Biking Across Canada Day 9—Rogers Pass to Kicking Horse: Anything's Passable with Enough Dynamite

The beautiful lonely road out of Illecillewaet Campground

Today turned into a slog. I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to travel 140+ kilometres in the mountains. The lack of campsites was a factor, so was wanting to get to Banff to see my brother, but I probably shouldn't have tried to do so much in a day.

I got up early, said goodbye to Richard and Aaron, and headed out for a day of adventure. A few kilometres of climbing brought me to Rogers Pass, which has a nice commemorative site.

Rogers Pass
Artillery turned into avalanche tool
The summit proper. Hard to believe the hills on the Coquihalla Highway are higher than this.

Though I mostly listen to podcasts in quiet moments (using bone conduction headphones so I can still hear traffic, Mom), each day I seem to get a song stuck in my head, and the only cure is to sign along a doezn times or more. Yesterday it was Prince's Raspberry Beret. Today's groove was Talking Head's cover of Al Green's Take Me to the River. If you see a dude roaring down the highway on a bike while dancing along to the beat, that's me.

The Columbia River
Sometimes construction means I get a whole lane to myself. Sometimes I gotta squeeze in with cars.

People keep asking/warning me about trucks on this trip. I find truckers to be consistently considerate. They give me space when they can't, and warn me when they can't. Shoutout to the trucker who waited patiently behind me for kilometres while I slowly made my way up hill through a narrow construction site, keeping all the impatient drivers behind him.

After a long descent out of Rogers Pass, followed by another small summit, I made it to the Columbia wetlands, a wide marshy valley that I rode from Donald to Golden, though it continues beyond.

The Columbia Wetlands

The climb out of Golden was a challenge. A lot of elevation gained in a short period of time, with narrow or non-existent shoulders for stretches. You get some good views as a result, though. 🤷‍♂️

I burned a lot of calories for this shot.

Some time after Golden is the the 405-metre-long Park Bridge, which is the most impressive-looking engineering project on the route. Scratch that. The pass cut through the rocks right after the bridge is mind-boggling. How much dynamite did it take to cut that road out of the rocks?

That’s a big bridge
Why couldn’t I just take that road down there?
-“Shouldn’t we just go around?” -“And waste all this dynamite‽”

Late in the afternoon after entering Yoho National Park, I found myself dragging. I should have left Golden earlier. I promised myself a dinner in Field if I could just make it there.

Field, seen from the Trans Canada
An old house in Field
I think this might have been the old railway station

I arrived in Field just before 7, had a quick curry bowl at the Siding Cafe, and felt myself reenergized. Field has some pretty buildings. Apparently they renamed the town after some rich businessman who they hoped would invest some money here. Some things never change—remember all those desperate Amazon HQ2 bids?

Made it to the Kicking Horse campground to find out they were rebuilding their shower facilities. They gave me a $5 refund as a result, but man was I looking forward to that shower. Oh well. I'll have to wait until Banff tomorrow.

The view from my campsite
Relieved to have made it
A neat group cookstove in the picnic shelter

Today's Distance: 152 km

Cumulative Distance: 984 km

John Kyle @JohnKyle