My first ever visit to the Chilcotins was an exercise in having my ass handed to me. Josh Hall and Chris Clark were world-class fit, and I thought I was ‘close enough to hang. I was wrong, and the weather didn’t help me out. So when they returned a couple of weeks later to complete their planned route without me, the ride stuck in the back of my mind.
Six years later and many, many trips to ride in South Chilcotin Provincial Park, and I have become intimately familiar with the mountain ranges, routes, lakes, and streams that make up the region, and the distances between them that compound to a huge scale. Late last summer, I finally felt ready to take another stab at that first ride—if only to get it out of my mind. I called on Zanny Venner and Joel Ducrot to join me on the big ride… and what better way to sandbag our chances of success than to bring a camera and tripod to tell the story?
For anyone interested, I’d highly recommend our approximate route (Relay>Elbow>Deer>Windy>Lick) as a bikepacking trip with one or two nights of camping along the way. For most riders, I would specifically not recommend it as a day trip. Even with a detailed, first-hand knowledge of the route, a clear understanding of and preparedness for the consequences of coming up short, and a very high tolerance for discomfort, pulling off a ride like this deep in the backcountry is on the ragged edge of ‘dumb.’
Woj would like to acknowledge that this ride took place in Big Creek and South Chilcotin Provincial Parks, which are really the unceded territory of the Tsilhqot’in, St’at’imc, and Secwepemc First Nations. We’re lucky to be able to respectfully ride the trails and routes in those parks, that have been used by those First Nations for long before parks were ever a thing.