Day 7: Chasing Ferries and a stiff head wind
It was a bit of a hectic start to the day as we were trying to time our leaving time to catch the ferry before noon. We had gotten into the habit of getting some pretty late starts, so this was a bit of a challenge. It was further challenged when google lead us astray along a very bumpy dike trail, causing us to miss the ferry. The little kids bike the trail back, while F and I headed in to town to get tickets for the ferry. Christian almost missed the ferry again as it turned out it leaves, not at the scheduled time, but as soon as it is full.
On the other side, we faced the formidable Agger Tange, a 10 km stretch of flat land dividing the North Sea and The Limfjord. A stiff headwind made the journey tough, and to make matters worse, we had to fix another flat tire in the chariot. Considering the relentless wind, we debated taking the road instead of the coastal trails. However, a stop for groceries in Agger led us back to the trails, which proved to be a splendid decision. The area was breathtaking, with trees offering some protection from the winds. I couldn't help but notice the buzzing flies around me, a testament to the fact that I really needed a shower.
Our shelter for the night was in the small town of Svankjaer. It exhibited a quaint charm, complete with a serene pond, abundant plum and apple trees, and powered shelters. Despite the convenience, we opted to set up our tent to protect W from the nighttime mosquito onslaught. Throughout the evening, the kids lavished attention on the stone ducks by the pond, giving them the royal treatment with washes, food, and affectionate petting. It was a heartwarming end to a day.
Day 1: The Adventure Begins
As I set out from my dad's summer house with my three daughters, the weight of the trip and all the gear we had to carry left me feeling doubtful about our chances of making it to our first stop 28km ahead. I'd be riding our tandem along with F, towing N and W in the chariot. A test ride had given me some confidence, but as we hit the road, it was clear that it was going to be a tiring day. Just when I was getting into the rhythm, a clunking sound emanated from the back. I tried to peer back, but nothing seemed obviously wrong. Still, I knew I needed to pull over.
The culprit revealed itself: a flat tire on the chariot. Just as I was pondering my next move, a car pulled up behind me, and to my surprise, it was my dad, who had left shortly after me. He thankfully helped me change the tube since the necessary equipment was with Christian. After the repair, we said our goodbyes again, and I continued on to Stauning Enge, a beautiful area teeming with birdlife and mercifully flat terrain, which was a blessing as I doubted my ability to make it up any hills with the heavy load.
One of the highlights of the day was using the pull ferries, with the kids eagerly pulling us across themselves. We stopped for lunch by a lovely playground with covered picnic tables, and I couldn't help but notice how Denmark seemed to have playgrounds aplenty, making it easy to find a great lunch spot.
Further along our route, we crossed a stream exiting into the fjord, necessitating another stop. The kids got busy with daming and river diversions. The trail to Bork was beautiful, with its hard-packed surface following the fjord the whole way. In Bork, we met up with Lene and celebrated our first day's success with ice cream, all while spotting crabs and little fish in the harbour. We pedalled the final kilometres to the Viking harbour, where moster Lærke and Tante Kent were already preparing a sumptuous dinner of risotto with creamy mushrooms and bacon—a true luxury.
As the kids played with the other adults, I took a moment to relax and enjoy the sunset. It had been a long and eventful day, but as I put the girls to bed, I felt a sense of gratitude for a successful start to our adventure.
For the longest time I wanted to go see the larches over Thanksgiving weekend, but with thick smoke still covering much of Northern Washington and Southern BC this year did not seem to be the year. Our friends Ignacio and Pascale and their two kids were planning to head to the Wendy Thompson Hut Sunday night, so we decided to join and I "settled" for some regular, gorgeous fall colours in Marriott Basin. We hiked in Saturday afternoon and as always we had a bit of a late start. F was hiking fast and didn't want to wait for her younger siblings, so we ended up sending Christian and F ahead to set up camp. N was keeping a steady pace, but was as always distracted by the many blueberry bushes - eventhough I thought they were passed their prime. On the way up I was reminiscing about the last time we where there. It was 3.5 years ago with skis, W in my belly and N in my backpack. It sure seemed like an easy hike compared to back then. A couple of hundred meters below the hut, Christian came back down to give N a little boost.
It was hot as we started hiking the last part of the road towards Brandywine Meadows; and the kids dipped their hats in every stream we crossed. The kids were already fully engaged in a pretend game; gathering water to fill magical tanks to help save the world from evil laser robots. This was F (8) and I's first trip out without the rest of the family, but Scott was the mastermind behind the trip. The Alcoholic Traverse is a 30-something kilometer alpine traverse from Brandywine to Brew. We would not have tried to undertake it without Scott, Sandra, and their two kids, E (10) and H (7).
We quickly made it to the end of the valley, had a quick snack and filled up on water, and started up the big hill towards the ridge of Brandywine. This is were I first realized how heavy my pack actually was. I am used to carrying a pretty heavy pack, when going with the whole family, and although this pack was not quite as heavy, I felt it much more as we were moving substantially faster than our regular family speed. The uphill was also a bit of a shock to F's system, but Scott kept her going with a pole stealing game - at least until the last section before the col. Here we had our first crises of the trip. The rocks were loose and a bit challenging, we were falling behind fast, and all of a sudden things seemed unmanageable to F. She started spiraling, but we managed to regain composure relatively fast and met everyone at the col for a little break. The rest of the ridge went pretty well, although F did need to listen to a story for the last little bit to get out of her head and just hike without too many thoughts of what was to come.
We're a 2-cargo-bike family (and now, also a tandem). We love them all. This quick post is about our electrified in-town kid-hauler (our Haul-a-Day remains fully "manual", like all our other bikes). Last year we put on a nice aftermarket motor system using parts from Grin, on our Madsen (aka "Boxy") and noticed (just before the start of the school year) that we put over 4,500km on it during its first year! Combined with the ~1000km Line spends bike-commuting and ~5800km I spend bike-commuting (used to be ~9000km, but my work recently moved closer) this put us solidly into the "more km by bike than by car" category this year (not even including all the trips to the beach and bike-touring vacations). We anticipate more km this year, as the kid-drop-off-run is longer. Although we always biked a lot this upgrade let it entirely replace using an automobile (or the bus) for in-town trips in our family. The kids are protected from the elements, depending on traffic it's usually faster, you never have to worry about parking, and if you're super-tired you can always just use a bit more juice. Oh yeah, and of course it doesn't burn gas or even much electricity - the thing uses less power than we spend on cooking.
It's been a long time since we brought our family up to Tenquille Lake. At that time, there was just 1 kid, and she rode in the backpack. Despite being one of the easiest alpine cabins to get to on the coast we had trouble - there was enough snow to hide the trail, but not enough to cover the bush such that we could ski properly, along with a solid slush-rain. Between that trip and doing the Owl-Tenquille traverse twice (once solo as a ski trip, once as a Veenstra Traverse) I've still never successfully taken the East access trail to the Birkenhead FSR. This time we succeeded... but it was still a bit closer than we'd thought it would be.
The "River of Golden Dreams" is a cute little paddle down the river between Alta Lake and Green Lake, entirely within the resort community of Whistler. We paddled it once before, in a rented canoe, which was a nice paddle but a quasi-fiasco of logistics and an attempt to avoid tourist pricing. We now own a beast of a canoe, but also (more recently) two SUPs. Line really wanted to try it again on the paddleboards.
This summer we had two weeklong trips back-to-back, and it certainly seems we got the weather right. After a week of biking in cool, occasionally drizzly, weather it was time for a heat wave with basically no wind - what a great time to be on the ocean! We debated before the trip whether we should take the canoe or a pair of ocean kayaks (a tandem and a single) with kids in the hatches. The advantage of the canoe being easier packing and having the entire family in the same boat, allowing better "in-flight service" for the kids... but the kayaks are more seaworthy. With the heat and general lack of wind I think we made the right choice with the canoe. I've actually never been on the ocean with such weather before...
This trip was a bit of a last minute plan inspired by this 10 Lakes overnighter. However, with three young kids there is no way we can bike 120km with 2000m of elevation in a couple of days, so we planned to spend 6 days on the roads leaving time for playing and swimming.
We meant to leave Vancouver Wednesday early afternoon, but it quickly became clear that we would not be able to make the 2.25pm ferry, so we took our time and aimed for the 4.45pm, which of course turned out to be full, so we ended up waiting a long time for the 7pm that didn't leave until 7.45pm. We ended up chasing the last ferry to Saltery Bay and made it on with just a couple of minutes to spare. Due to the last minute planning we didn't really have a proper map of all the backroads, so we drove around the logging roads trying to locate Lois Lake Rec site until passed midnight. At this point the little kids were asleep, but our 8 year old, F, was not impressed and getting the tent setup was a stressful affaire. We were, however, all pleasantly surprised at how nice it was when we woke up next to beautiful Lois Lake. The kids played by the lake while we packed up, and then we headed to our starting point by Duck Lake Rec site.
Dates: June 22nd - 27th
by Christian Veenstra
Ok, ok, enough posts about the same trip. This is the last one, though. For some people, and probably me for planning other trips in the future, this will be the most important page. A map and split times for the trip. The longwinded trip report is split into three other posts.
River of Golden Dreams
Triple M Triathlon - Misty, McBride, Mamquam
Recent tips and thought
Boxy: Our kid hauling bike
Putting skis on a bike
Making a low DIN tech binding
What is in our backpacks?
The bike canoe trailer
Making kids crampons
Digging a snowcave
Make a kid towing harness