Elkford to Sparwood

Great Divide

After a long day yesterday, we planned for today as a rest day, which meant riding about 30 mainly pavement miles between two mining towns. The day started off right with a steady climb to a coal mining plant. At the top we chatted with some young miners on their break. They were curious why they see cyclists up this way so often, so I showed one of them our Adventure Cycling map of the route. Apparently a unicyclist had just passed through the other day. Now that’s nuts.

The rest of the ride was gradually down hill and pleasant. At one point we startled a large coyote trotting near the road. He took one look at me, didn’t like what he saw, and bolted. I don’t blame him. I’m surprised Carrie hasn’t done the same.

We entered Sparwood on the hunt for ice cream. There’s a heat wave in the area, so we’re pretty much thinking of ice cream non stop. Before we found ice cream though, we found the world’s largest truck, literally. This behemoth sits next to the visitors center in town. You can’t miss it. Although it’s no longer working, it did run continuously for about 20 years hauling ore from the nearby mountain tops.


We found root beer floats at an A&W, engulfed them, then proceeded to the supermarket to stockpile food for the next two days, when we’ll be riding through the remote and untamed Flathead Valley, known to biology nerds and Canadian nature lovers as the “Serengeti of the North” because of its abundant wildlife and undisturbed condition. So far we haven’t seen a bear on our trip. This might be the chance we get.