2009-10-11 49 -122

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Sun 11 Oct 2009 in 49,-122:
49.0091162, -122.7777181

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About 300m off the coast of the Semiahmoo Reserve (in between White Rock and the Peace Arch). Possibly land-accessible during low tide? Will be at high tide around 13:00 and stay high for the afternoon & evening [1].



Biking to the Semiahmoo Reserve[edit]

I'd been meaning to find an excuse to ride the still-pretty-new Canada Line for the first time and this seemed like a good one. I biked out to the Broadway stop and boarded the SkyTrain as it was being repaired... perhaps not the best first impression of the newest SkyTrain line. But anyway, we were eventually off, and had a smooth ride to Bridgeport Station.

Now, the new Canada Line stations seem to have this habit of having two levels of elevators -- you take one down to an intermediate level, walk out to the next elevator, and take that down to the ground level. Also, the signs and buttons are incredibly confusing. So, of course, muddling along with the elevators and my bike, I got to the bus loop just in time to have missed the 601 and the 620, the two buses that go to Ladner.

I wound up standing around for 20 minutes awkwardly between the stops for the two buses, hoping that no more than one other cyclist would come along and compete for my chances of being one of the two on the bike rack. I lucked out -- only one other cyclist came around, and eventually the two of us were being shuttled across the automobiles-only George Massey Tunnel.

I got off at Ladner and set out on Ladner Trunk Road, heading along at a good pace. At such a good pace, in fact, that I did not see the turnoff to the Boundary Bay Dyke bike path. Before I knew it, I was at an intersection with Highway-99, and for all directions other than the way I'd came, foreboding signs were posted about how vehicles not capable of 60 kph were not allowed there. Uh-oh.

The intersection did have one more aspect -- a bus stop for the 351 which at first glance appeared to be some crazy stop in the middle of nowhere. Apparently I am far from the first cyclist to wind up there and not know how to get back to their bike route. As I was debating whether to turn around, another cyclist came by -- I asked him for directions -- he told me to take the 351.

So, I waited around and then, after waving down a surprised 351 driver, took the Bus Ride of Shame over to the South Surrey Park-n-Ride, where I got my bearings and headed off on the King George Highway. I got to the Canada-US border (well, the Duty-Free Store by the border) around 16:30 and took a right onto Exit 1 -- passing by Peach Arch Provincial Park and heading into the Semiahmoo Reserve.

Semiahmoo Bay[edit]

I headed as far down the road as I could, getting 400m away from the hashpoint. I then locked up my bike in a well-hidden ditch and wandered over to the beach. The tide was still high, but the waters were quite shallow -- I was glad I hadn't brought my kayak, but rued not having a pair of hip waders! But in I plowed with my knee-high boots. The water was shockingly cold, so I splashed ahead as fast as I could, yelping every time a wave came.

By the time I got to the hashpoint, the water was about 15 cm above the top of my boots, my feet were not only completely submerged in water, but numb, and suddenly I was worrying about hypothermia. I didn't tarry at the hashpoint, and promptly began gleefully splashing my way back to land.

The Quest for Warm Footwear[edit]

Now, having decided basically on a lark to do this geohash, I had not come prepared with a towel, or second pair of shoes & socks. So, I stood around the beach shivering as I wrung out my socks and tried to drain my boots.

Biking back to Surrey was a slow process, stopping regularly to drain the boots, and then eventually stopping to take off the boots and pedal barefoot. For those who've never tried it, it's exceedingly uncomfortable.

I had my eye out for a store that would sell footwear, but being on the highway, and it being around 18:00 on a holiday, my options were few. Along the way I managed to really confuse the folks at the Mac's and then Safeway that I'd passed by. Around 18:15 I pulled into a new suburb of Surrey that just happened to have a London Drugs, and was relieved to find some warm, dry socks, and a pair of shoes that fit. The shoes, some olive-coloured psedo-Crocs, would be the ugliest shoes I've ever worn, but they were dry, and so off I went with these.

Getting home[edit]

Having now warm feet, and my boots strapped to my bike rack, I biked much more happily along the King George Highway. Now, the last time I'd done a bike expedition in these parts, it had been summer, and I'd naively prepared for the expedition as such. At this point the sun was setting and I was getting cold again -- having forgotten the change of seasons.

So, I decided it was time for me to do something wise on this expedition and caught a 351 back to Richmond. I discovered soon after the disadvantage of the Canada Line and the subsequent changing of bus routes -- not only is Bridgeport Station further from home than Airport Station, but it means I no longer cross the Arthur Laing on the way back. Without the epinephrine rush of crossing that nutty bridge at night, and the extra distance from Cambie to Granville, it took longer to get home that I'd anticipated. However, at least, Marine Drive was quiet, making it a fairly pleasant ride home.


See here.