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Old 12-19-2011, 06:35 PM   #151
Crooked Creek OP
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Thumb Side Trip #5: the Golder Bear Road

Okay, so it's been a couple months, but when we left off, we were here:




It was pretty much dark out (I brightened up the pics so you could see better...) but I figured I just run up and see if the gate was open.

It was.




I need to mention at this point that this road is closed to the public. When the mine closed down, the Tahltan First Nation applied to the government to take responsibility for it as it was slated to be deactivated. I was able to secure permission from the band office to travel the road, but cannot promise that you will be able to. Do not take this ride report as permission to travel this route, as you are likely to encounter opposition (from Native guys with rifles) if you are found down here, even with permission from the band. Please do NOT drop my name if you are trying to get permission to ride. There are lots of local politics involved, especially during hunting season, so consider yourself warned.

Anyways, rather than running all the way into Telegraph Creek for the night (where I had no where to stay--and I could see the rain coming) I let my curiosity get the best of me and just kept going down the road.

Pretty soon, I arrived here. It looked like a camp of some sort.




The rain was just starting and, again, my curiosity got the best of me. All the cabins were locked. Except one . Now again, I don't recommend doing what I did but...



I had been wet enough on the trip. The cabin wasn't bug proof (hence the tent) but at least it was dry. What a huge blessing after a loooooooooooong day.

Before we parted ways, Swinada took pity on me and gave me two cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli. Supper.




By the way, for trips like this, wet wipes serve as compact dishwashers, showers, and toilet paper all in one.

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What you're Missing: a Guide to Side Trips off the Cassiar here
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:09 PM   #152
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Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:51 PM   #153
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Ah yes, the access question. CC has it right about "asking", but often the legality of various groups - bands, mining companies, hunting outfitters (sorry...), etc. - trying to gate or control a road or land appears questionable. The actual mine site, for OH&S reasons, sure. The road across crown land, not so much, unless it was part of the permitting purpose to control access. As CC noted, this road probably should have been decommissioned, but politics entered into it. I have a friend whose wife is from Telegraph Creek and there are a number of "issues" around things like this. But the hunters have the guns and can be pretty obnoxious.

In a couple cases, I've come to a locked gate on the way out, after coming in from a more rugged direction, without enough fuel (or the inclination) to go back. Fortunately I've been able to find a way around each time. Also things like a hunters truck deliberately pulled across a road after they unloaded their quads, so no one else could go further. I confess that annoyed me enough I peed on his door handle. And the thought of crazy glue has crossed my mind - you want the gate locked, fine, let it stay locked. Not going to do that, but it can be tempting.

Very pleased to see this continue!
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:20 PM   #154
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Side Trip #5: the Golder Bear Road

Today, the goal was to get here.



The road winds it's way 160km from where it leaves the Telegraph Creek road, all the way to the coastal mountains. Then it goes up one.

That's the part I was most interested in.




I was told by everyone I talked to that it was impossible to get all the way to the end though, because the bridges were all out and the rivers were raging. So, in the morning, I didn't bother to go into Telegraph Creek to fill up with fuel and instead just pointed the little R2 down the road to see how far I could get.

The weather was spotty (at best) so I didn't waste much time taking pictures on the first part.




Before long the road started getting spotty too.




But, despite what I had heard, the tales of all the bridges being out were slightly exaggerated.



Good thing though, because the Tahltan River is a little too big to cross on a bike.

But there were still other obstacles to make it fun.




However, the next bridge was definitely out.




Not much water, but still quite a creek.




Notice the bridge in the background.




Oh my.

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Crooked Creek screwed with this post 12-24-2011 at 01:58 PM
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:22 PM   #155
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Side Trip #5: the Golder Bear Road

Getting up the creek was quite tricky, because the way down was not lined up with the way up. As is you had to ride down into the middle of the creek, then traverse down a little bit and then try to scramble up the loose gravel bank from a dead stop. I was really loving the smaller bike at this point. I would have never tried this with my KLR (in such a remote location, especially solo.)

But I made it first try.




This next section, from here on, the road was pretty much completely abandoned. I could tell by the tracks (and later confirmed by local intel) that the only people who had been down the trail since last fall had been 2 atvs and a group of horses. I found out later that the ATVs were government workers (biologists or something) who didn't make it, and the horses were a local outfitter.

However, the next bridge was in.




Even found a souvenir.




Not only does she ride well, but what a rack!




I forgot to mention it but the first part of this road follows the historic Yukon Telegraph Trail.

But after crossing the river, the climbing begins. And so do the views.






After stopping for the pics, I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at my chain and slider again. Oh oh.

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Old 12-22-2011, 07:52 PM   #156
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Absolutely fantastic! The moose antlers are really cool.

Planning either DS trip up there, or a road trip thru there, next August. Can't wait.
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:17 PM   #157
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Good stuff! I'm enjoying the old bridges, paths, cabins views and overall adventure.
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:30 PM   #158
Crooked Creek OP
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Side Trip #5: the Golder Bear Road

I knew that my chain was seizing up on me since back in the Spatsizi, but I thought I had gotten the links all freed up again. Apparently not.



If you take a look at the bottom part of the chain slider, you'll see the problem. There was virtually no wear on it in the first 9000km on the bike and now in the last 400km it is 80% gone. Some links are just not bending anymore, making the chain both really tight and really loose, depending where you are in the rotation. On the tight part of the rotation, the chain is eating through the slider at an alarming rate. My sprocket is not looking too great either, considering it was near new when I left.

This may have had something to with it.




The chain skipped a couple times back on the 40 mile flats trail (in the hard climbing) but I thought that I had gotten it moving again in Dease Lake. (I borrowed a 5 gallon bucket from the store, put the bike on top and ran it in 2nd gear while soaking it in silicone lube.) Either way, now I am 200km from Dease Lake, 100km from the nearest real road and I have about another 1/8th inch before the chain starts to eat into the swingarm. What to do...

Keep going I guess...



There is a huge burn in this valley.

By now, I'm between the arrow and the push pin, just south of the lake.




For a closer look.




You can see this creek at the bottom right of the above screenshot. Another bridge than wasn't supposed to be there.




I guess I should explain why there is a volcano named after me on the map. Well, it's because I named it. So it's not exactly official . But I saw it on Google Earth and was going to climb it. It's about 5700 feet high and, on Google, it looked like you could stroll right up it from the side of the Golden Bear.

But there was a bit of a swamp in the way, so I thought I'd catch it on the way back. We're starting to get into more of an alpine environment here and it's a lot of bog and stunted spruce.






Climbing up out of the valley, though, things started to change again.






It was beautiful and no one had been down here.




Up, up, and up, we went.




As it climbed, the road was starting to revert back to nature.








I had been traveling at pretty much full speed ahead up to this point, but now was starting to take it easy after coming up on a few surprise obstacles, not the least of which was a full grown grizzly bear that I missed by less than 3 feet.

But I made it it the next river. I really didn't think that I would been able to get this far and was now worrying about running out of fuel before I got back to Telegraph Creek. I hadn't even filled up my 5l jerry can.



I kept deciding to turn around once I hit a certain km mark, but then changing my mind and deciding to go just a little bit further...

Since I had no GPS and had heard different things about the length of the road, I really had no idea how far I had left to go, so I just kept convincing myself that the coastal mountain was just over the next valley.




We were in a pretty low traffic situation now.




10 points if you can guess what this picture is of.




By now I had decided to turn back after 10 more km about 5 times...




But now I finally had a reason.




Almost rideable, but not quite.






The gap was not too wide, but it sure was steep.



And it had been 208 km since I fueled up.


I scouted a way down and (possibly) up the creek, but it would have been a stretch, even with a partner and
enough fuel.

The way down was definitely doable.




The creek was not an issue.




But the way up was steeper than it looks.




Alone, out of fuel, (and food for that matter) and with a seizing chain, I reluctantly decided to turn around.

__________________
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4000km Cassiar/Spatsizi/Telegraph/Alcan fish and ride here
What you're Missing: a Guide to Side Trips off the Cassiar here
Canada's Best Kept Secret: 500 km from the nearest paved road here

Crooked Creek screwed with this post 12-24-2011 at 01:43 PM
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:51 PM   #159
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Great ride and report. Really enjoying this.
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Old 12-25-2011, 07:23 AM   #160
siyeh
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Outstanding report sir. I have wandered the Cassiar twice and had no idea what I was missing.

Thank you.
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:31 AM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crooked Creek View Post
10 points if you can guess what this picture is of.

Quail? Grouse?
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Old 12-25-2011, 09:40 AM   #162
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Glad I found this...
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Old 12-25-2011, 01:07 PM   #163
aquadog
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Excellent Ben, long ways in with an iffy chain...thanks. Any fishing done? Looks like there wouldn't be too much fishing pressure...
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Old 12-25-2011, 03:02 PM   #164
HighwayChile
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THANKS !! great report, and I didnt know about proseal, gotta get some.

long ago when I used to race, on mud runs, we used to duct tape a rag or old glove on the front of the fender it catches a lot of mung flying up. you guys were real troopers in that muck.
thanks and Merry Christmas
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Old 12-25-2011, 05:26 PM   #165
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Damn.....bloody forest fires burning up all the bridges. I would love to see what is at the end of that road. Looks like it rolls through some spectacular country as well.....

Well...I've got a bike now...maybe I'll try and tackle it sometime soon as well....
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