Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wolves and Watershed

The expedition began as planned. There was a little bit of blue sky, so perhaps I wouldn't need my raingear. I realize that one thing I love about geocaching is that you don't know whether you will succeed or not. It might be easy. It might be impossible. Twenty-five kilometres of trail shouldn't be too bad. Worst case scenario is that it is impassable by bike, and I have to go on foot. That would be four hours. Each way. I hope the bridges are still there. I'm hoping to be able to average 10 km/h on the trail. That allows for dragging the bike up rocky inclines, and cruising on reasonable gravel for part of it. The contour map shows it pretty much level, too, with one steep climb. The satellite images made it look like a great road.

At the SeaBus there are six cyclists waiting to load. Here's a shot of the bike in the SeaBus leaving Vancouver. Sorry, no forward shot. Bikes are required to stay at the back of the boat. Next I load the bike onto the bus and it takes me to the Skyride parking lot where this road should begin.

It's the end of the line for the bus, so the bus driver is still there as I open my map. He thinks I'm lost. It's true, people always think you're lost if you look at a map. The lost people are the ones who don't have maps. I have a compass, a GPS and a map. I know where I am. I just need to orient this large, irregularly shaped parking lot to the map so I can find the corner the road comes out of. It looks like the road runs right along one side of the parking lot and heads northwest. I ride off to the northwest corner of the lot to get away from all the people trying to help me. The GPS says 14 km to the hashpoint. Too bad I'm not a crow. The trail isn't straight.

I'm expecting to find one of those low vehicle gates that cyclists can go around. There's an open area that could be a dirt road. And that's where I found the sign that said "Do Not Feed the Wolves." They're real wolves, timber wolves, found wild almost everywhere in Canada, but these ones aren't wild. They're reportedly retired movie wolves. That would explain why they are so acclimatized to humans. But it doesn't really explain why they are hanging out in the vicinity of my trail. I look at the map again and determine the compass bearing of the road, and the coordinates of the corner where it leaves the parking lot. I go to that corner and I can see the road. It's fantastic. It's paved, with good pavement. I'll be at the hashpoint in an hour. But there's a fence around the parking lot, between me and the road.

I follow the fenceline back to where I should be able to get on the road. And then I run into the real world equivalent of 403 Forbidden. No one is allowed in this area, because it drains into the city drinking water reservoir, and they don't want any contamination. I'll try to get more information on exactly where the borders of the no access watershed are, so I don't have another expedition like this one. Frustrating to have the point be so doable, but forbidden, but I find another road to ride around the mountian a bit, then zip back down to the SeaBus at 50 km/h with the brakes on. It was the speed limit. Also I'm chicken.

1 comment:

Tim Lesher said...

"Thwarted by Wolves" is so xkcd-like, that it warrants a mention in xkcd itself.