I look forward to every ride up mount revelstoke.
By Chris Miller, The Revy Triker
I look forward to every ride up Mount Revelstoke. When I pedal, generally, it’s “me time”. I am in a very different situation than most and actually have time to spend on “me”. Having a lot of physical disabilities, I focus on what I have left. We must prioritize some time to keep moving. If you stop, it is really hard to get started. Use it or lose it! There is a lot I can’t do, but so much I can. I like to think the healthier the mind, the healthier the body. While I pedal, I do a lot of things: sometimes I listen to motivational podcasts or music, make a phone call to an old friend, and always, a lot of thinking. Occasionally, a piece of a story may pop up and I will use Siri to make a note. Continual stimulation is ever present. The duration and amplitude of my ride depends on how much time I have and what the weather is like.
The town of Revelstoke is situated right at the toe of the Mount Revelstoke. Minutes from home behind the Railway Museum, a commemorative site for the Tournament of Champions is marked by a ski jump sculpture and flags of participating countrymen. This is where world record-setting athletes started their long slog up the narrow snowy track to the top of “Suicide Hill”, and still provides non-vehicular access to the entrance of the Meadows in the Sky Parkway. Construction of the 26 km long Parkway, one of the only paved roads that I know of which leads you to the alpine, and the famous Meadows in the Sky, began in 1911. Originally, in the early 1900s a hiking trail was built from town to the summit, because of the spectacular scenery locals saw and its tremendous tourist attraction. Starting in 1911 local businessmen pressured the provincial government for funding to start building a motorway so that the beauty of the alpine was accessible to all. Revelstokians are mountain lovers and their experiences above town spurred the community to actively pursue Canada’s “higher ups” to conserve “our park” as a national park. After many years and insurmountable challenges, the Parkway was completed in 1927 and was officially opened by the Prince of Wales. The original start of the motorway began close to the clubhouse of our Golf and Country Club in the Columbia Park area of town.
The Parkway is open from Spring until Fall. This year, during our cooler and wetter spring months, I started to ride a new route on the lower mountain. I traversed north from town to the trailhead of Inspiration Woods, which also contains the steepest section of the road. A short descent from there leads to the entrance of our new Snow Forest Campground, where a quick lap around reveals all the wonderful smells of camping. A short distance down the road for leads to my final climb up to the base of the Nels Nelsen Ski Jump and the Beaver Lodge Skills Park. The campground, located very much out of tow but minutes from downtown, was opened last year and having camped all my life, accommodates its campers at some of the nicest sites I have seen. The Beaver Lodge Skills Park provides an outstanding location for our wee ones to acquire the necessities to put their wheels on dirt and is also fully accessible, providing optimal viewing locales.
During our snow free seasons, I ride 4-5 times a week and as the snow melts, the road is opened higher up the mountain. One of the bonuses of early season riding is the “break-in” period of your “getaway sticks”. I try to make it the to summit a couple of times a year, which takes over 4 ½ hours. I time it with alpine blooms usually around the beginning of August. The road surface is very smooth asphalt, where in my mind, an electric assist hand trike would be perfect and depending on the time of day there is very little traffic. As the flowers bloom from the valley to the mountaintops, the visual stimulation during the climbs is always rewarding. Every shade of green imaginable provides the backdrop for nature’s palette of vibrant reds, purples and yellows. The most incredible sunsets over the Columbia Valley are also viewed from this West facing aspect. One of my favorite vantage points is the top of The Nels Nelsen Ski Jump, though access can be quite challenging. All stops along the way provide the viewer with staggeringly spectacular scenery including my “number one” venues, The Monashee Lookout, Dean Flick’s memorial bench, Eagle Pass Lookout and Panorama Point.
Every shade of green imaginable provides the backdrop for nature’s palette of vibrant reds, purples and yellows.
Chris Miller, The Revy Triker
I am grateful that I have the opportunity to enjoy this location of unimaginable beauty so close to home. Mount Revelstoke National Park gives us the gifts of just about everything. Come and check it out for yourselves, guaranteed, you will be back! As Ruby Nobbs, author of Revelstoke History and Heritage, stated “THIS PLACE IS SPECIAL”.
The Revy Triker.
Chris Miller is an adaptive biker in Revelstoke. He's a counselor at our Visitor Information Centre and a passionate community member. Follow Chris' adventures on Instagram at @revytriker.