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North to Alaska - Live!

by Kathy 6. August 2011 22:16

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Burns Lake Bike Park

A few miles north of Burns Lake, British Columbia, we discovered a series of mountain bike trails that still have us smiling.

The first few trails we rode were in an area called Kager Lake Recreation Site.  Here is a map showing the main loop trail around Kager Lake, with some intermediate (blue square) trails branching off:

Kager Lake Trail started off fairly flat, with an even surface:

The first intermediate trail (Long Lake Trail) was closed:

The second intermediate trail wasn’t named, but it was shown on our map as a thin brown line that followed the southeastern contour of the lake. The trailhead was a bit tricky to find, and it looked as if no one had passed through lately. It was single track—our favorite kind!

The overgrown trail climbed up almost immediately, and we just couldn’t get our rear tires to grip on the mud and slippery tree roots. I think that we pushed our bikes more than pedaled them on this trail!

We also hoisted our bikes over quite a few fallen trees:

The challenges just added to the fun, as shown by Genevieve’s bright smile:

More pushing:

And more smiles:

The lake edge had consumed one part of the trail, creating the kind of mud that would snatch your shoes off your feet if you didn’t choose your steps wisely. We squished our way through, trying to step on clumps of sodden grass. Here is Genevieve getting ready to forge ahead through the flooded area, which Sebastian and Ben had just crossed:

The lake:

Back on the main loop trail, we sailed through a series of raised boardwalks and bridges:



After this nice warm-up, we were ready to head to the Burns Lake Bike Park, a separate area created and maintained by the Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association. Our only map of the Bike Park showed the trails as unnamed orange lines; but just looking at all those squiggles let us know we were in for a treat:

A fun, single-track connector trail took us from the Kager Lake area to the Bike Park:

We intersected an intermediate trail called “Curly Tail,” which swished this way and that, through the trees and down a series of switchbacks to the parking lot. What a blast!

Here is Genevieve at the end of “Curly Tail,” which turned to the right beyond the bridge, into the trees:

Next, we chose to take the trail that went to the left after crossing the bridge—it was called “Sueeeee-t!!!”, and for a very good reason (which we would find out later).

Sueeeee-t!!! shortly emptied into an open area, and we missed the trail's sharp right turn that would have taken us up the hill.  The reason?  Our eyes had spied a little “play area” across a dirt road, and we were soon testing our balance on some of the plank slopes, elevated boardwalks, sharp turns, and a teeter-totter that we all successfully maneuvered—some with much more grace than others (let’s just say that I could use a bit more practice . . . but at least I didn’t fall off the side!).

Looking at our map again, we thought it might be more fun to ride down some of the single track trails, rather than pedal up them, so we took the main dirt road to the top of the hill:

The slope got steeper, and we eventually opted for the “casual, get-off-and-push” approach to making it up the hill.

Near the top, we chose a trail called “Piglet,” which started out with some narrow elevated boards, followed by sweeping berms and some low jumps. Here is a portion of the boards near the entrance:

The name was appropriate, as the kids were squealing like little piglets--from joy--during the entire ride.

Next was an intermediate trail called “Pork Grind”:


Pork Grind made a loop that seemed to include a little bit of everything—smooth sections, climbs, dips, nice berms, and some rocky challenges. I didn’t stop to take too many photos, but here is Genevieve starting out:

Some of the easier rocks:

Near the middle of Pork Grind, another trail called “Conveyer Belt” branched off:

If we had had a better map, we might have taken it north to another section of the Bike Park.  However, we had a lot of miles to drive this afternoon, and we didn’t want to get lost.

On a side note about Pork Grinder, there was a short set of switchbacks with sweeping berms that were all uphill for us, as we were riding in a counter-clockwise direction. Although the trail had us all raving, we think that it would have been even more fun going in the other direction (clockwise) so that gravity could have carried us through the sweepers with speed.

Leaving the Pork Grinder, we set off to find the connector trail back to Kager Lake. We came to an intersection where I thought we should turn left, but Ben insisted that our connection was a bit further down the trail.  Well . . . let’s just say Ben’s trail did not lead us to the lake.  But we did get an exhilarating ride through all the curves, twists, downhill straights, and tight switchbacks that taught us all how the trail called “Sueeeee-t!!!” got its name.

Here is a small portion of the trail as it curved through the trees:

Before we could get into a nice rhythm, however, we had to navigate through the many deep puddles near the top of the trail.  Looking ahead:

And looking behind:

In one puddle that stretched across the trail, Ben placed a log so that our shoes wouldn’t be submerged while we pushed through the muck:


Even with the puddles, the trail was nothing but fun. Our wheels flew along, and we reached the bottom high fiving each other and laughing from the pure goodness of it.

We took a wide road back to the parking lot. Genevieve and Sebastian had their first coaster race down the gentle slope:

Genevieve crossed one last bridge:

We wish that we could have stayed a few days here, exploring every bend and berm, and zooming downhill on the trails that started at the top of Boer Mountain.

For us, one word sums up the Burns Lake Bike Park and the surrounding trails. Yep, you guessed it: “Sueeeee-t!!!”

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Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.


Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin