Is there ever never any real required reason for a trip like this? Probably more often then not now that i think of it and in this case we certainly had plenty, although time (2 days) and good weather we did not (15cm of rain). Our Texada Island bike packing mission was as much an exercise in work as it was in exercise and BLISS – work because we were creating the launch media for Landyachtz Bikes’ new Play Bike ^ , exercise because we were to climb almost a kilometre in one day and bliss because of reasons I’m sure I need not list right here as thats the point of this rest of this rant. It’s maybe the 5th trip I’ve taken with George Lucas and probably the most chilled one yet but still challenging in the sense of weather – which is something you just live with up here… In Australia I’d be postponing anything at 30% chance of rain or higher, up here you postpone only when there’s a flash flood warning, otherwise you’re stuck indoors for 5 months… Nothing some decent Goretex can’t fix (except for my bank account).
The goal was to cut Miles’ Ridge Runner route into a shorter 1.5/2 day affair. We planned on catching an early ferry over to Texada, as they can be sparse, to then bang straight up the main Forest Service Road (or FSR, for my non BC pals) to Bob’s Lake, then a bit of bush-bashing through some decommissioned logging zones (pictured above) to get back down to the coast and onto some single-track before hitting the road back to Blubber Bay ferry.
p.s. you can click most photos in this blog for a closer look.
Lucas Greenough knows how to pack light, among countless other things… His bike was closer to the stock but with different front forks, dropper post & extra teeth on the rear (among other things) – not really sure why etc but I’m sure he can tell you. One day I hope to know how to pack this light.
The transit out to Powell River - 2 of the 3 ferry legs.
Blubber Bay - Van Anda - Bob's Lake (camp) - X - Shelter Point - Gillies Bay
Bob's Lake (camp)
We were capped on time (in general) but we had a set deadline to be back in Vancouver so had to work with what we got – enough time to do the biggest climb on the mountain and basically turn around. Our route pretty much followed the bikepacking.com route except we did a yewie at the Bob’s lake camp site. We weren’t sure the route was clear, as we were trying to backtrack through private logging zones and fields of stinging nettle – which are apparently a delicacy but all I know for sure is they feasted on George’s sandaled feet.
pt1 Townsite Brewing - Powell River to Texada
I’m pretty sure all good adventures start at the brewery, at least in BC where breweries reign supreme and bad beer is a distant nightmare. Well that’s what we were preaching after our 5 hour commute got us into Powell River with about 10 minutes less time then we needed to get the early ferry.. Lucky for us the local Powell River brewery, Townsite, is right up there and it’s right next to Miles’ place – it was a late start none of us were really that qualmed by.
pt2 - Blubber Bay, Van Anda & the climb up to Bob's Lake
After at least half a day of transit we finally got to pedal some at around 4, or maybe 5, I’m not sure if my camera can factor for daylight savings but it really doesn’t at all matter, all I’m actually doing is highlighting the fact it took us 12 hours to get riding on Texada… Oh how I excited I was to get in the saddle, especially with the fact we were about to climb almost 1km of vertical to our campsite and most likely get there in the dark! That sentence started as sarcasm but as I was writing it didn’t actually sound that bad, and really once I’m out the front-door nothing is a problem anymore.
Texada is very unique in BC in that we humans don’t have any natural predators on the island – I figure the bears were probably hunted out during the early days of industry, or maybe to help facilitate deer population growth, or maybe the deer thrive cuz there’s no predators anymore? Either way the back of my mind was stoked cuz it didn’t have to create contingency plans for a bear, or cougar, breaking into my tent for a lil slice of lamb tartare. Predators, well land predators, aren’t something I’ve ever had to worry about in my Australian life but realistically I’d probably prefer to die from any number of venomous animals than get mauled alive in my tent by a bear or cougar – but I’d probably prefer the cougar above all, cuz if they’re anything like a house-cat they’re gonna be very effective at dispatching a defenceless human such as myself.
HOW WAS THE CLIMB?
A great campsite goes a long way, what goes even further is great camping gear – something I’m still working towards cuz ultralight shit aint at all cheap, if only they charged by weight… I always overpack (99% of the time it’s food) but on this occasion I wasn’t qualmed by my overpacking because it meant I got to stay dry.
My Texada bike packing setup was a 1 Man Ultralight Tent, Inflatable Mat (tall) R5, Travel Pillow, Silk Liner & 5ºc bag. Lucas and George were both running a bivy + tarp setup which is definitely the way to do it if you’re chasing minimum payload.
pt3 Bob's Lake & FSR out
I woke to pouring rain, which was expected but it’s never one of those things you look forward to – the trickiest bit is packing up in a way that means I’m not swimming the following night. We’d only planned one night bikepacking on Texada Island but it was likely we’d be camping somewhere on the way back to Vancouver the following night – which we did (Saltery Bay) – and yeah it was v wet in my tent. Note to self: BUY A TARP.
pt4 Single Track, Shelter Point & Home.
Making it out of the logging zone, and the army of nettles took some commitment, and we definitely thought about opting for a long detour over hike-a-biking over logs and nettle but I’m stoked we did. Mainly because we definitely would’ve missed the ferry but I’m not at all a fan of back tracking. But, no matter how much i loved it, it’s only ever going to be a few km long and for me it was the last highlight of the ride – because once we popped out at Shelter Point, we just mashed the highway back to the Blubber Bay Ferry and with that the bike packing part of the trip was done.
Filmed by Lucas and I, edited by Lucas
Armed with the worst video cameras we own between us, horrid weather and no rigs we made no excuses on the video front. My tg6 is wateproof but Lucas’ turn-of-the-millenium kids toy/handycam was certainly not. Honestly I’m stoked on this video in and of it’s self but when I think about our approach (we didn’t stop for shots, it was ride or die baby) and our camera gear (combined we had less value in gear than just one of my photo lenses) I’m extra stoked.