Zunoquad Squad Cycles the Kettle Valley Railroad Trail (3)

May 23

Coffee, oatmeal, gorp and dried fruit again launched us forward, but for Robert cycling was becoming a terrible ordeal. He needed to lie down and rest along the trail every kilometer or so, and it was clear that he was too sick to proceed despite his valiant efforts. At the Wilkenson Creek Bridge, we again split into subgroups, Andy remaining behind with Rob. A few kilometers further, the rest of us waited at a junction with a road in the middle of a logging slash. With time on our hands there was extended deliberation about how to rescue Rob and allow us to proceed. A flatbed truck on the road was flagged down and the long haired driver and two young passengers were told of our dilemma. They said they were looking for cedar higher up the mountain and would be passing back down in an hour and a half.

Robert finally arrived, ashen and exhausted. John reached Ty in Beaverdell by cell phone and managed to persuade him to drive up and take Rob to the Hotel. He located us at the Wilkenson Creek Road. Another hour passed and Ty didn’t show up but the truck fully loaded with cedar came back down the hill. More conversation revealed that we weren’t at Wilkenson Creek Road but at Rupert Road and that Ty was out on a wild goose chase. The guys in the truck agreed to take Rob and his bike down to the Beaverdell Hotel, and he welcomed the prospect of lying in a bed rather than alongside the road.

Eager to proceed, the rest of the company pedaled uphill for another 30 km across dozens of huge culverted stone embankments built to maintain the steady grade, learning to negotiate the soft sand in places and the deep puddles in others. We were tempted to stay at a beautiful campsite by a lake where we stopped for salami and cheese, but the remaining hours of daylight and the expectation of beer and different food at a place called McCulloch Lake created by the guide book drew us forward. By the time we reached McCulloch it turned out that the lodge there was closed, replaced by a large resort now under construction. We backtracked to a campground a kilometer above the trail, welcomed by a friendly Australian attendant who brought us water in plastic containers. A short altercation between John, who took off in front of the group to locate a campsite further on and Murray, who was ready to stop near a group of high school girls, was resolved by apologies and the recognition that it was worth the extra mile to find a quiet spot near beautiful Hydraulic Lake. As we rolled in, an osprey dove and pulled a fish out of the golden-light water.

Once again we enjoyed rice and vegetable stew for dinner, but felt some concern that oatmeal, rice, vegetables, salami, and cheese rations were running low. John called his mother in Kelowna suggesting she join us for a walk next day, but she declined because of other plans before he got to ask her to bring us food.

The wiki for this excursion can be found here. The Flickr Photoset is here.

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