We were on the road north to Pemberton by 9:00 in the morning at the latest. A quick stop at the Squamish Tim Horton’s (because you’ve always got time for Tim Horton’s) was enjoyed by all. The drive itself was clear and beautiful, the first time I’ve ever been up that way when it hasn’t been raining and miserable. The Stawamus Chief was just as overwhelming in the bright sunlight as it was in the clouds and rain when we saw it in December.
We continued onward and northward to Whistler. There were many beautiful sights to be seen on the way which I won’t get into right now. All I can say is that British Columbia is fantastic.
We passed through Whistler, finding that Pemberton was not very far beyond. First off, however, we stopped at the local bike shop (Pemberton has a couple of gas stations, a McBleh, a bike shop, and not much else as far as I can tell) to pick up the Norco Six bikes we were planning on renting. I had brought my wee Giant, however, so I decided not to rent a bike.
After we had re-arranged the bike trailer with all the extra bikes, we headed out to the trail, or should I say up to the trail. We parked the car at the bottom of the access road and eight of us piled into the minivan.
It was a long, slow uphill climb to where we wanted to go. The road was dusty, rough, rocky and incredibly steep. We watched out the back of the van to make sure we didn’t lose any of the bikes tied down to the trailer. It was both scary and fantastic (mostly scary because I was fearing for the wee Giant…) We made it to the top safely, however, and unloaded our bikes, marvelling that the van had survived, as had the bikes (mostly.)
A short bike ride up the gravel road, then up a narrow access road, and we had overshot the trail by a few hundred metres, so we turned back to find it. Upon finding it, we took off down the trail. To be honest, I can’t remember many details of the beginning of the trail, but I can tell you this much – we were up pretty high. At some of the lookout points you could see the surrounding mountain peaks so clearly it was unreal. It really was something beautiful to behold, and if there was no other benefit to mountain biking, that alone would be enough.
The biking trail, however, was difficult. I am basically a beginner when it comes to mountain biking. I’ve done some cross country trail riding, but downhill has always kind of terrified me. This trail was most definitely downhill with a few cross country style sections. Needless to say, I was terrified. I was also quite proud of myself when I managed to actually ride down a steep rock rollover without losing control, falling, or even feeling off-balance. There were a few sections, however, that I simply couldn’t ride down because they were too steep, or the loose rocks were tossing me around too much, or I was just plain scared. I felt overall, though, that considering my actual skill level and experience, I did a fine job.
At least until the heatstroke set in.