Okanagan-Similkameen, Canada - Polarsteps

Summit 2 of 6 is behind us! Sunday Summit, 1284m, follows closely after Allison Pass, and the combination of the two climbs is notoriously a trip-ender for some cyclists (apparently if you travel more during the summer months, you can see caches of gear where bike travellers have desperately tried to offload weight at the side of the road). We took it slow and enjoyed the winding road that hugged the sides of the mountains and offered up big views back to where we'd come from and down to the Similkameen River. Aside from a couple of steeper sections we held a steady pace, drank a ton of water, ate a lot of chocolate on the pullouts, and we and our behemoth bikes eventually made it to the top. Descending from the summit is officially leaving the Cascades behind; we've crossed a mountain range, and our next will be the Monashee Mountains when we head up Anarchist Mountain east of Osoyoos. We had an amazing descent into the Okanagan; we had sweeping views of the valley coming down, everything got warmer and drier and the landscape is all pines and scrub brush; we're a long way from the cedars and ferns on the coast. We rolled into Princeton, ate at Subway (it's the building in the last picture-- thanks M&B for the pre-paid card, you know us so well) and got groceries in the cute, historic, quiet downtown, and camped (legally this time) at the far edge of town, at a campground with hot showers. Some trip stats: -Bear sightings: 2 -Shingles outbreaks: 1 (Sara) -Flat tires: 4 (3 Kini, 1 Sara) -Falls off the bike: 2 (1 each, both in Vancouver) -Mountains: 2 -Encouraging horn-beeps when we're sweating our way up a mountainside: countless -Weird sandwiches: countless -License plates picked up off the road and added to a travelling collection of metal: 3 (Kini) -Favourite road games: 1. Singing pop songs loudly to potential bears, altering lyrics for the bears. 2. Adding 'anal' to the front of camper van names, shouting results to each other up the road, i.e. 'Anal Forager', 'Anal Whisper', etc. - Raccoon nights: 1 - Sara We got up early to pack our things and get to a picnic table to make breakfast. That is the negative aspect to stealth camping is that need to get up and out of a place quickly. When you pay for a spot you can sleep in a bit and have breakfast before you pack up. We bought coffee and tea from the "grocery store" and I made us poptarts for breakfast (fried 'em in a pan). We both had our first sightings of Clark's Nutcrackers who are so dang striking, even with being grey, black and white. I wonder if they are related to Northern Flicker as thier body shapes are similar. We also witnessed multiple families with children feeding the ground squirrels that inhabited the day use area. Not just tossing bread, nuts or potato chips but feeding the critters with closed hands and even petting 'em like they are gerbils or something. I was just waiting for some kid to get bit; it's like the adults have no concept of rabies or any other potential disease a wild animal can carry. I also know for a fact that groundhogs ( I know a ground squirrel is different but I can't see why that would make a huge difference here) can still carry the bubonic plague and people who go messing around thier burrow holes or get bit can catch it and die. These critters were like animals in a petting zoo. Reminds me of people who jumped around like billy goats at the edge of Grand Canyon; like it was an amusement park where you couldn't fall off the edge. Anyways, I hope nobody caught the plague from alvin, simon or theodore. We climbed our second summit, Sunday (not to be confused with Sundae) Summit! We had loads of encouragment from pasing vehicles on the steepest terrain of this route (which I figure was between a 7-8% gradient). Since Allison Pass didn't have a sign we kept wondering if the same was for Sunday Summit and took pictures at various potential summit points along the way. This climb was overall more gentle than Allison's Pass, still long and a climb but not as bad. Once we reached the summit there was a sign! And we got to take picture in front of it! The descent into Priceton was long but mostly downhill, which was welcomed. I will also say that because we had mac&chesse the night before, poptarts for breakfast and mostly sunflower seeds that day I was really feeling lethargic. Healthy eating makes all the difference for energy! On this ride the trees and environmentreally shifted; there are so many gorgeous, tall pines and the forest floor is dryer and littered with pine needles. Oh! most exciting thing this day was that I spotted my first Mountain Bluebird! Like a streak of blue paint against the forest! Just wow! -Kini
  1. derailed
  2. 🚲 Bike Jaunt 🚲
  3. Okanagan-Similkameen