2017/07/15 – Big Loop with Luke

A big loop with Luke… at least it feels that way the day after.

There’s a little chunk missing from that GPS track, the GPS appeared to have locked up at the exit from the mine site. That missing  chunk would/did close the north side of the middle loop.

Looks like the offroad chunk was about 120km. Luke wanted to go up Mt Muir, and wasn’t looking for an easy path. I had mentioned that I hadn’t tried Kennedy Main yet, which is one of the spurs off of Tugwell Main that goes up to the Mt Muir plateau. When we got there, it looked to be just too difficult. That track is much shorter than TW-40 but gains as much or more elevation. Anyhow, certainly the first 250 meters was big chunks of rock in a washed out track. These were not baby head sized rocks, they were much bigger and not very round.

Not your normal babyheads :)

So,  we backed up and went up TW-40. We stopped at Ranger Lake for a bit of a rest.

Ranger Lake, looking “back” down the shoreline to where the campsite is.
Ranger Lake.
Ranger Lake pano. Click for big version.

From there it was up to the Mt Muir summit… but as was standard for this ride we got distracted and checked out a spur that leads to a view over JDF.

Luke and bikes to SE of Mt Muir summit.
Low clouds brushing the Mt Muir summit

From the summit we decided to try our way up Walker Main, then J40 to where we tried to clear a path from Walker Main a couple months back. That actually worked. It was a damn good thing we had cleared that path, as it would have been pretty hellish bushwhacking descent otherwise. Even as it was, there were “where the heck is the path?” moments. Even the connection from Walker to the intersection with the path is more overgrown than I remember, which is a pity, because J40 was a great ride (except for the failing bridges). J40 wasn’t bad, it is just that you do have to slow down and push past some alder. The trail on the other hand was worse, and I’m glad we were going down. Going up would have been pretty hellish. In theory the bushes should die back some at the end of the season, but the snow does stick there as we found when we tried to clear the trail back in mid-April (top section still under several feet of snow).

From the base of the trail on Walker Main, we ran down Walker all the way to West Jordan. I wanted to run the track along the side of Mt Valentine that I thought Bob and Garry had done a couple weeks earlier. On our first try we missed a turn off, after backtracking it was damn obvious why. What might have been the correct track was badly overgrown and the base of the track actually cut away for the new road. That was fairly heavy going through the alder, and the GPS said it was 3km to the next intersection. We declined to do 3km of bushwhacking and road back out to West Jordan and down that to Butler. At that point we basically followed my track to the mine site from two weeks ago.

We did push down the trail beyond the mine site, which took us to the artificial pond they built. That was a pretty substantial endeavor.

artificial pond for mining operations
What isn’t shown is the height of that bank behind Luke, it’s a good 25 vertical feet, and quite long. The overflow behind me seems to be blasted out of solid rock… certainly some cool engineering.

From there we tried to push S to Butler, but that track is overgrown. That was probably the worst bushwhacking of the day.

So, we beat it back to the mine site and thus back to the known-good track, and a bee-line down Butler. It had been a long day and was getting late.

There was one bear cub. There was also one tiny fawn that jumped out onto the road, and scared both Luke and I. (Although it was clearly even more scared.)

I have a fair amount of video, but no idea when I’ll get to editing it.