Riding the Hudson's Bay Company Heritage Trail

The Hudson's Bay Company fur brigade trails stretch from Oregon to McLeod Lake, BC (1.5hrs north of Prince George), and were completed in 1849 with the help of First Nations and the linking of massive hunting and trapping routes. The Hope Mountain Center, along with countless volunteer hours, re-established the route from Tulameen to Hope, BC, which inspired a group of mountain bikers to try and tackle the rugged trail.

For hikers, it is recommended to do the trail West to East and visa versa for mountain bikers. Although the trail is open for cycling, there is a lot of hiking and technical riding involved so it is best kept for advanced riders. The images shown do not show how technically challenging this trail is both up and down!

Most riders would start in Tulameen, however we took a unique two-day route to add distance, and connected to the trail via the Tulameen Plateau. The HBC trail had very little (if any) stinging nettles, but that was not the case with some of the lower elevation trails we used!

Bike-packing over serious terrain is all about sticking to the essentials. Spreading the weight over your bike and keeping the heavier items lower in your pack is the key to being able to ride technical terrain.We arrived at the Marmot City camp site just after 7 p.m.; tired from the last 5km jaunt aka hike-a-bike over countless fallen trees and legs burning. This was going to be fun at some point right?

The moment at the end of a hard day when you wonder if packing the whisky flask would have been worth the added weight??Up at 7am and ready to get up into the alpine.Quick pit stop at Paddy Pond to filter more water for our packs.Connecting onto the infamous Whipsaw 4x4 trail as seen on the right. Luckily the first part of the trail is mellow which provided some easy miles to lift our spirits.Finding water was not a big issue in the area. This was great as it allowed us to carry an average of 2 litres of water per rider and stop throughout the day to replenish.

Easy trails across the Tulameen Plateau. Quick stop at Blackeye's camp for a bite before we start our first decent on the HBC.Dropping into some flowy trails from Blackeye's to Horseguard camp.

All of the campsites were consistently great. Good water supply, bear bin, outhouse, fire pit, benches and tables, with a large trail map with information. It was a bit strange being so deep in the woods all day, and then coming across a trailside oasis.This is what happens when you raid the reject bin at the dollar store... You get a highly visible ultralight mattress system with self-deflation devices (holes) built in. Ultralight Siltarp and bug net courtesy of Valhalla PureGetting a good night's sleep before tomorrow's 56km epic ride.On the trails at 7am sharp in order to give ourselves plenty of daylight. We hope.Countless creeks descend across the trail and these pools are very inviting for an afternoon dip.

View from Conglomerate Camp.Continuing the climb up Mt. Davis.

 

Nearing the top of the trail - elevation on the trail peaks at 1855m.

The near 1,000 meter descent down Mt. Davis was unforgettable and a highlight of the trip. There were a lot of high consequence sections with very tight switchbacks, but skilled riders can ride the whole way down. Average riders could find themselves riding 50%, and beginners would just look at you wide-eyed like you are trying to get them killed.It's gut-check time at Colvile Camp. We've already done 8 hours of riding across 30km, and now we must do a 2 hour/3km incredibly steep hike-a-bike up to the top of Manson's Ridge.I can't think of too many things more physically demanding than pushing a bike in front of you on a greasy and rooty trail, strapped to a bunch of camping gear on a 12 hour trail day. This one mountain would have been a mission on it's own.The descent down Manson's Ridge was very loose, steep and had sharp switchbacks which made it very challenging to ride after such a long day. No pictures were taken here as that would have required too much effort at the time... 113km's of bike-packing done in 2.5 days, whooo! 

Riders from left to right: Kevin Koopmans, Mika Laspa, Trevor Howard, Perry Klassen, Shawn Vogt 

Our bike-packing List:

Siltarp
Sleeping pad
Sleeping bag 
Ground sheet
Rain jacket (shell)
Down jacket
Hiking pants
Wool underwear
T-shirt 
Fleece
Toque or balaclava
Biking tights (for layer under pants or cold nights)
Sandals/crocs
Mosquito net
Mosquito spray
Butane propane mix
Stove
Pot
Water bottle
Mug 
Spork and plate
Swiss Army Knife
Water filter 
Knife
Lighter and matches
Woodsaw
Firestarter
Toothpaste and brush
Map
Rope and stakes
Chamois
Jersey
Shorts
Wool socks
Spare tube
Pump
Multi tool
Helmet
Headlamp
Gloves
Shoes
Webbing and buckles
2-3L Water reservoir
25-30L Backpack 
Frame bag
Seat Bag
First aid  
Toilet paper 
Sunscreen 
Vaseline
Ear plugs
Chain lube
Camera
GPS or phone with GPS maps
Hand sanitizer
Food

 


Trevor Howard
Trevor Howard

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