Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I live in an amazing part of the world! In less than an hour, we can be in the midst of some of the most spectacular mountains in the world. A couple of weeks ago we did a hike called "Ribbon Falls", which was classified as easy, but was 18.5 kms. long, with an elevation gain of 375 meters. The great part of this hike was that for the first 3.5 to 4 kms. we could ride our bikes! That was fantastic as far as I was concerned - at least part of the trail would be using a different set of muscles from those which are normally tired at the end of a hiking day.

When we reached the starting point for our hike, it was a very cool 10*. But I went prepared, so I donned my toque and gloves, and away we went, panniers filled, and backpacks on our backs. The hike starts out on an old logging road, which sounds nice and flat. The thing that was not clear in the hiking book is that the logging road looks  deceptively easy, but it is a constant UPWARD road, which explains why I felt like it was work. Yup - I finally realized that when I am walking, I am not pushing a heavy bike with my poor legs...the toque and gloves came off pretty quickly!

As we drove on the logging road, we were alongside Ribbon Creek for a time. It is so beautiful with rocks that are burnt and raw sienna in color, against the blue and white of the water. Such a different type of rock!

At about the 4 km mark, there is a bike rack where we locked up the bikes. We covered the seats as the forecast was for rain, and there were lots of clouds about. But those clouds kept blowing over without releasing any rain on us, for which we were grateful!
Once we left the bikes, we were quickly surrounded by the towering peaks of Mount Kidd and Ribbon Peak in Dipper Canyon. Many smaller falls and pools of water were part of the hike before reaching our destination...Ribbon Falls. Once we were close to the falls, we left our gear in bear-proof lockers which were at the campground that is just a few hundred feet from the falls. There were several people who had tents up and were storing food in these lockers.  This is serious bear country!

Climbing the last few feet to the falls, we could hear the roar of the water - and suddenly, there they were. The wall that the water comes down is a different color from the slate-like rock on either side of the falls. The spray was wonderful and refreshing after working up an odorous sweat! I made sure that I had Syd in one of the photos so you could the actual size of the falls. 

We enjoyed lunch at the campground picnic site, but with bushes that had lots of berries right next to the table we were eating at, I couldn't help but be a bit nervous about when bears might come to eat those berries. It didn't help that I had packed salmon sandwiches for this hike!

We soon were on the way back down the path. I was so glad to see our bikes, knowing that the ride of the last 4 kms. was going to feel sooooo good! And once we were on the bikes, I realized why the way up had seemed like work! There was only once or twice that I needed to pedal - it was all downhill!

Because we were riding beside Ribbon Creek a lot of the time, our bikes didn't make much noise over the sounds of the water. We gave a red squirrel a heart attack as we just about ran over it when it darted across the path in front of us. And then this baby grouse or ptarmigan (not sure which) absolutely froze at the side of the path when we came upon it. They are so perfectly camouflaged that I didn't even see it at first, until Syd pointed to where the bird was. The only thing it could do is a little call to its mommy to save it. She was hiding in the grass with about 6 other little grouse. After taking photos with a telephoto (so as not to frighten the poor thing any more than it was), we got on our bikes and slowly rode past. The baby dove into the grass, and along with its brothers and sisters, scuttled under an overhanging root from a tree which was protected with grass and bushes. What a gift to see this elusive bird!

In the guide book, the author suggests sitting on a bench which is situated so that you can watch the falls, "which is worth every metre of the slog in". I agree - it was well worth the effort to bike and hike the almost 19 kms. and to sit on that bench and marvel at the beauty of water, rock, trees and sky. 

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