After setting up camp in a perfectly still evening, the wind roars in off the water by morning along with misty rain. I hope it turns out to be a tailwind.
I have a nice simple late breakfast at Harmonie’s Place. The only coffee shop in town. All natural all wonderful. I am delighted to warm up next to a fired up wood stove. But how can this be needed in June? Life at 54 degrees north latitude I guess.
The partner to Harmonie, Kaz, is effusively proud of her. So much do that he pens a quick resume about her for my blog. Here it is in his own writing.
Heading out from Port Clements I am tested. Do I really have the mental mettle for this trip? The wind is blowing straight on at about 35 km per hour with gusts to 64 km per hour. There is nothing more challenging to a cyclist. When I crest a ridge sometimes the wind blows me to a stop. I cannot reef my panniers, which provide lots of real estate for the wind to push me backwards. In addition to the tough slog through the wind, sometimes mixed with rain, the sound and fury of it can be deafening. The wind rips loudly through the helmet and the rain jacket flaps like a jib that has come loose in a storm. Thwap, thwap, thwap.
It takes almost two hours to go 25 kilometers. How sweet that there is a coffee shop at the end of it.
When in The Crows Nest coffee shop in Tlell I see a Mars Bar and I am reminded of the deep fried food in Masset. Yes, they fry these things there. Here is the menu to prove it.
Before continuing south, I return north to the Tlell Volunteer Fire Department, from which there is a trail leading to an old growth forest. Most of Haida Gwai has been logged and this is one remaining spot along a riverbed. Like much of British Columbia, most accessible trees have been harvested. Now, even those that are hard to get at are being plucked away by helicopter as an 800 year old tree can be worth $50,000 or more.
After the walk in the old growth forest, it is back on the bike to Skidegate. The wind is still howling now as I am next to the ocean the roar of the waves are added too. Normally with my friction shifters I can tell if it is on gear smoothly by ear but the all the other sounds drown that out too.
I manage to arrive in Skidegate in time for a wonderful meal of crab – crab quiche, crab claws – harvested and prepared by Rachel, PC year 35. She took advantage of the negative June tide to pick the crabs by hand at low tide. And she baked a mean rhubarb pie too.
It was a slog of a day against wind and rain and I would have changed plans if I I did not have to catch the 11:59pm ferry back to Prince Rupert. So, after going north, northwest for ten days and nearly 1,000 kilometers, tomorrow I turn north west to begin finally the continental crossing.
Start: Port Clements
Distance: 67 km
Time on Bike: 4:15 estimate
Average Speed: 15 km per hr estimate
Distance to Date: 834