I set out today intending to make a much longer bike ride than I ended up making. I had hoped to ride the 'Elbow Loop' which takes in both the 'big' and 'little elbow' trails for a wonderful 43km (26 miles) circuit through spectacular scenery. The reason I didn't make it was the temperature as I rode the first 15 km, at 30 degrees without a breath of wind it was stifling, so much so that I found myself stopping in shaded areas repeatedly just to cool off a bit. The freezing cold water of the Elbow River did provide cooling too but overall it was just too hot for me, so after 15 km I turned around and returned to the truck. I still got a nice ride of 30 km (18.6 miles) and an ascent of 438 m (1437 feet) which was enough on a day like today. The gallery below shows steps along the way including the new bridge over the Elbow river (at the 5km mark) where previously, paddling was the only course of action.
I made our usual 25km circuit on the bike this afternoon under beautiful blue skies. The strong head wind made the outward journey tough going but the return was as easy going as you would expect. The locals took a great interest in me as I stopped to make a few shots of 'Muskrat Lake' where I stopped for a drink before returning home.
As it's the weekend Sarah was keen to be out biking again and the route from home to Muskrat Lake (not the real name but the one we've given it) is an easy choice. It's a nice steady ride over 25km on rarely used gravel roads straight out of the house, so no need for transport or loading/unloading it's an easy 'get on and go' ride. We saw a host of eagles again, the usual deer and a Canada goose on it's nest, it must have eggs as it didn't move when I went very close. Best of all we sat for a while by the lake and watched the Muskrats paddling out to the middle and diving down to get fresh green weeds and bring them back to their waterside holes. I may return to Muskrat pond with a telephoto lens one day and really catch some shots of these little critters up close, In the meantime you can take a closer look at them in the gallery below, there are no captions as the images are self explanatory.
I made the trek on potholed roads to the north ghost today to enjoy a bit of mountain biking in the empty wilderness of the waiparous creek area. Any given weekend the ghost wilderness comes alive with ATV's enjoying the huge space dedicated to the pursuit, but during the week you rarely see anyone down there. The peddling was gruelling in places but frequent river crossings cooled me off as the temperatures rose to the 20's again, ultimately I made a nice circuit of just over 20km but don't think I'll go back to that particular spot with the bike again as the trails are not really worth the trip, but it was nice check out a potential new biking area even if it turned out to be a non starter.
Sarah was keen to be out on the bike again this weekend and with wonderful blue skies overhead what reason is there not to? So we set out direct from home on the 20km circuit we discovered recently, only this time we added a little more just to keep things interesting so now it's a 25km circuit. There were plenty of deer and eagle sightings (including a huge bald eagle). I don't have shots of the eagles as my little cycling/hiking camera has it's limitations but I did managed to capture a muskrat that we watched working away in a roadside pond. Smaller images below are captioned when opened in the gallery.
With Sarah still 'saddle sore' following yesterdays ride I was a little surprised that she was keen to be out again today for another go, admittedly this was after a visit to the store for some riding gear with butt padding included. We made a 20km 'out and back' ride along gravel roads direct from home so it was a nice easy day helped by the bright sunshine. We ventured out into the ranchlands of Rocky View County stopping a couple of times for photos. We saw several herds of deer and a few eagles along the way as well as a Muskrat paddling across a small pond, what a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Seven months ago I bought Sarah a nice new mountain bike so we could both rattle around the mountains together. To avoid riding Sarah threw herself down the stairs leaving her on crutches and recuperating right up until winter when the bike was consigned to storage unused (she still claims the fall on the stairs was due to a flip flop issue but we all know the truth).
Today there was no time for excuses, I surprised her with the suggestion that we go riding and there was no way out. We headed down to the Elbow Valley and the gentle gravel road leading to Ings Mine, it's closed to vehicular traffic so makes a perfect 'first time' ride and with only about 12km out and back it's a short effort. We stopped off for a little bite to eat and to mess around riding on a frozen river (just because we could) and all in all it was a lovely afternoon. Sarah remained upright throughout and didn't fall asleep on the way home so I think we're OK for a second round soon. Click small images for larger captioned versions.
I've had a couple of local spins on my bike since the start of spring but today I decided to get back to the mountains for my first 'real' bike ride of the year. I picked the Little Elbow Trail because it's close to home, has few people during the week, it's longer than I would need on my first outing and most of all because it's beautiful.
The floods of 2013 have left their mark on the place, not least of which is the bridge that previously spanned the Elbow River at the 6km mark is missing entirely. I actually thought it would be back up by now but as it isn't I enjoyed a couple of freezing paddling sessions, which were more than welcome in the heat of the afternoon. I made a 30km 'out and back' ride with a little over 1000 feet of ascent and really enjoyed myself.
Below is a gallery of shots I took along the way including one of my epic paddle which required me to set the camera, paddle across, return for the camera and then return to the bike, with my initial crossing it made 4 lots of splashing about; it was like being a kid again.
We arrived in Calgary, Canada on 29th December 2011 to continue our journey. This blog is intended to keep our family and friends informed whilst we explore Canada.You can use the RSS feed below to stay updated.
The Shaman, West Texas