Up Swift Creek: Day 9 - Blue River to Tete Jeaune Cache - And Then We Pedalled...... Cross Canada 2015 - CycleBlaze

June 11, 2015

Up Swift Creek: Day 9 - Blue River to Tete Jeaune Cache

What a cool day. The heat finally broke, we cycled over or through three major river drainages, travelled through a valley that's a Mecca for skiing and sledding, saw two quite different communities and met some really nice people who gave us encouragement, great local advice and some of the best pastries ever. 

That's a lot for one day.

At the end of a perfect day
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We got another early start and headed off for 'breakfast' at the Petro-Can station, at seven in the morning. There was a good crowd of locals (ok 4 ,but that's a good portion of Blue River) drinking coffee and discussing the intricacies of different truck parts. We thought breakfast going to be a coffee and stale muffin, but we were pleasantly surprised to find pretty good apple strudel and really good samosas!

We were on the road by 7:30 and pedalled about 100 m for the first photo stop at the Mike Wiegle sign. For those that don't know of MW, it is one of the best heli ski operations on the planet, it is also pretty much Blue River, aside from the Petro-Can and Husky gas stations and the Sandman motel. The latter cater to the snowmobile and back country ski crowd that also flocks to Blue river in the winter ( this includes us, we've been skiing at Monashee Backcountry Lodge about 4 -5 times)

The contrast is pretty amazing, Wiegle literally caters to the 'champagne and chateaubriand' heli ski crowd (and does this extremely well I've been told) while the other joints cater to the 'beer and beans' sledder crowd. The backcountry crowd, who are more craft beer and edamame beans, fit somewhere in between. 

What draws all these folks here though is their love of deep and light powder snow, and the Blue River to Valemont area has this in spades. Everyone gets to enjoy it in their own way.

We cycled up the final reaches of the Thompson, it's headwaters are just south of Valemount where the Monashee range gets pinched out between the Rockies and the Cariboo range, at this point you can also access the north shore of Kinbasket lake, which is actually part of the Columbia River. Pedalling another 20 km's north and we were crossing the Fraser River. I think it's pretty cool that these three major rivers that define a huge chunk of BC geography are all within a few km's of each other, and all flowing in different directions.

When we arrived in Valemount, our first priority was a cold drink, followed by getting some food for the night and next day. There was also a sign for a "Swiss Bakery" that we all thought we should check out. While we we perusing our maps (transponder devices Captain Kirk), Greg, a friendly local come by and gave us the directions we needed.

Next stop, the grocery store where we met Barb. We shared a few biking and ski stories and she told us about a great campsite at Tete Jaune Cache and a way of getting there on very quiet local roads avoiding hwy 5. Local knowledge is a great thing. Even better, Barb's directions took us right pass the Swiss Bakery!

Things get even better, when we walked into the bakery, the first thing we heard was "you're the three cyclists we've been waiting for. Have whatever you want and Greg said he'll pick up the bill"

You've got to love this place!

Strudels and coffee stuffed in we set off down the very quiet road and ended up at a great campsite.

One final word on Valemount. It now has a craft brewery in town ( Three Ranges) and they do a really nice Pilsner called Up Swift Creek. That's the name of the creek the comes though the north of end of town and it starts at the Swift Creek cabins, one of the first places Kirsten and I went back county skiing together many years ago. We need to come back to Valemount more often, and you should too!

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Song of the day:

King and Lion Heart by Of Monsters and Men ...... Just felt like a good spirited 'mountain' song

Historic monument of the day

Mount Terry Fox .... We didn't hike to the memorial cairn at the summitt but did stop at the sign and display by the highway. Terry's story is so inspirational and I can see why the named this mountain after him. From the summitt it looks straight north to Mount Robson and it has the upper reaches of the Fraser River flowing past it, and it will eventually flow on through  to Coquitlam where Terry grew up.

Kirsten at Wiegele world
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The Monashee's. Tons of Light powder snow in the winter.
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The other side of the powder ledger
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Roadside lunch, pita, red pepper humus, avacado and cucumber. Wonderful!
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Valemont - friendliest town in BC
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This was chasing us! The clouds ... not the truck!
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Met Barb at the local grocery store, fellow cyclist and back country skier. She gave us great directions to the Tete Jaune Cache campsite avoiding highway 5. In reality she also told us about the campsite as we were going to go somewhere different. Turns out her recommendations we the right ones. Thanks Barb
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The fine ladies at the Swiss bakery in Valemount. A big thank you to Greg who gave us directions to the grocery store and the bakery when we were going into town. An even bigger thank you for going to the bakery before we did and telling them that he was picking up our bill! We'll be sure to pay this forward Greg
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Here's the road Barb sent us down. Don't think there's been a semi down here in a long time!
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.... And here's the campsite we ended up in. And guess what, that's the Fraser River! The same one we were cycling along on day one
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The view of the Cariboo's from our campsite. The wind picked up and we got a bit of rain later I the evening. We had to break out the down sweaters and raincoats, good thing we dragged them all this way
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Today's ride: 113 km (70 miles)
Total: 904 km (561 miles)

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