Skip to content

wind

I discover that the mileage marked on the campsite guide I got from the tourist information in Beaver Creek refers to the old highway and is out by about fifty kilometres when I cycle to a campsite that isn’t there. Tired and hungry, I have to find somewhere to sleep on an unpromising section of highway.

The sun is already behind the mountains and it is cold but finally an open meadow on top of a ridge with a line of trees and brush protecting me from the view from the road presents itself. I find a level spot, eat what doesn’t need to be cooked, straight from the pannier, and set up my tent.

The next morning Lake Kluane soon comes into view but a vicious wind whipping along the valley is blowing me back the way I came. Relentless wind and ill-humour are close companions and I battle both all morning.

At Destruction Bay, I cycle past a private RV camp intending to push on until I spot a sign claiming a baker on site. Too tempting. Cinnamon rolls, wi-fi and an endless cup of coffee vs. headwind. What would you do? Four hours, a hamburger and a hot shower later, I am still there.

From inside, it seems the wind has abated so I set off further fortified by two home-made chocolate chip cookies stashed in my handle-bar bag for later. The wind, it turns out, is as vicious as ever but the campground is not far.

At the entrance to the campground a large sign exists to discourage tent camping. The area is covered by bushes with berries favoured by bears. Hand written signs warn that one has been sighted the night before. I put up my tent – what else can I do?

A dire warning to tent campers.

A dire warning to tent campers.

Bears preferred food.

Bears preferred food.

I wasn't deterred from putting up my tent.

I wasn't deterred from putting up my tent.

A girl wanders over with a chocolate-coloured Labrador to discuss bike trips and invites me over to her campsite, where they are also sleeping in tents. She and her companions are from Whitehorse and they offer me a ‘veggie dog’ and introduce me to smore – a sandwich of sweet biscuits, toasted marshmallow and caramel filled chocolate.

The next morning I set off again against the wind. At the bottom of the lake I can barely stay on the bike or keep the bike on the road. As I turn around the lake, for a blessed while, the wind is behind me but I swing into it again a mile or so on. All day I ride into the wind. Pushing down one hill against the wind, I crack and do a sudden U-turn for a brief respite and I am blown effortlessly uphill the way I came. Heartbreaking.

The wind blowing across the bottom of Kluane Lake - I could barely stay on my bike.

The wind blowing across the bottom of Kluane Lake - I could barely stay on my bike.

Haines Junction finally arrives and I head for the visitor centre to enquire after the next camp site but get sucked into the bakery opposite – more cinnamon rolls and a slice of pizza – the food is not great but the café is welcoming and there is wi-fi to feed my cyber addiction. I buy a slice of quiche for dinner and cycle a mile to the campsite  – it is noisy and ugly; dogs left in RVs howl and bored kids amuse themselves splitting wood, a raucous group are having a party.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. julie | August 15, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    finally caught up again after a spell in Canberra helping Nicky to move house – she had to disconnect her internet access and so I couldn’t follow your progress, but now back at home and revelling in your posts. They paint such a picture of life on the road (on a bike) with all its hardships, fears, difficulties and funny surprises. I’m glad the preferred food for bears is small red berries – it must have been reassuring for you! Have you received the bear spray yet? Seems as though you wont need it while the berries are available. Lots of love xx

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *