The Spray Lake trail is a quiet gravel road. It winds upwards from Canmore and then follows the lake. With graphite grey mountain ridges slanting above the evergreen and turning-yellow trees. And a lake reflecting colours of steel and sky blue.
To continue south, we take the Elk Pass trail. A hiking route that climbs steeply through the forest. Over a small stream and along the track between the pylons. After a strenueous 5km, we cross over the continental divide once more. We are back in British Columbia.
Now we cycle through the Elk Valley. Referred to as “Canada’s Serengeti”. But we didn’t see any wildlife on this stretch of track. The hills are lower now, less jagged, more gentle. Rolling and green. There are many bear tracks in the soft dirt, coyote and elk prints too. But still they remain elusive.
Over the past weeks, we’ve seen plenty of wildlife. But I have to admit, it’s Lars that always spots it first. I call it ‘The Lars Effect’. It’s like an animal magnetism. They are drawn to Lars. Me, I just seem to spot the Subway’s in town. But recently, the only animal Lars managed to inadvertantly call to him was… well, we were camping wild and having finished cooking dinner Lars started to wander back to the tent. There was a large rustling in the nearby bush and a ‘what the hell is that?’ from Lars. I grab my bear spray and look over to see a small squirrel dart towards Lars, notice him and dart straight back to the the bush. I’m not sure who was more startled!
After three days off the radar, we pass through the small towns of Elkford, Sparwood and on to Elko via the back road. We decide on a short cut. It’s on the GPS. It’s on our road map. It’s on the tourist map. Wire fencing lines the road. Warning signs everywhere. No trespassing, trespassers will be prosecuted, no unauthorized access, no hunting, no entry…. Ok, we get the idea. We’ll stay on the road. But then we come to more barriers, with more signs. But these are across the road. On the other side is a mining operation. Not wanting to be shot for trespassing, we turn back and take the main road.
Then it’s on towards the US border and into Montana.
In Eureka, drinking coffee in a little cafe. We are both a bit bored with the cycling. Neither of us are very inspired by the next part of the ride. We are online and chatting to other cyclists who live in Boise, Idaho. One of us says, we could go there instead. The other says, well why not? And that’s how we end up changing our plan of riding the divide.