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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Crooked Creek, Jul 6, 2012.
Way to go Ben, extra pot of coffee ready for this also pot of tea for Squonker
I used to go to Elmworth all the time when I worked for Ferus. We had a CO2 plant out there. I'd stop in at that little store for snacks right across from the school all the time.
Some of the folks I worked with mentioned that you could make it all the way to Tumbler Ridge by following those roads past Elmworth but I never had the opportunity to check them out.
Keep it coming my friend!
Now about 2/3 of the way between the Hiding Creek FSR and the turnoff to the Heritage Highway, you cross the namesake Red Willow River.
Not surprisingly, it also has that characteristic copper tinge.
This was not my first time here. Usually there isn't enough water run the Red Willow, but last July we got a bunch of rain so a couple friends and I ran the river from here all the way back to a farm out by Elmworth.
All the info we had found said that the Red Willow was an easy run, but in high water there are a few spots that will keep you on your toes.
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Most of those spots are just before and a little bit after the falls.
Which are not the easiest portage themselves...
We thought we were all done the rapids, when we found this ledge.
Not far from the Red Willow bridge, the FSR connects with the Heritage Highway.
It's a highway, but the gravel kind.
And the mountains are starting to come in view .
As I stopped to take this shot and stretch a bit, a young Newfoundlander came by in a lifted pickup, tunes blaring and a girl on his arm. You could tell that he was happy to be alive. He stopped to make sure I was okay (looking over the bike and probably wondering what I was doing way out here) and let me know that there was a Grizzly grazing in the ditch a mile back.
I take that as my cue to hop back on the bike and see if I can catch a glimpse of it. I arrived in time to see the bushes sway as said Griz waddled into the brush. Didn't get my picture, but I was excited to see that bears were out even in the afternoon heat.
Eventually road the turns to pavement and starts carving through the foothills. We don't have many corners where I come from, so I was enjoying waiting until the last minute and then leaning the bike far more than necessary through the turns.
On one such turn. I found the Grizzly I was looking for.
It was a young feller, probably a 2 or 3 year old male, and he was standing right beside the road. Yep, standing. I almost got a picture of him peering at me over the brush on his hind feet from about 8 feet, but I was a fraction of a second too slow.
Too bad. It would have been a good one.
But I continue on, resolving to be faster on the draw next time. After a while, I pull off the highway to check out Flatbed Creek.
Now I wasn't going to go all the way to Tumbler Ridge and not explore any mining roads, so at the first promising looking one, I decided to see what I could see.
As you'll find out, I got a little more than I bargained for...
This Ride Report is the Best Kept Secret on ADVrider.
The suspense is killing me.
Great RR once more CC.
Thanks for posting it up.
Your RR s are by far very interesting....and dreamy. When I think of getting on my bike and where I'd like to go, your pics pop in my head, so BRAVO!!! I watched Waterwalker last night and thought about you and your crazy pals. Cool movie, love Lake Superior! Keep it up!!!!
That Windwalker was a pretty nice interlude ...
Crooked Creek ... Thanks for the journey! ... Your last report took me hours to get through ... It was all the rabbit trails you laid out ... DS riding, Canadian history class, canoeing, bear safety class, rafting up north then gator hunting down south ...
edit: -----> Notable mention ... I went to your site and watched some of your videos ... The one where you drop a GoPro under the ice and jig up some pretty tasty fish is awesome ... :dg
Thanks for the link to Waterwalker. My friend (who I canoed the Red Willow and the Spatsizi/Stikine with last year) is somehow connected with Bill Mason's family back in Quebec. He had told me about the the NFB canoeing films, and I had found them online last year, but I had forgotten about them. So thanks for the reminder!
Hurry it up, more storyline
I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but it's 5 or 6 (Pacific time) in the afternoon already and I still have another 1000 km or so of backroading (via the scenic route) remaining to my destination.
But for some reason I still think it's a good idea to go exploring. I think it was a combo of the realization that baby #4 was coming soon (meaning this is likely to be my only extended bike trip this year) and the beautiful day, which seemed like it would never end. (SPOILER: it did.)
Anyways, at this point, I should introduce my GPS:
Okay, so technically it's not a GPS, but it's much better on batteries and always has reception. I had bought it before my trip last year and have come to love it.
The SealLine case was an impulse purchase the day before and would prove to be one of my better. Not only did I not have to take a map in and out it's waterproof lodging, it acted as a fairing (weighted down as it was,) blocking a good portion of the wind even at speed. And the D-rings were the perfect size distance apart to span the mirror bases.
As for the Mapbook, there are definitely mistakes in it (I found 6 or 7 just on this trip) and the detail goes down once you are further north but the planning potential and bounty of tracks and trails more than makes up for the occasional surprise dead end and/or missing bridge.
You can also get these maps for a GPS if you're so inclined, complete with updates correcting errors and road changes as they're discovered. But I would guess it's pricey.
As it was, I had just driven on to this page.
And this road.
I didn't know what it was called then, but I just checked and it's known as the Core Lodge Road. It turns south off the highway right after you cross Babcock Creek. There is a nice little waterfall on the creek only 1 km from the road with an easy trail in. But I didn't know that at the time.
The reason this road exists is the Trend Mine, operated by Peace River Coal. As such, there was a lot (for me anyways) of mining traffic until you're past the mine at km 25 or so. (From there, there was no one.)
You can see a little bit of the mine infrastructure here.
But if you turn off right before the mine (I think there was signs to "The Boulder Gardens") and head up to Mount Babcock, you're in for a treat.
I didn't hike into the boulder gardens, being short on time and all, but it looks kinda of like this.
But with more rocks.
Now, according to my "GPS", this road should wind its way around the side of Mount Babcock and through a series of switchbacks and cutoffs connect to the Barbour Creek FSR, where I could then head north, sneak my way through the Quintette Mine site somehow and make a beautiful loop back to the highway and then onward to Tumbler Ridge.
But it was not meant to be.
The road dead-ended at a well site up on the mountain. I could see where the road used to go around, but it wasn't just "deactivated" it was taken right out and blocked off with a mountain of rubble.
Oh well, I still got these pictures.
After quickly snapping these shots, I looked at my watch and beelined back down the mountain. But when I hit the Core Lodge again, I decided to go just a bit further down the road to see what I could see.
That my my first mistake.
You have to understand.....these trip reports from CC are kinda like fine wine....the best is yet to come and you'll be kinda sad when its all done.
Don't forget either....he's got a wife and 3 young'uns that all want his attention too
damn, this looks so awesome
Ok, so sorry for the delay, but the baby is due tomorrow, so there was a few things I had to get done first.
We left off here.
Actually, it was down the hiil back at the Core Lodge road. I had previously thought that I really needed to be heading out back to the highway and towards Chetwynd (where I thought I might spend the night) but for some reason I went south instead of north when I hit the road.
Not that is was an accident; I just felt like exploring a bit more.
Maybe that's why sometimes I like riding alone. You don't need to have plans, and if you make one, it doesn't have to make sense.
Either way it was 7 pm or so and I was heading south towards Kinuseo Creek. In my mapbook, I had seem a mountain called the Terminator, and--I mean--who could resist checking that out.
So on I went. Past the mine there was no one at all, so it was peaceful and the sun was getting low enough to make the mountains glow. The "road' also changed dramatically as it was not graveled anymore, but a drying muddy track.
This was just after the mine. The track to the right is a new (and short) trail to a exploration site.
It was fun riding though. You could tell that they (whoever they are) had just started remaking the grade (as the snow had only gone this week.) It was an usually late spring this year.
As it turns out, the road repair only lasted a couple kms and washouts were appearing where the snow melt had overrun the grade.
I should mention that, even though I am too cheap to buy a GPS, my camera has one. My wife's camera, actually. I dropped her last one while standing on the roof of the van taking this picture on the ice road to Tuktoyaktuk.
Honestly, I didn't even know there was such a thing, but I love it. The GPS enabled model was on sale (making it $20 cheaper then the direct replacment for the one I broke) so that's what I bought her, not realizing how handy it would be for things such as ADV ride reports.
For instance, I know that that last picture was taken exactly here:
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Anyways, the road winded and climbed it's way up the Babcock Creek Valley until we were starting to find snow. You can't see it too well, but there is a sign on that tree indicating that following this cutline to the ridge in the backrground will lead you up to the Terminator.
From here you could hike the ridge, or run it, like these guys did.
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Looks like you could do a loop if you wanted.
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Starting to be in sub-alpine territory now.
No thank you, glad I could contribute something to you. You RRs are golden in my book!!
Whoo-hoo!!!! Thanks for the new installment and congrats to you and your wife and the new siblings. you're gonna need a bigger canoe!
This picture is really cool!
Hope everyhing goes well wit the little one!