Like many places in BC, Rossland sits on a big hill. This morning i was lucky enough to start the day going down it. The downhill out of Rossland towards Trail is about 10% grade for 10k or so. Previous hills that were comparable I had hit mid day in traffic and were in poor repair. They were scary hills. Rosslands hill turned out to be quite fun. Well paved with no traffic I was able to rocket down at around 75 kph, my fastest speed yet.
The rest of the morning was spent following a couple of rivers into the Slocan valley. There were done moderate rolling hills but nothing especially challenging so I took the opportunity to ride easy, save my energy, and soak in the beautiful scenery.
For some reason the views were done if my favorite on the trip so far. Maybe because I took more time to look at it. Maybe the big downhill put me in an especially good mood. Maybe it was the Valhalla mountains keeping me company to the west.
As I rode I noticed a number of signs for the Slocan valley rail trail. I was curious to check it out. But, since the road was well paved, and traffic light, I stuck with the road. Eventually I stopped at one of the trail heads for a break and an old Kiwi with cycle touring experience was adamant I would have an easier time on the rail trail.
Between my experience riding on rail trails in Ontario and BC I can safely say they are awful. Sure, they have very easy grades, and are often quite pretty. This one was perfectly in line with both of those principles. They are also generally hard packed gravel. It isn’t the worst to cycle on, but you really can’t pick up much speed on it. They are also terribly patched. When repairs are needed, someone just dumps a bunch of sand on the uneven terrain and levels it out. They can be extremely treacherous. Again though, quite pretty.
Eventually I made my way up to Slocan and back onto the highway. Along the way to Summit Lake were quite a lot of old mining towns, many of which were now touristy and quaint. Very easy route in terms of acquiring food and water. North of Slocan things got quite a bit hillier right as the day became its hottest.
After dealing with the worst hill of the day I bombed into Silverton and stopped at a cute little cafe for lunch. Food took a little while, but it was tasty and they bulked up my portion to compensate. It all worked out quite nicely as I needed calories and a break.
The rest of the day proceeded uneventfully with gently rolling hills tending upwards. I rolled into our campground thoroughly impressed by its beauty. I asked around for available campgrounds and found one next to a wonderful family who proceeded to inundate me with sodas and snacks when they found out hire far I had come. I’m pretty sure they even waited around to make sure I was OK when Pete was running at tiny but later than I expected (he had stayed to help our hosts in Rossland finish deck building).
Eventually Pete came through with a cooler of food and we set up camp and went through out usual routine. Grilled polenta and sausages tonight.