TR Super Poster
Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Location: Bowen Island/Vancouver, BC
|Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:55 pm Post subject: Stage Four Route Description
|This stage saw our first mechanical. (The other was a broken brake lever after I crashed on day 7.)
I'd heard the hell stories about this stage from 2002. (How much flagelation with cold, wet alder can you withstand?) After the mud fest of day three, we were looking forward to a slightly cleaner day.
Etherington Creek to Sandy McNabb Group Campground, 62.87 km, 1593 meters of climbing.
1-19 - The day begins by backtracking along the Etherington Creek trail for 2.37 km to access a trail connecting Etherington Creek with Baril Creek over a low divide. This rolling trail will climb gradually, before dropping into the valley of baril Creek. A wide trail will take you to the Forestry Trunk Road (Highway 940). Turn left and follow the wide gravel of this public roadway.
19-21 - This section follows public roads. Stay on the shoulder and yeild to all vehicle traffic. This first section is wide gravel, followed by 5.63 km on paved Highway.
21-35 - The Grass Pass section includes a very steep push towards the low pass in the Highwood Range to the east of Mount Head. Once you crest the summit, the trail drops gradually inot the valley of Wileman Creek. After riolling a short distance on a wide road, you'll leave teh road to begin the climb towards Sullivan Pass.
36-42 - This is another very challenging section. Like the previous leg, it begins with a very sharp climb, this time to crest Sullivan Pass. From teh pass the trail become gradually more obscured by alder growth. Be very cuatious to follow the routing markers to stay on the route during this section. Some sections are so overgrown that it may be preferable to carry your bike. Eventually, the alder growth emerges at a gas well and you get a break along a closed gravel road.
43-75 - This final section follows a combination of well-defined trails and old abandoned road beds. There are many junctions though, so you'll want to carefully follow the road book and the route markers. After following Coal Creek Trail, you meet a challenging ford of the Sheep River. This wide ford can be dangerous so be very cautious. On the other side of the ford, a short climb will bring you to the Sandy McNabb Group Camphound where today's leg finishes.
It was in this last section that we had the mechanical problem. In the middle of a mud hole my parter shifted gears and snapped his deraileur hanger. We had to hike in the last 2km, while carrying his bike. We were SO happy that no one passed us while we hike in.
On the other hand, the alder was not quite as bad as advertised, but with bar ends you had to be really careful so that you didn't snag a passing tree and pitch yourself into the underbrush.