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timv 08-28-2012 02:21 PM

Elfin Lakes Bike Ride (Big ride-Little Legs)

Sunday/Monday (Aug 26-27) I took Daniel (age 3) up to Elfin Lakes hut (Garibaldi Park, Diamond Head).
I would like to say I rode up, but really I pushed the bike with overnight gear most of the way up. I had biked up in 2008, but by myself, with minimal gear. With the little guy on the child seat, I just heaved non-stop past Red Heather and up to the high point on the ridge.
My upper body was screaming but we carried a conversation the entire time...well, it was mostly him talking nonstop, and me breathing out a ‘yeah!' between panting breaths. His run-bike was strapped to the front of my bike, straddling the 2 panniers.

I had to bite my tongue when he proclaimed from his perch that he needed some Gatorade because he was sweaty!

At the high point he got off the bike seat, and we started riding together, and he was a ball of energy.
Most people riding that trail are just people riding a bike. We were fire trucks, monster trucks, police cars, trains, rocket ships, sharks, and anything else the 3-year-old imagination can imagine.

By the time we were at the hut, the right-front pannier rack was sagging under the weight of the gear and the Strider bike. I was glad to have brought a decent selection of tools to perform the repairs. I might get a full front rack to replace the lo-rider.

In the hut that night, there was a group of ~7 (a 16-year-olds birthday), and a couple groups that were just escaping impending rain.
It rained a bit at night, but was partly sunny in the AM.

We ate breakfast, wandered around a bit, messed around with the bike tools and started down.

Daniel rode most of the way, and was motivated by watching the dust kicked up from our wheels, or “smoke” as he called it. He was getting tossed around pretty good, going downhill over fist-sized rocks. There is no cushioning from the impact since his wheels are not air filled (but are a solid lightweight polymer of some type—like really dense rigid foam.) I kept waiting for him to complain but he didn't. (This is the same kid who complains if you give him the wrong coloured sippy cup?) He was probably hopped up on sugar from the Gatorade that he was allowed to drink as a treat--when he produced evidence of sweat! I was amazed.

His little stops got more frequent, until finally, about half way between Red Heather and the parking lot, he was looking pretty wiped. He suggested that he sit on the bike seat for a bit. [^]

I braked all the way back to the car, with his bike again strapped to the front of my bike. (I need to find a better way to strap his bike, since with every bump his bike crashed into my knuckles. If anyone has an idea, let me know!)

In the car we drove for about 30 seconds before he passed out, and he didn't wake up until we got home.

-There was a framing crew erecting a new day-use shelter and some wooden tent platforms around the far end of the lakes.
-Sign in the hut said the ring creek bridge is not in place.
-There was no snow on the trail at all (parking lot to hut).
-There is a (new? 2011?) solar panel on the shelter with LED puck lights on twist-timers. 4 propane burners, 2 sinks, and a few big stockpots for boiling water. There is even a similar lighting setup in the 4-crapper outhouse building.
-Didn't see any bears (but we weren't exactly quiet)

I would not really recommend this as an enjoyable bike ride with a small kid and overnight gear, but it is what it is. We had fun, but did a lot of work (pushing uphill) for the amount of actual biking. The biking surface is not good for a bike without suspension, especially when falling is not an option (i.e. you have a kid on the bike seat)...but I was very careful and didn't fall, and we got to bike in the alpine, close to home, for free! The weather was great and we had a lot of fun!!

The Rig:
Purple 20-year old Norco Bush Pilot (women's).
Beto child seat
Axiom front rack (low rider) ß the weakest link
MEC Aqua-Not panniers
Strider run-bike
2001 Mazda Protege w trunk rack

KARVITK 08-28-2012 02:26 PM

Wow you did all that, pushing a bike up is hard work with loaded paniers, but also having a child. Now that's a huge workout.

I see you are truly a dedicated parent who wishes the best for the little one, my hat off to you as he sure seems like he had lots of fun.


Spunky 08-28-2012 03:01 PM

Daniel is the cutest thing on his bike up there, omg :). That put a smile on my face. I'm lovin all these 'kidlet' T/R's. Goes to show your hiking world doesn't really come to an abrupt end when you begin a family. It's just adjusted a bit [:p]

Koodos to you and to Daniel - way to go Kid!!

BCbear 08-28-2012 04:22 PM

Well done on memory making for both of you! That's what it is all about.

calixtomoon 08-28-2012 05:00 PM


Rented Mule 08-28-2012 05:32 PM

Him talking non-stop and you heaving yeah every once in awhile....too funny. Sounds like something anyone who has hiked with me would say....h'heee! I love to talk.:D
Now, I just need someone to haul me up a mtn. Oh, when you said overnight "gear" I thought you meant like a new gear on your bike. Like a granny gear hehe. So nice to spend time together. I cherish the times I get to spend with my son who is now grown up and moved out. You're a great dad.

no quitting 08-28-2012 06:27 PM

I agree,your a great dad!!!! :) :) :)

mntntime 08-28-2012 06:36 PM

Parenting hats off to you also. I won't go as far as saying your a great parent not knowing anything about it other than a happy trip report though ;)

burnabyhiker 08-28-2012 06:56 PM

Good on you. And him.
Thanks for the conditions update.

exscape 08-28-2012 06:58 PM

Sweet! It's alot of effort but looking at their faces up there - it's completely worth it.

As for any tips - I haven't even begun to problem solve biking trips yet. I'll be learning from you!!

solo75 08-28-2012 07:15 PM

Nice to spend some quality time with your son outdoors.

timv 08-29-2012 10:58 AM

Thanks for the kind words everyone!

I think when I have teenagers I will wish parenting was as easy/simple as physically hauling a kid uphill, lol.

thinairgirl 08-29-2012 01:17 PM

You have got me super motivated. Thanks for posting this TR. I thought my hiking/biking/adventure days were over now that I have a 3 month old, but I'm beginning to realize they have only just a new way!

Is three months old too little to go on a bike trip up to Elfin? (kidding!)

exscape 08-29-2012 07:57 PM

Ahem :)

There are places that are doable, just plan carefully.

No thread hijack intended.

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