On Sunday, Quiver departed. Around the RV Park, the residents were wondering where the “woman from San Francisco with the bear dog” went. Perhaps they were worried that giving her their Social Insurance Numbers and mother’s maiden names was ill advised.
The dog walking duties returned to me. Personally, I’m not so sure that Nick looks like a bear but people do give us a wide berth and make plenty of bear comments when we tour the RV Park.
The next day we were back on the bikes and headed towards to the Garibaldi Highlands. This time we headed across the road to Ray Peters Trail as another option to get up to the Alice Lake Road. This worked, though we took the longest and most uninteresting route possible in an area with a web of easy, winding trails. We can mark this particular route off the list.
Through the Provincial Park, we once again climbed up to the top of Crouching Squirrel Hidden Monkey. We dropped The Monkey for a short ways until we reached Mid-Life Crisis. Mid-Life Crisis is a short crossover trail that connects Crouching Squirrel Hidden Monkey to Jack’s Trail. A guy at the Corsa Bike Shop recommended this one, even though it doesn’t make for great loop rides when the Four Lakes Trail is closed to bikes as it is during the summer months. What Mid-Life Crisis lacks in distance, it makes up in altitude loss. Crisis switchbacks down a steep hillside on a well weathered, gravelly, and somewhat feral track. The path is very steep with most of the altitude lost on the tread and root drops. Brake modulation was essential as the slope put us at the edge of traction most of the way down. All too soon this exciting, short trail hit Jack’s Trail.
At the “T” intersection, we turned left, up the hill on Jack’s. The upper portion of Jack’s Trail is smooth. Surrounding the track, the forest is lush with moss-coated trees and a carpet of ferns. This is a particularly beautiful and peaceful section of trail. Jack’s ends near the Provincial Park. Back on the Park roads we continued as on our prior ride to Mike’s Loop seeking a second Line of Credit.
With our recent familiarity, the passage of Credit Line went smoothly except for the bear.
“Is that a bear?” I thought to my self, seeing a black object on the trail 80 feet ahead.
I stopped and looked more closely. “Shit, the bear does look like a stocky version of Nick.”
“Yeah, but four or five times larger,” my thoughts continued as I looked further.
I shouted and waited on the trail for the bear to move off and ramble down off the trail. That’s what always happens, doesn’t it?
The bear stayed put for 20 seconds. Then the bear started towards me on the trail, first walking and then trotting.
Now I was starting to get concerned. The bear was not that far away and the distance was closing quickly. I raised my bike and shouted again backing up slowly while still facing the oncoming bear.
The bear kept coming. I looked around and was starting to figure out what Plan B was. Thoughts passed rapidly through my head. “Can I ride faster than the bear can run? More importantly, can I ride faster than Knobs? And how far back is Knobs, anyway?”
Fortunately the bear slowed 30 feet short, turned slowly away, and ambled off the trail.
My adrenaline was pumping, but this time it was not from the riding.
The end of Credit Line, Jack’s Trail, and Brackentrail all passed in a blur after the bear encounter. And it turns out that Credit Line is easier and less sketchy when the rear skewer on the bike is not loose like it was the first time down.
We made it back to the trailer a short four hours after we started the ride. I looked closely. Nick definitely did not look like the bear. He was much, much smaller.
Our first trip down Credit Line: