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Skipacking with Fiona

Fiona is 6, she is a proven outdoors-capable girl.  I have been promising to take her camping for several months, and this weekend we got the chance to go.

We decided Banff national park needed some visiting and so with some advice from my friend Scott, who used to live in Banff, we set off to camp at the far end of the Spray Loop starting near the Banff Springs Hotel.  On the way up, I asked Fiona if we should snowshoe, hike or ski the loop and she insisted skiing was our mode of transport for this trip.

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The temperature was a balmy -15C when we started and warmed up into the -10 range as we skied, and it made for a great afternoon.  Fiona kept talking about how nice the trail was.


We set up camp and ate our dinner before it got completely dark, and we had time to read several chapters from the book I am reading to her before 7.  It was cold enough to make holding a book and turning pages difficult, so we turned in relatively early.

I woke up several times during the night and checked on the happily snoring Fiona to make sure she was not suffering.  Each time, I checked the thermometer on my pack and it got as cold as -30C – a potentially catastrophic temperature if we hadn’t been prepared.  We did not need to resort to any of our emergency clothing or run off to start a fire (the fire pit is about 200m from the campsite).

The real test of our mettle was Fiona’s 7:30 call of, “I need to pee.”  It was -30C and still pretty dark, but if you need to pee…

If you haven’t ever had to get out of a warm sleeping bag at -30C to help a little girl pee, I cannot say I recommend it.  It did get my butt out of bed, and once I was up, it wasn’t that much of a stretch to get making breakfast.

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After a tasty breakfast and taking down of the tent, we had our next serious challenge in which we donned our very seriously cold ski boots and had to ski as fast as we could for the first few minutes so as to not inflict frostbite on ourselves.

The day warmed as we skied the second half of the loop, and we had another great day of skiing and drinking of gatorade slush as we made our way back to the car.




My bike on the Iditarod Trail

My bike on the Iditarod Trail

Back in the days before before fatbikes were common, there was a bike/run/ski race on the Iditarod trail called the Iditasport.  In 2002, it was replaced by the Iditarod Trail Invitational.  In 2001, the final year of Iditasport, RJ Sauer made a documentary called “A Thin White Line.”  The film is now on Vimeo and if you haven’t, you should watch it.  I am not in it since I did the race in 2002, but it is very accurate in its portrayal of the trail and racers.  When I talk about “type 2 fun” and “I’m not giving up just because it’s hard” it is in direct reference to this film.


Starting the new year off right.

Starting the new year off right.

While we were late for the New Year’s group ride, we followed their route and Tadhg kicked ass. He rode lots, pushed the steeper parts and had a great time.


Rolling fives for big brother

Rolling fives for big brother

You know your family is hardcore when the slow biker recognizes the coldbike family on the trail in BC when he is from Newfoundland and you are from Calgary. I somehow failed to snap a photo of Malcolm, but he is my favourite kind of people.

Chilcotins Gun Creek Lakes Tour Day 1

The kids and I got back recently from our trip to the Chilcotin mountains of BC.  We tricked my friend Vik into coming along and carrying some of our heavy food.  Our plan was to take from 5 to 7 days to make a loop up Gun Creek, over Deer Pass and down past Spruce Lake and back to our original parking spot.  Having kids along meant a lot of extra weight in gear and food since they eat similarly to and adult and sleep in a sleeping bag at night.

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Chilcotin – 3 Lakes Tour


Vik has a nice summary of our recent trip on his blog, stay tuned for our writeup.

Originally posted on vikapproved:



BC mountain singletrack...

BC mountain singletrack…

Click for larger map...

Click for larger map…

The Plan

I’ve been wanting to get my mountain bike to the Chilcotin Mountains of BC for a couple years now. All the photos I’ve seen have been stunning and the trip reports glowing. I’ve chatted with a few people about getting a trip together, but nothing materialized until this summer when Doug [aka Coldbike] agreed to a tour.

I didn’t realize at first that he intended to bring his kids, but that became an interesting aspect of planning the trip since neither of us had been to the area. This would be my first bike tour of any kind with young kids so I had no idea what to expect from them. We guesstimated some daily distances based on reports we had read and a study of the maps we had.

Our initial idea was to do a 4 day loop…

View original 2,669 more words

Flathead Valley Recon Loop…



There are no kids or winter in this one, but there is fun, and me getting a bear’s perspective on bear spray.  Vik and I will be heading out with my kids in a week.

Originally posted on vikapproved:

Doug on Cabin FSR...

Doug on Cabin FSR…

Where did the road go?

Where did the road go?

This is a road???

This is a road???

The views weren't too shabby...

The views weren’t too shabby…

The Plan

Our original plan was to ride the ACA CDN GDR route in the Flathead Valley around the start of the Tour Divide in early June so that we would be riding north and passing all the southbound racers. It was a splendid idea, but Sharon’s knee surgery date was too close to the trip schedule so I had to delay the start to the beginning of July. On the plus side that meant better weather on the downside that meant a flood ravaged route and not getting to see the TD racers.

So we rescheduled the trip for 4 days over the first weekend in July.

Doug had some friends in Fernie BC who were kind enough to let us use their house as a staging point. Thanks John &…

View original 2,759 more words


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