Two weeks ago I went for a short ride along the Nelson Salmo Great Northern Trail. The ride was beautiful and it left me wanting more, so yesterday morning, I rode to the top of mountain station road with my panniers full of camping equipment and a tent tenuously strapped on top. The plan was to bike along the trail all the way to Salmo, a distance of over 40 km, pitch my tent and stay the night before returning the next day.
The sun was high in the sky by the time I arrived at the trail head and I was already out of breath from riding my now heavy bike up the mountain. After stopping for a quick snack, I swung myself onto the bike and started peddling away. The first 4 km went by quickly enough. This part of the trail continued arrow straight for several more kilometres until the path crossed the highway and opened out next to Cottonwood Lake. Cottonwood’s waters are not exactly warm, but my feet were baking in my hiking boots so I took the opportunity to dip my toes in the lake.
Here is where I made my first mistake. Instead of following the trail directly to the lake, I had taken the shaded road next to it instead. Thus, I had missed the sign which marked this stretch of trail as being closed due to bear activity.