Ride the Divide

by David Wilson August. 07, 2018 14096 views

The Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail is a 2768.4 mile, mostly off-road backcountry cycle journey starting in Banff, Canada, working its way south to Antelope Wells on the American-Mexico border. The route follows the Rocky Mountain chain, criss-crossing the Continental Divide, passing through some of the most dramatic mountain landscape in the world.

In July 2018 two friends and I rode the northern section through the Canadian states of Alberta and British Columbia crossing the border into the American border state of Montana.

Into the Great Forests of North America

Into the Great Forests of North America

To 'Ride the Divide' is a major challenge for bike and rider as the trail passes into remote and difficult terrain and all you need to live - shelter, food and Bear Spray must be carried with you.

Though non technical riding the trail is still a physical challlenge

Though non technical riding the trail is still a physical challlenge

You are not totally alone on the trail, you share it with Grizzly Bears, Mountain Lions, Cougars, Wolves and also fellow cyclists from all over the world seeking out adventure and the joy of travelling through wild and remote landscape.

Alice and Orlean from France who rode at the same pace as us, complete with Chess Set as essential equipment

Alice and Orlean from France who rode at the same pace as us, complete with Chess Set as essential equipment

Alberta is the land of monumental landscape, massive mountains dominating the skyline

Alberta is the land of monumental landscape, massive mountains dominating the skyline

Gravel trails alongside great lakes

Gravel trails alongside great lakes

The open vista is not the common view. The forest trail is what dominates the memory of this journey. Deep and dark the ever present fear that at any second out of the 'green' will emerge some creature or another with an appetite.

Bear Country

Bear Country

Often though the desire to extract timber from these primordial forest means that gravel 'logging tracks' have been driven into the heart of the wilderness

The hot and dusty Albertan logging roads are a feature of the trail

The hot and dusty Albertan logging roads are a feature of the trail

The forest is all embracing and vast. Light in the forest creates the most marvelous colour and pattern

Sulphur Springs, British Columbia

Sulphur Springs, British Columbia

Dense, impenetrable forest

Dense, impenetrable forest

Riding the trail is not easy some sections are downright hard requiring portage even scrambling. The closeness of the forest in these situations can be oppressive, bearing in mind that here you are the visitor.

Richard Scothorne on the Ram Wigman Portage

Richard Scothorne on the Ram Wigman Portage

Alan Kimber on 'The Wall' - a 50 meter high infamous scramble with a heavy bike

Alan Kimber on 'The Wall' - a 50 meter high infamous scramble with a heavy bike

The trail can be narrow in places but never too technical

The trail can be narrow in places but never too technical

The rewards for all the effort is the opening of a new vista of all too rare (particularly in North America) landscape that seems somehow new, unseen.

The upper reaches of Grave Creek, Montana.

The upper reaches of Grave Creek, Montana.

The end of the day is a wild campsite, next to a clear cold stream. A place to light a campfire and hope that the beasties have already had their dinner.

Tuchuk Campsite, Montana

Tuchuk Campsite, Montana

Even in the middle of the forest, like minded folk are drawn, not just for cycling but for all sorts of reasons. We met many people on the forest trail from survivalists, forest rangers to hunters and fishermen. All had in common a desire to be there and a generosity of spirit and time to share their stories with us.

Fishermen from Wolf Creek

Fishermen from Wolf Creek

The ride was all too soon over as we pulled into Whitefish, Montana. A nice thought though is there is still over 2000 miles of the trail to go and well another visit to continue this journey is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Red Meadow Lakes - Montana

Red Meadow Lakes - Montana

Blending in with the natives...only two thousand miles still to go!

Blending in with the natives...only two thousand miles still to go!

Looking forward to the next section: Riders: Alan Kimber 72 years, Richard Scothorne 65 years, David Wilson 58 years

Looking forward to the next section: Riders: Alan Kimber 72 years, Richard Scothorne 65 years, David Wilson 58 years

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Heike 1 year, 6 months ago

Most impressive photos ! What a georgeous landscape !!

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
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