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    Opening Day in the Chilcotins

    June 22, 2015

    Opening Day…. South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park….

    By: Pat Mulrooney.
    Check out his blog to see more of the stunning photography he’s captured on his many cycling adventures. 

    Each Spring as the May long week-end approaches, the South Chilcotin Mountains start pulling me in their direction. I’ve spent the last 25 years searching for better single-track but have never quite found what this place offers. When the snow melts I waist no time taking advantage of it’s short six month riding season. Sometimes however, the opening of the Hurley Pass FSR gets in the way of this goal. Last year in particular was one of the latest openings and we didn’t end up getting through until the second week of June.                             

    We packed up and found ourselves on a very clear and smoothly graded Hurley Pass road on Saturday morning.    

    We arrived at the Jewel Creek trailhead a couple of hours later and made our way up Gun Creek towards Spruce Lake. I typically pack a good handsaw and do my best to assist in the fall / winter’s windfall. This year we got through a solid section but about 10 big trees exist that will require a gas powered machine and couple of sad sacks of beer.     

    We made our way through the unique golden aspen forest as we gained altitude.   

    This is one of the pieces of single-track I dream about over the winter. In May it’s barely snow free and the famous Spruce Lake Grass is just sprouting from the soil.    

    This is what it will look like 30 days later…. 

    As we broke tree-line the dominant Mt Dickson showed it’s north face….

    It’s also cool to see the Balsam Root explosion just beginning it’s spring life cycle….   

    On the final approach to Spruce Lake Mt Sheba showed herself…. 

    Indian Paintbrush in it’s first days of the season…. 

    Late afternoon we reversed our direction and took advantage of the “almost” clear Gun Creek Meadows descent.    

    That evening we packed up and drove another 90 minutes to our campsite in Paradise Creek. 

    Our next days objective looked snowier than I thought it would be…. Nevertheless the evening light was spectacular.    

    The next morning we enjoyed a couple of very cold spring creek crossings. 

    The day’s weather was a mixed bag but this area is rarely traveled and spirits were high….

    Looking towards our objective it became clear it wasn’t clear (of snow) so we explored a new valley for a future mission.  

    It was a solid day out and we managed to ride snow free to 1773m on south aspects…. 

    On our return trip to camp the skies became angry and a typical South Chilcotin May Monsoon unleashed on us. We spent some time waiting it out among the lodgepole pines.         

    That evening we celebrated another early Chilcotin ride and my 40th Bday with a fine mini keg of traditional Czech Budvar! See you soon high Chilcotin passes!