Bikepacking is so hot right now in our neck of the woods. The South Chilcotins of BC offer a superb backcountry experience with alpine trails, beautiful rivers and lakes, and lots of bears! We expected it would be a relatively low-key way to get in long weekend of riding and explore a new zone. A handy bikepacking website detailed an 80 mile, 3-day route, with 9,500 feet of climbing. Perfecto – now to pack our bikes!
Putting in 8-12 hour a day on a bike even at a casual pace is going to make you hungry at the end of the day. I am more accustomed to road bike touring, where you can usually stop at the road-side mini-mart or local bakery for a quick calorie fix. However, at our bikepacking destination, there would be no such conveniences. Thus, dehydrated nutritious meals are the way to go.
We brought with us Heather’s Choice dinners – Smoked Salmon Chowder and the Dark Chocolate Chili, Spiced Packaroons, and two Blueberry Cinnamon Breakfasts. The amount of fuel (calories, protein (30-40g), nutrients, etc.) in each of the dehydrated meals was pretty incredible and perfect for bikepacking where you want to go as light as possible. I was also blown away that the first ingredient on both of the dinners was meat (cold smoked Salomon in the chowder and Bison in the Chili).
Biking in the South Chilcotins in the early season (late June) included A LOT of creek crossings. Some were small and a fun challenge to get across without putting your feet down. Others required more thought and teamwork.
It’s notoriously hard to eat while mountain biking, especially with a loaded bike on technical trails and even if you are pushing your bike (which we definitely were). Even though I was trying to stuff snacks into my mouth every time we took breaks, I ended each day hungry and in a calorie deficient. Being able to get in a protein-packed Heather’s Choice meal in the evenings made me feel great the next day.
The riding was going well for us in the South Chilcotins, but a little slower than hoped due to the technical trails. And then, the 20% chance of rain turned into a full-on deluge on the afternoon of our second day. We were luckily out of the alpine at this point, and found shelter in small cabin along the trail. We were pretty soaked from the creek crossings and now rain coming from the sky and in the bushes.
We stayed in the shelter for the night and dried ourselves out preparing for the final day. The Blueberry Cinnamon Breakfast was a delicious way to power up for what turned out to be a surprisingly long and challenging day. In the end, the creeks became too high because of the rain for us to cross safely and we had to take a bail out trail to get back to our cars. It took us 8 hours to go 8 miles on the bailout trail because of all the blow downs. We all ended up eating everything we brought with us on the trip. I’m really glad we were able to fuel at the beginning and end of the day with really high quality backcountry meals from Heather’s Choice.