryley and I enjoyed cold drinks, food and ice cream and Axel was VERY into all the traffic driving by on the highway, especially motorcycles and any kind of big truck. We stocked up on junk food and oranges (for Axel) and headed back to the trail to find a camp spot for the night. We followed the West Kettle River but didn’t find a good camp spot (our “good” definition has expanded, and now doesn’t just include water access and a flat tent spot but also takes safety for a toddler into consideration!), so we settled on a flat spot near a small creek which meant a bird bath as opposed to a swim but ALSO meant no steep drops to a river Axel could fall into; instead we defended him from picking and eating red shrub buds that looked kind of like berries, and mosquitos. Axel is getting into the groove of camping and starting to anticipate the routine – it’s very fun to watch. He is also pulling us out of our low-energy end-of-day fatigue. He’s ready to party at night so we often take turns exploring the surroundings with him while the other preps/cooks/sets up camp. Favourite activities are rock throwing, looking at flowers, walking over big rocks, and finding the perfect spots to sit or perch. He wants to eat out of the big pot even though it’s always too hot and is really into everyone taking turns getting a bite of food. Tonight he’s not keen to go to sleep, the sit pad is his mattress so we want him to fall asleep so we can call it a night and lie down in the most comfortable spot (the tent) and call it a night, too!
Distance: 68.10 km, Elevation Gain: 24 m, Moving Time: 5h 21m