KVR Day 11 – Gray Creek Pass

We did it! We bike, we walked, we pushed, we made it. Had a shallow lake dip at the top, pushed on to the summit then bombed down 700m elev over 13km, possibly worse than the climb (Editor’s note: strongly disagree)! Axel was a champ and chilled on the slow grind all day. Found wild blueberries at our campsite, Axel loved throwing rocks off the bridge.

More 🚲!: When Ryley was researching the trip, he had pointed out that IF we liked biking and IF we made it this far (unlikely) and IF it wasn’t too hot/smoky/hard, we might have to climb Gray Creek Pass. Well, we made it and this is it: a huge non-stop climb from 388m elevation at Crawford Bay up to 2078m at Gray Creek Pass. We rode our bikes more than we thought we would, pushed our bikes more than we wanted to, and spent the entire day scurrying like ants from shade patch to shade patch where we’d stop to pant and recover. It was one of those days where our expectations were that it would be hard, and it was, so in some ways it wasn’t our worst day since we knew what to expect. Ryley did NOT cramp, thankfully, and we were able to find some shady and cool creek spots for breaks and lunch. My highlight of the day was when I biked up to Axel and Ryley after I’d stopped to collect and filter water, to Axel seeing me and greeting me with loud and excited “MAMAS” as he ran on his wobbly run legs toward me. Just before the summit we walked a short trail in to (a very shallow) Oliver Lake for a break and a dip. Then we pushed on to the summit and started our wild descent on the other side. It was bumpy, steep and we had to time frequent stops to let our brakes cool down. Even so, Ryley’s brakes were toast after dropping 1700m elev and had to use his feet to help stop his bike and then ended up walking down steep sections.

Ryley: In hindsight, we should have stopped to fix our brakes, but we did not have the mental capacity to deal with it. I was afraid to find out it was some issue that was going to make the next day truly horrible (i.e. brake pads gone, and I had failed to stick spares in our tool bag). We were very tired.

We didn’t find a good camp spot and we badly needed water access, so we camped right on a bridge on the Forest Service Road. Axel delighted in the bridge, the drop-offs, throwing rocks, chasing ants and generally just pin-balling from one side of the bridge to the other while Ryley or I hover-parented so he didn’t mis-step and fall through the bridge sides (not very restful and we were sooooo pooped). I found wild blueberries while bushwhacking down to the riverbank, which everyone was very happy with (maybe me even more than Axel!). We set up camp, helped Axel blow off steam and fell into our beds. After we got Axel to sleep, of course.

Distance: 37.14 km, Elevation Gain: 1,607 m, Moving Time: 6h 19m

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