First days on the Divide

Having been through some phenomenal country in Alaska, I thought I had been through the best my trip would have to offer. However two days into cycling down the Great Dividing Range (aka Continental Divide in the US), I am blown away by some of the country I am passing through. As some of you will know, the Continental Divide is the boundary that defines Pacific rain water run off to the west and Atlantic rain water run off to the East; it runs down some of the highest mountain ranges in North America. The route I’m following runs parallel and criss crosses the Divide at various mountain passes. Aside from seeing fantastic scenery mountain biking, wild camping and wildlife, this route also appeals because of the virtually non-existent traffic.  Not bad for a 4417 km route that traverses one of the largest countries in the world.

The terrain has already been extremely varied including some excellent single track, 4 wheel drive tracks and some slightly tedious dusty gravelly roads (wheels slipping and sliding and zero traction); it’s been very steep in some parts and I’ve found myself gasping for air at 190 beats per minute even though I’m probably the fittest I’ve ever been.

Video: Day 2, morning. Rocky trail.

Already it feels pretty remote and I do admit to feeling a little nervy at times since I rarely seem to see anyone. It’s amazing what one can imagine at night lying alone in the tent with all these strange noises.  In fact, I’m writing this in my tent right now, ears pricked up to the slighest sound that’s out of the ordinary; hang on…what was that? A squirrel or a bear?

I’m 120 km from Banff and already crossed the Divide for the first time on this route (at Elk’s Pass). I had planned to stop at a ‘first come first served cabin’ 7 km back but the shot gun bullets holes and the large bolt on the outside of the door put me off; it’s almost certainly fine but I’ve seen too many horror movies. The camp spot I found has empty shells lying around; there’s a bench and table in poor condition. I could see some strange holes in it; it looks like someone had mindlessly taken an axe to it…

I have no reception so will be posting it later but here are some of the photos of today:


First few kms from Banff


Exceptional gravelly road surfaces


Spot the couple canoeing


Empty 4 wheel drive section, no unauthorised motor vehicles allowed


Not bad for a first night camp spot


Changing to the fat tyres to accommodate the rocky terrain


Another gratuitous mountain reflection shot


Breakfast,2nd night camp spot

5 thoughts on “First days on the Divide

  1. Looks like you’ve made extremely good progress. Prudhoe Bay to beyond Banff is a huge distance, a quick look at the map of North America confirms. Over half way to Mexico. Stunning photos, keep posting, it’s much appreciated over here. No niggling injuries from the extremely repetitive motion?

    • Hi tom, no injuries amazingly. building up gradually seem to work. Just crossed the border back into the US at Roosville having had 3 days in the back country. Grizzly evidence everywhere but made it safely through. N

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