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Sawpa Divide

July 2021

After escaping the Chilcotins by the skin of my teeth a few weeks back, I figured it was due time for a mellower bikepacking trip. Fortunately, Rennie already had a lovely little route picked out, and the rest was history. We met Saturday morning in Squamish, and pedaled North out of town. Neither of our bikes was the optimal tool for the job, hers on the commuter end of the spectrum, and mine on the enduro side of things — but that only added a little spice to the weekend.

Paved roads faded to dirt, and we eventually found ourselves slogging up some fairly steep singletracks. Dust and loose rocks were thematic of the trip. Eventually, our route linked up with the Sea to Sky highway for a few miles. The pavement was a welcomed break after a bit of steep climbing. We took a dip in Lake Lucille, and then continued up to the pass along Chance Creek Fireroad. The climbing was relentless, but so were the views, and we couldn’t complain (too much, that is).

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Cruising the 99

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Enjoying the view on the climb

All in all, we ended up climbing around 5,000 feet over the course of the day. Our rewards for the effort were vast views and several thousand feet of decent. Though it is hard to tell whether the descent was a reward or punishment when you have to ride it on a rigid commute bike. Somehow, Rennie managed to fly down the blown out tracks on her rig without issue. We swapped bikes about half way down the trail. I bumped and bobbled my way down the mountain, holding on for dear life, while Rennie quickly disappeared from sight.

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Dropping into the river valley

We made it to the river around sunset and turned in for the night. The bugs were no issue all weekend, despite Rennie’s best efforts to jinx our good fortune. We slept in on Sunday, and ambled South along a fire road paralleling the river. Eventually we hit a paved road, which was a nearly orgasmic experience after being rattled around on backroads for the past day and a half. Squamish drew near, and we made it back to the van around midday. The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting in traffic on the way to Vancouver, which, despite how it sounds, was actually quite enjoyable. After pedaling all weekend, it was nice to sit, and I suppose my company wasn’t half bad either.

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Heading South