This boomer above Skookumchuck towered intimidatingly over the entire Columbia Valley.
I'd planned to have breakfast across the lake in Crawford Bay, but driving through it appeared to be closed for the season. Aside from a couple of other riders suiting up outside a motel, there were no signs of life, and no glowing "Open" signs. So I kept on for a few miles to the Gray Creek general store, and stopped for a coffee and to inquire about the condition of the Gray Creek / Redding Creek Road Pass, which offers a direct gravel shortcut across the Purcells to Kimberley, rather than tracking south on the pavement to Creston and back up. I wandered the store over my coffee, and made a mental note to come here if I ever found myself in the area and in need of... anything.
The Pass was everything I hoped for. Largely treed-in views, but the road was in good shape and I was more interested in security than excitement, being fully loaded and solo. I passed three other trucks going the opposite direction -- a truck camper, a Toyota 4x4, and an unoccupied logging company pickup -- and saw a couple of whitetail deer.
By Kimberley, I was starving, and refueled at the slow but delicious Burrito Grill. From here, it was 2-lane pavement with lots of commercial traffic up the valley on 93 through Invermere and Radium to Castle Junction, then down to Banff. It was wet from Canal Flats onward -- finally time, I suppose, as I'd been lucky dodging rainclouds almost every day travelling south -- but I arrived to loving arms awaiting a hug and to help lug luggage.
Day total: 410 km, 7h45m
Trip total: 4530 km
Start: Kaslo, BC. End: Banff, AB.
Soundtrack: RHCP's "I Like Dirt" on repeat