I went on a long s24o this weekend - 108km (about 67 miles) on varying
The route started with a 'Voyageur Start'. This excellent term was new to
me. Supposedly the old fur trading voyageurs would paddle out of town for
only a few miles before stopping for the first night, with the idea that if
they had forgotten anything critical, they were still able to turn back and
retrieve forgotten supplies. I can understand the reasoning when you're
paddling half way across a country.
So, we rolled out of Elma, Manitoba at 2pm and stopped 10km later in
Whitemouth for some burgers, soup, pumpkin pie and beers. I have to say I'm
a fan of this voyageur start business..
We hit about 15km of farm roads, which were a mix of gravel roads, mud
roads, and double track. I was riding Compass Barlow Pass Extra-Lite 38s on
my Atlantis. We connected to a rolling highway that snakes through the
Canadian Shield, making for a camp spot at Meditation Lake. Can you think
of a better-named destination?
I had planned the route to include two special off-road diversions. The
first was a snowmobile track that ended at an old prison site. The second
is part of the trans-canada trail, which is mostly crushed stone, exposed
granite and a touch of grassy single track here and there. Being October,
all these sections would be done in complete darkness as a result of our
long, leisurely lunch.
The temperature dropped to about freezing and we kept warm by maintaining a
respectable pace. It has rained for nearly the entire week prior, so full
fenders were a must. I was very happy with how the Barlow Pass tires rolled
over the varied surfaces and had no flats despite the sharp rocky trails,
exposed granite, and rough roads.
We had all of Meditation Lake to ourselves, save the occasional chorus of
coyotes and owls in the night. A few beers, some pad thai and a bonfire
later and we were passed out.
We woke up to the sound of shotguns, which was surprising to say the least.
I guess with camping season officially closed, hunting is allowed near the
camp spot. We passed 6 hunters on our 5km ride back to the highway. The
ride back was pretty much the same, including a second voyageur start for
our second breakfast of the day. A stiff headwind reduced our pace to
between 9-15km/h for the final 50km. It was a grind, but still having fun.
In the end, we covered 210km, saw several bald eagles, had a fox run along
with us for about 30 seconds, were treated to a clear night with bright
stars, and sent autumn on its way properly. The next s24o is my annual
November Winter Welcomer, which is on the first weekend of November, and
marks the beginning of the snowy, sub-freezing camping season :)
Hope you all had a great weekend.
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