Brewer Lakes Bikepacking Day Two

Day two of an overnight backcountry riding trip near Invermere BC. Day one can be found here.

The second, and altogether less suffery day of the Brewer Lakes trip dawned with us sore but well rested. The sun was shining, the electrical storm had stayed away the night before and it was time to ride.

I can think of worse places to wake up. (This and all other photos courtesy of Cam Stuchly)

I can think of worse places to wake up. (This and all other photos courtesy of Cam Stuchly)

Knowing it was mostly downhill the whole way back we had a leisurely morning, taking the time to enjoy the beautiful location we were in and letting the morning sun dry the tent fly a little before hitting the trail around 9:00. We warmed up on a little climb before enjoying a nice technical descent complete with some awesome moonscapes and a little freeriding.

The trail follows a ridgeline made of hard packed scree.

The trail follows a ridgeline made of hard packed scree.

Carving through the moonscape.

Carving through the moonscape.

A little big mountain scree riding to make it feel like riding in the movies.

A little big mountain scree riding to make it feel like riding in the movies.

This part of the trail is alpine riding bliss, so of course it has to lead to the one big climb/hike-a-bike of the day. We put up with it knowing that on the other side was a whole lot of flowy singletrack and today we got to descend it. The flow was interrupted occasionally by steep sidehill crossings of avalanche paths, but all in all it was a spectacular descent back to the outfitter’s camp between Mt Goldie and one of Mt Brewer’s outlying peaks, known locally as the Movie Screen. It took us just short of two hours to get from the lakes to the camp, which was faster than expected. It had taken us nearly three and a half in the opposite direction the previous afternoon. The fast and largely smooth descending was no doubt to blame for our utter enjoyment of this portion of the ride, and we found ourselves wishing it could have lasted longer. No matter though, as the Hopeful Creek trail was ahead of us, a massive descent in its own right.

The old outfitter's camp signals the beginning of either the Hopeful Creek trail if descending or a rather long climb if headed towards Mt. Brewer.

The old outfitter’s camp signals the beginning of either the Hopeful Creek trail if descending or a rather long climb if headed towards Mt. Brewer.

The Hopeful Creek trail is deserving of a whole post on its own. It is a roughly 1000m descent through the obvious drainage west of Panorama Mountain Village ending either in the Greywolf golf course (much to the surprise and irritation of the golfers) or midway through the bike park, depending on the route chosen. Alternately steep and rooty or buff and flowy, the trail winds down from the alpine for what feels like an eternity. Sadly it does not see as much traffic as it deserves, and while the trail surface remains pristine, some of the lower sections near the creek have become quite overgrown. “Thousands of interlocking branches at eye level” is, I believe how Cam described one section on this occasion. Luckily it opens back up near the end, leading one to forget about the scratches left by the local flora.

Once we reluctantly reached the end, we chose to extend the descent by climbing a short service road pitch into the bike park, where we again raised some eyebrows sending the jump lines while carrying packs full of gear and rattling our teeth out riding braking bumps on ill equipped machines. With that done, all the was left was to hose the bikes down and partake in the mandatory return to civilization feast.

Our second day of riding was by far the easier one, with around 17km of distance covered and roughly 500m of elevation gain. All in all, every bit of suffering on day one was worth it on day two. It’s possible that we could have ridden this as a day trip, but much of the fun would have been lost doing the descent exhausted. Plus, nothing compares to waking up to an alpine sunrise with a massive descent as the game plan for the day.

Once again thanks to Cam Stuchly for all images featured in both here and in the article from day one, as well as for having the energy to take them.

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