Day Use Parking, Canada - Polarsteps
We woke up in the rain. First thing in the morning, from our tent, we heard trucks start to go by on the road below us (our camp site was perched on a trail that ran above the road; through a line of trees we could peek down and watch the road). They were hauling loads of gravel up the road, past where we were camped, meaning we hadn't made it past all of the construction sites.
Going down to the road to bike and get caught seemed like the worse of our only two options, so instead we just waited. Which was great, actually; the weather cleared up and the sun came out for a while, and we got to rest and stretch our sore legs, read books, tune up the bikes, and spend time cooking hearty meals for the day.
We headed out at 6pm, when we were sure the last trucks had left for the night. We rode up the road, sure that we were going to make it out this time.
We passed the areas where gravel had been piled at the side of the road, and then around a corner we saw the barricade. Relief.
And then the words "BIG WASHOUT" spray-painted on the barricade. And then a rushing river, and on the other side a chewed-up half-road that continued around a bend: our road, the only road.
We briefly considered the mechanics of fording the river with all of our things. We made the right choice and didn't do that.
On the way back down Silver Skagit, we noticed things we hadn't noticed before: how many sections of the road looked like they had just been newly rebuilt, especially in areas where the road crossed water. How much debris was piled at the edges of the water, fallen trees and broken branches. Something about the Skagit River had been familiar but unplaceable to me, and I realized it was probably in the news during the flooding back in the fall; the fallout was visible everywhere.
We left the closed road, had a brief interaction with a security guard stationed at the gate, who was very surprised to see us, and pushed our bikes up a steep hill to the open campground nearby. We slept on the opposite side of the lake we'd ridden next to, with a view of the mountains we couldn't see properly from the closed road because we were too close to them. Since we started this trip, this was our first night camping where it didn't rain; instead of the tent being pummelled, we fell asleep to the sounds of frogs and ducks on the lake.
Being on Silver Skagit is the first time on this trip, and in a very long while, where I felt in a remote location. There was no cell service , but more than that we were camping completely alone. The other campground was 10km away. I realized just how not use I am to not having any other people around, which is just an interesting thing because most of the time, in my day to day , I find I like having space from people. It really struck me how if anything goes wrong it would be up to one of us to cycle out of there for help (we recieved a satellite phoe from a friend, we should activate it sooner than later for this reason). Having people around also offers a sense of safety in number, this really kicked in after seeing that black bear yesterday (although they are cute and timid compared to a grizzer). I also know I am unfortunately no Brad Pitt ( I wish ) from "Legends of the Fall" and figure an encounter with a bear, especially a grizzer, wont end with me having a nifty bit of claw. It would much more likely be like the ending of that film, haha. Anyways, it also made me a bit nervous to wait out the construction workers, it was weird being there without them knowimg.
When we finally got back on the road at 6pm it was exhilarating, we were back on our way after being tucked away for the day. When we reached the wooden traffic horse I thought we had finally reached the end of the construction! Turns out we reached the end of the actual road! The floods from last fall had completely taken out the road. Wow. We turned back as crossing this shambled up, fast flowing, deep, cold river wasnt a great idea. Plus, who knows what was ahead on that route; likely more damage. The cycle back was all downhill, so it went super quick and was a treat. We made out way to Silver Lake Provincal Park Campground and sneaky camped beside the beautful lake. I filtered water from that lake and drank the most beautiful water Ihave ever tasted.
🚲 Bike Jaunt 🚲
Day Use Parking