This is the third sub-24 hour overnight bike ride our little group has done. The first was out to Mike's house two october's ago, followed by an early November ride out to the ski shack in Beaudry park. This time, Ian, Daniel, Graham and I headed for the Selkirk campground. The ride was 50km from our meeting place, Little Sister Coffee.
As we prepared to depart, there was a middle-aged women who seemed to be waiting to pickup her daughter from the cafe. She struck up a conversation, most of which was focused on trying to comprehend why anyone in their right mind would ride their bike, in the snow, to Selkirk, and then plan on sleeping outside. But it wasn't from a place of judgement or disdain, it seemed more that our small band of wool-clad weirdos had exposed her to an idea that would otherwise have seemed ridiculous and impossible. She left by saying, most enthusiastically, that we were so cool. Thanks lady! May the wind ever be at your back.
We headed out down Main street, thinking it would be smooth sailing. Several wheel-sized potholes later and a few curses and middle fingers later, we managed to make it out of the city and on to more peaceful terrain. We rambled at a good pace, as the wind was strong and at our backs. In no time, we seemed to be in Selkirk.
The park was very much still covered in snow. In some places, even up to our thighs. This might have been a bad idea.
The ground was littered with empty beer cans and skid marks. When one lives in Selkirk, I can't say that I'd blame kids from being bored and resorting to parking lot donuts. That said, it wasn't something I wanted to be a part of in the middle of the night. I dare say a group of winter cyclo-tourists camping out in the woods would not be met with favourable reactions by some well lubricated red necks.
So in the interest of a more peaceful evening, we pushed our bikes to the back of the park, over the berm, and down onto the riverbank. The snow here was about knee deep, but it was beautiful and quiet. Perfect. One by one, we each cleared the snow so we could setup our tents. The snow was wet and sticky, and Ian quickly realized the easiest way of clearing the snow was to simply make a giant snowman. Cool.
After our tents were clear, we were met with more good news. It seems the camping gods had smiled on us, and we had pitched out tents exactly in the middle of a giant patch of very dry and very dead wood. I think our bonfire raged for a good 4-5 hours, without ever having to walk more than 20-30 feet from the fire for wood.
Sadly Graham had to leave before he could enjoy the spoils of our trip. Many of you likely know by now that he has suffered a terrible tragedy. Graham, if you read this, our thoughts are with you.
The morning after was quiet, as we were all occupied with our own thoughts after hearing the news. You never know what life will throw your way, so get out there and try something new, live it, and do something ridiculous and impossible.