Friday, 30 August 2013

Gold Trip: Golden Triangle

It's all done but the write-up (unfortunately that might be the hardest part).

Steven has completed the requirements for the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. He spent the year working on skills, athletics, and service and then wrapped it up with his Gold Journey. In the past Steven has done backpacking trips for the journey portions of Silver and Bronze, but neither he nor Ken wanted to backpack 80 km over 4 days, so Steven chose to do a biking trip instead. Carmen, Chloe, and I were the *support team*.

The Golden Triangle is a popular cycling challenge between the towns of Banff, Radium, and Golden. Our first night we drove up to Johnston Canyon Resort and stayed in one of their tiny cabins so that we would wake up near the starting point for The Golden Triangle. 

When we woke up in the morning, Carmen and Chloe stayed behind at the cabin and I drove the boys up to Castle Junction - the starting point for their ride.

Steven's jersey is from The Tour de France last summer, and is the jersey for the King of the Moutain (best climber) which was appropriate considering he would be riding through Vermilion Pass that day and crossing the continental divide. 

While the boys started their ride, we girls hiked Johnston Canyon.

The water there is seriously the colour of blue raspberry.

Midday we caught up with Ken and Steven, and we ate lunch together at yet another resort of small cabins - I had no idea this was so common! (There was also a small cabin resort at Castle Junction.)

And off the boys went again.

It was a tough ride, but gorgeous weather, and no wolves on the road (there was an electronic sign warning of the possibility). The guys took all kinds of great pictures over the 105 km they rode that day.

The girls and I checked in to our hotel in Radium, went swimming, and then waited for the bikers to arrive. Originally I thought we would all camp (Steven was required to camp on this trip), but Ken said no, stay in a hotel, and then we will have a shower we can use. It was a stroke of brilliance by Ken, and kept the trip far more posh than it could have been. 

The next morning was overcast and rainy, but Ken and Steven had no choice but to get on their bikes. Once again, Carmen, Chloe and I found something to entertain ourselves. This time we drove south to Invermere and did some shopping. Our favourite shop was the glass blowing shop.

We liked their merchandise,

But what we really liked was that we could stand behind the counter at the back of the shop and watch an artist work. Carmen and Chloe are now both considering a career in glass blowing, it was that cool.

For lunch on the second day we ate at The Spilli Bean, a wonderful restaurant operated by two sisters during summer months along Highway 95. The soups, sandwiches, and cookies were out of this world, and as a bonus there was some musical entertainment that day by an older local man singing as he had some coffee. Think back-woods blue-grass music with lyrics chronically local history. For real.
Chloe has always talked about opening her own restaurant, and I think she found an example of just what she would like to do herself one day.

Later in the afternoon Carmen, Chloe, and I checked in to our condo in Golden, BC, at the Kickinghorse Resort. I then drove back down the mountain and waited for Ken and Steven to arrive.

Which they did - wet and tired from about another 105 km on their bikes.

They didn't even have the energy to join us in the private hot tub at our condo before they left to go sleep in a tent - ha! The girls and boys had drastically different experiences on this holiday.

Day 3 turned out to be pure recreation and fun for the boys. They put in about 20 km of downhill at the resort and really got a chance to recharge compared to the distance days.

Carmen, Chloe, and I went to an interpretative centre for Roger's Pass. It was mildly interesting, but didn't capture our imaginations the way the glass blowing did.

On the last day of the Gold Trip we all jumped in the van and drove to Lake Louise. (The classic Golden Triangle trip involves biking on the Trans Canada Highway between Golden and Castle Junction, but it is really not safe: narrow to non-existent shoulders on the roads, and heavy industrial transport traffic.) The boys biked the Bow Valley Parkway from Lake Louise to Banff with the wind at their backs, taking no pictures whatsoever.

And we girls drove the same road ahead of them - I'm sure the big horned sheep on the road made us less nervous from the inside of the van.

We had just enough time to take the gondola up Sulphur Mountain (basically this is the Bear's Hump of Banff),

And down again, before the guys were texting us that they had made it and were ready for lunch. After lunch they biked the rest of the way to Canmore, and that was it!

Four days, 309 kilometres. 


Tiffany said...

Whew--congratulations! Gorgeous country!

Jill said...

Wow, what an accomplishment for the boys and what stunning views for all of you. I like the girls trip way better.

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Neighbor Jane Payne said...

AMAZING. Really, incredilbe! I love watching your kids challenge themselves to be the very best they can be.