After riding the Icefields Parkway Philippa thought it would be wise to give up and return back to the UK as nothing could top that ride. However, our flight home is from Los Angles so we must continue south. The first part of the journey was to carry on along Highway 93, the Kootenay Parkway. We knew there wasn’t a lot along this road, just a couple of campsites, the Kootenay Park Lodge and a lot of grizzly bears. We were hoping to stayed at the Marble Canyon campsite, but it wasn’t possible to book the campsite and as it was the Canada Day long weekend we weren’t sure there would be space at the site. We set off from Lake Louise with Philippa worrying we wouldn’t have anywhere to sleep.
From Lake Louise we rode along Highway 1a that parallels the main road and gives amazing views of the Bow River. There were loads of other cyclists out and about until we hit Castle Junction. We then picked up the continuation of Highway 93 and Philippa powered up the hill in a rush to get to the campsite. The road was busy and as shoulder was pretty broken up we had to be careful not to full into one of the massive cracks. Going uphill this wasn’t too difficult but it was more exciting on the downhills.
We arrived nice and early at the Marble Canyon campsite and there were loads of space. Whoop. There were lockers for our food, a glacial river for washing in and nice pitches set amongst the trees. We spent a relaxed evening enjoying the sunshine and thinking about the 100km we’d be riding the next day to Edgewater.
Sunday rolled about and as we had a long day in store we set off early. It was grey, cloud and overcast. It was colder than we’d expected and we both had to stop to put on more clothes. The first 60km were pretty easy as we slowly followed the Kootenay river down the valley. There had been a forest fire in 2003 and the trees are still recovering in the valley. There was a lot of traffic heading back to Calgary after the Canada Day weekend, but fortunately that was all going in the opposite direction.
After 60km of downhill we then had to climb out of the Kootenay valley. The climb was fine and then we had a massive downhill into Radium Hot Springs. The descent was fast, but the shoulder was cracked and narrow so at times it was a bit scary. Radium Hot Springs was pretty touristy, but we only stopped to buy a few things before riding along the massive, and beautiful, Colombia river valley to Edgewater where we are staying with a Warm Showers host. The views of the mountains rising up on both sides of the valley are incredible. From here we ride south so we’ll see lots more of the Colombia river. But first we have a rest day.