Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Day 6 - May 12 - Osoyoos to Midway

72 km today
5.31 hrs on the bike
12.9 km/hr average

We stayed up late on Sunday night (at the Sage Pub) talking with Al. Sunday's push up Richter's Pass outside of Osoyoos was giving him second thoughts about continuing his ride through BC. He decided to spend today (May 12) in Osoyoos resting up and going over his options. So, after breakfast we said good bye to Al.

Then it was on to the Anarchist Summit – this road towers over the eastern approaches to Osoyoos and was right behind our campsite – we spent a lot of time looking at it and (for me at least) dreading the trip up. Surprisingly, the face over Osoyoos was not too difficult, 6 and 7% grades for the most part. And the views were STUNNING! The weather was lovely and we could see the lake stretched out north to south below us. To the west we got another look at the snow-capped mountains that flanked us on our ride down the Similkameen the previous day. However, the summit is nowhere in sight when you finish the 10 km to the top of the face and look down on the town – for the summit you have to keep asending for another 20 km. We kept saying “where is the xx##@@ summit”!

Finally we came to it (1233 metres – up from 277 metres at Osoyoos – no wonder the day was such a hard one!) and Mike got flat #3. A quick pump up and we started our descent down into the wide and gentle Kettle River Valley. Our first stop was Rock Creek and a burger at the Gold Pan Cafe, then on down the valley to Midway and the excellent municiple campground right on grassy banks of the Kettle River. Serving the Kettle Valley Railway bike trail as it does, this campground is perfect for cyclists – our site even has a covered picnic table, so no need to tarp up tonight.

The Kettle Valley is old stomping ground for the three of us because we were through this way on the KVR trail in 2002. This time, with our vantage point from the highway, we are getting a different feel for the place – a kind of a macro view, as opposed to the more micro view we had on the trail itself.

Besides the wonderful views, hightlights for today include marmots galore – these furry butterballs are all over, piping us on our way. Bird life was also impressive today, we need Alan and Jan to give us the full picture, but we saw lots of buff-coloured small sparrow-like hawks, Redtailed hawks creaming away overhead, and we even got fine pictures of a Cooper's hawk (at least I think it was a Cooper's ). Another highlight bird was the Mountain Bluebird. This bird, with its piercingly sky-blue feathers is so easy to recognize that even novices like us can pick this beauty out.



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