One of the greatest things about living in the mountains, is that adventure is very easy to come across. One of my favourites is to explore on two wheels. Living only a stone’s throw from the Lillooet River provides a great opportunity to easily explore this wide expanse as it takes volumes of water from the mountains down through the Harrison Watershed and out to the ocean.
The North Bank
The dirt biking gear goes on, bikes are fired up, and we set off to follow the riverbank upstream. It’s doable on a dirt bike, but sometimes I prefer to take pedals. We begin on a Forest Service Road, crossing the train tracks a couple of times, and finally turn off into the woods. There’s fallen trees to hop over, streams to wade through, and low hanging branches to avoid. From the forest, we slowly make our way towards the river, and come out in blazing sunshine on a sandy path close to the waters edge. We stop for a moment to take in the views, but almost instantly the mosquitoes have surrounded us so we keep moving.
Continuing along the path, we come across more obstacles that require successful navigation, but soon enough we are starting to climb and the trail becomes easier as we leave the forest floor. The sandy path becomes rocky, with it presenting new challenges to us riders. Our progress slows a little bit, and technical riding is definitely not my forte, but the more I do it the better I become. Soon enough, we find ourselves atop a rocky outcrop with great views along the river in both directions.
The shadows on the mountains start to get longer, and the inevitable sign that the sun is starting to set becomes more apparent. Having stopped for a little while to take in the views, we mount our bikes and continue riding. The trail we are on connects with the Mackenzie Forest Service Road, which leads us straight up the hill for around thirteen kilometers. It’s a smooth and fairly fast ride, mainly thanks to the completely regraded surface this year. Closer to the top, the road steepens and we find ourselves an increasing number of switch backs. Even though it’s slowly getting darker, we continue on.
We reach the Paraglide Launch, around two thirds of the way up the mountain, just as the sun is starting to illuminate the clouds. It’s a fantastic vista, overlooking the entirety of Pemberton Meadows. It’s time to crack a beer, and gaze out to the view. Far in the distance, now looking like just a small stream, is the river we were riding along just a short while ago. Considering we are so close to home, we feel a thousand miles away from every day life as we sit watching the sun dip below the mountains.