Yes, I know the title is a little cheezy/a double entendre. I was on my bike before 8 for my ride to Hope where I planned on having lunch and picking up some food for dinner/breakfast. My first mountain pass was to follow and I was unsure of how I would manage. It proved to be pretty tough, possibly the most challenging climb for me of the whole trip. One thing that this climb taught me, in conjunction with the many that followed, was that sports drinks make climbing much easier (i.e. they keep you hydrated far more than water alone). I began carrying one at all times, then two later in the trip—for reasons that later posts will highlight.
The route through the Fraser valley—continuing east on the Lougheed Highway (Highway 7)—was very smooth and flat. Traffic was relatively light and courteous. If there was any breeze at all, it was favourable. Mountains of increasing size further became the dominant aspect of my view in all forward directions, and increased through the morning. I was happy to see them, having not travelled through mountains for well over a year.
The morning ride was pretty uneventful, though there was some traffic at the junction of Highway 7 & and the TransCanada Highway (Highway 1) just west of Hope. I arrived in town after a relatively cruisy 55km. The south-west side of the highway is border by the Fraser River with some pretty spectacular views (see 1st photograph). There were Mountains in pretty much every direction (except where I came from)—and they were definitely getting bigger!
I picked up some supplies from the local ‘health food’ store (i.e. a pill and make-up store) and a bite before pressing on to climb my first mountain pass. I did pick up some chocolate, expecting that it may be needed on the climb.
The climb up Allison pass from Hope starts very quickly—and it is a long one. Whilst the summit was only 60km away, the climb is quite steep. As the first climb of the trip, it was a tough one, yet one that provided good preparation! I began to struggle on the incline quite a way before the ‘Hope slide”, seeking the reprieve from the relentless climbing that would follow after passing it: the relatively flat/slight decline down to the western gate of Manning Provincial Park.
I had a short break to take in some much needed energy at the gate to the Provincial Park before the climbing started again in earnest. I planned on stopping at the Manning Park Lodge, on the descent from the summit, and camping at the Lightening Lake Campground so I could have a shower.
After all of the struggling with the climb up to the Hope slide, the second half of the climb was not as hard. I think I was buoyed by the face that I crossed paths with a fellow solo tourer. George (if I recall correctly) was German and had started in New York and had taken a very indirect route. He started 3 months and 1 day ago and was very pleased to have made it over his last mountain pass! He was looking very weathered… We had a bit of a chat, and exchanged some stories before both continuing on.
As I reached the summit, I spotted another tourer heading west—he was towing what looked like a Burley (two wheel) trailer. He did not seem keen to stop, perhaps wanting to enjoy the mostly down-hill run out of the Provincial Park. From reaching the summit, it was a very easy glide down to the Lodge, where I arrived at 6:30pm. I felt very pleased with myself having come through the struggles on the ~1300m of climbing. I decided to treat myself to the (expensive) pasta dish listed on the menu as vegan and a side salad before heading into the campground.
On moving off for the 4km ride into Lightening Lake Campground, I noted a sign saying campground full. I decided to push on anyway with the hope of finding a site I could share with someone. The campground was very much full of RVs and no opportunity showed itself. I did not a ‘group campground’ area just before Lightening Lake and rode in for a quick look, noting others just setting up their RV in the parking lot. I headed toward the Lake as there was clearly ample room (as in a lot!). It was only a matter of moments before someone commented that it was ‘private’, implying I should take off! Not too impressed, I road back to the highway and down to the Hampton campground. I arrive at 8:30 and had just enough time to set up camp before dark. There were only two other campsites taken. I enjoyed the quick ‘sponge bath’ before calling it a night—which turned out to be a cool one. In the morning, the items I had ‘washed’ after arrived were frozen/stiff (ou can see snow on some of the peaks in one of the photographs below). Later that morning I found out that a big hail storm had passed through the day before my arrival.
I do have one regret (a missed opportunity) emanating from leaving Hope. One that I would like to rectify one day. This was not taking a picture/having someone take a picture of me and the crazy large sign (for lack of a better descriptor) highlighting that the first Rambo movie (‘First Blood’) was filmed in the town/region. See http://picasaweb.google.com/moellerbonnie/CanadaCampingJuly2007#50979930... See also Wikipedia, Hope celebrates Rambo!; Rambotown.