2010-07-29 48 -123
Today's spot is on Quail's Run, a road accessible from Bear Mountain Parkway in Langford; check out the Google Street View.
I will simply head there after work, but this time on my mountain bike.
Although I had planned to depart straight from work, I had to head home first and let out the dog. I ate a small snack, filled up my water bottle, plugged in the GPS coordinates and off I went. It was early evening, the sky was clear and the temperature just right for bike ride. I was on my mountain bike this time, so I couldn't mount my GPS to my handle bars (had to keep it in my shorts cargo pocket), nor did I have a seat bag to pack my point-and-shoot. I'd have to settle with using the crappier camera on my phone instead; oh well, better than nothing!
As I got underway, I definitely noticed how much slower going is was than when I ride my road bike. My route was identical to an earlier Geohash of mine this month on July 17th up the Malahat. As I was biking on the highway up to the Millstream exit, I saw a doe and fawn right next to the highway, which was quite surprising. The fawn stepped right up to the barrier, and appeared as if it was going to jump over onto the road. I slowed down and fished out my phone; they turned and headed off into the bush, although I managed to snap a pic before they disappeared.
I carried on and then turned off at the Millstream exit and made my way through the "big box store" strip on Millstream Road. I noticed that every half block or so, there were these "Langford Bike Lane" decals on the bike lane on the road -- cool!
Another click and half, and I turned left onto Bear Mountain Parkway. This is a winding, climbing road up the mountain that will eventually take you to the golf resort of said name. There are lots of new houses in this area, so it was somewhat interesting to do a little sight-seeing as I rode up. I'm actually glad I had my mountain bike with me, as I was able to drop down into my "granny-gear" and pedal up a lot more easily than if I was on my road bike (my lowest gear isn't all that well suited for steep climbing).
Partway up, the road lanes separate around a copse with a sign in front welcoming you to Bear Mountain. As the lanes joined up again, I saw another deer on the other side of the road, but I was unable to snap a pic. The road leveled out somewhat, giving me a little breather, but then climbed steeply again until I reached my first turn off onto Player's Drive. Oh I get it. Golfing, drive, yeah, cute, whatever.
I then climbed a little more and found Quail's Run. Up just a tad more, and I recognized the tree from the Google Street View. I pulled over onto the right side and parked next to a Hydro box (as BC Hydro, our local power authority), and took a long drink before digging out my GPS and homing in on the location.
I walked back down the grassy side, and as I was getting closer, I was worried it was going to be up the cliff that came to the grass edge, but as I got closer, the location proved to be right against the cliff face. My GPS read 2m to go within 3m of accuracy, so I snapped a pic and called it a success! This was certainly easier than my last Geohash out on the water. After a short rest, I got back on my bike, but instead of simply heading home, I figured I'd go explore a bit, and perhaps check out the Bear Mountain Resort. I had, after all, climbed a significant distance already -- I might as well head to the top and see what there is to see.
As I returned to Bear Mountain Parkway and continued up, I came across a fire truck parked on the side and four to five firemen milling about with red emergency-looking backpacks on. I asked if there was a report of fire they were investigating, but they replied they were merely "practising" and then headed off into the bush. I carried on and had only a little more climbing to do before it leveled off, and descended a little into the resort area.
The area looks somewhat unfinished, as there were many bare tracts of land where I imagined housing would be constructed at some point. I made my way onwards until I came into a cluster of new buildings that held restaurants and shops. The road eventually led me to The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa, where they had a statue of a bear in golf attire by the front entrance. I snapped a picture of it, and of myself (purportedly being mauled by aforementioned bear, with appropriate look of horror).
Satisfied with my exploration of the resort, I turned back and began the descent. I got going so fast, I could not pedal fast enough, despite being in my highest gear. Before I knew it, was at the bottom in a fraction of the time it took me to climb it. Whew, that was fun! I had to fish a bug out of my eye though, as I had unwisely lowered my glasses to see better in the shade. That sorted out, I carried on home.
Instead of simply retracing my steps all the way, I turned off at Thetis Lake Park and decided to explore the biking trail, called the "Galloping Goose", that roughly parallels the highway. I usually avoid the trails due to slower traffic (leisurely cyclists, runners, pedestrians, people walking their dogs, etc.), but I was curious about it, since I had never ridden on this section. I was impressed -- it's a very nice trail, paved in most spots, and well-marked crossings where it cut across a road. I followed this trail until I turned onto McKenzie, then the Pat Bay Highway, and back home.
My ride was just under 40km, but the mountain bike made it feel longer. :) I'm really pleased with my Geohashing luck this summer, as today was my fourth expedition in July alone. I'm off to Seattle for the long weekend -- I hope my luck continues.
A bear mauling Wenslayer.