INTO THE WILD
WORDS Tyler Maine
Road trips start with an idea, and at times it’s not your own, but one that is planted by someone else. This journey into the wild was nourished by our buddy Mike Dutton at Spank Industries, likely a result of surfing the web and wanting to live vicariously through his screen and our world, a world that is far from his desk. How could Mike experience an adventure without being there? He told us that he thought it was something that we should do, and we took the bait. Mike, here’s your trip!
No initial planning ever goes as you want, but this trip came together fairly easily with some help from Phil and Riley at Retallack
. Us coastal boys had a ton of questions and concerns about their back country set up - primarily we wanted to know if they had the internet! You may laugh, but we are so attached to the virtual world that we need to be sure that our fix is only a wire away. Secondly we were pumped on anything that they had planned for our introductory visit, so a simple "this is what you will need" list was necessary for our packing purposes. To Mike this meant beef jerky, Bud Light Lime and a change of clothes, while Ian and I made sure that we got the rest sorted between us.
We rallied together in Vernon and hit the road to the Kootenays, all pretty pumped to get away for a few days and shred new trails with new and old friends. Upon arrival it was evident that our hosts were keen to ride, and we were chomping at the pedals as well, so we headed straight to the hills for a pre-dinner lap of Choices on Idaho Peak.
Choices was as high as we could get on Idaho Peak due to the heavy snow pack this year, and we arrived at the trail head just as the last of the day's sun peeked through the trees. The Idaho Peak fire tower looked rather lonely in the distance as we readied ourselves for the ride. Once on the trail 180 degrees of laughter and fun was found several times. Ian wanted us to get real close for this last shot, and we just wanted to keep hitting it until the sun was gone. Choices combines old mining trails with new Freeride lines through the woods, and makes for one hell of a good time.
|Hey Mike, I think we're a long ways from the Fraser Valley!|
Part of the Retallack experience is their close relationship with other tour operations in the area that can be worked into your individual trip needs. For ourselves, we wanted a day in Nelson in order to see some of our good friends and to experience some of their favorite trails. Phil and Riley lined up a day with Pat at Dirt Tours
for us, and Mike Kinrade and Derek Chambers joined in on the trail mayhem as our guest guides. Waking up at the Lodge we grabbed a quick breaky and then pinned it to Nelson to meet up with our friends, Mike Kinrade, Derek Chambers and Pat Williams (Dirt Tours). They showed us a new line that seemed like it needed a bunch more work to really become ridable before taking us down a beauty of a trail, Sitcum.
Kinrade got a little loose in a few spots, showing us how it's supposed to be done while Derek Chambers (Pinkbike Alumni) got it a little wrong! Sitcum - yes it's steep here!
Pat Williams took the helm of the Dirt Tours van with a full load of dirt bags eager for the next lap. If you have a group looking to do some riding in the Nelson area contact Pat at www.dirttours.com
After Sitcum, it was time to head across the valley to the recently refurbished trail - Placenta. After a group discussion, sometimes us guys are worse than girls out shoe shopping, "Oh man that corner..." we got started on Placenta. Ya we like bikes and so do our best friends.
Our last trail for the day was Skier's Right. This trail was a fav of mine as it has a lot of variables that you could use for creativity in how you wanted to ride it. After I lead Phil Pinfold (Retallack Lodge) up and over some beautiful rock features Mike Kinrade chose to air it instead. As I said lots of creative options...
Our just reward for a day well ridden, dinner at Fusion Bistro with friends. Don't asked questions, just put it in your mouth...
Our last full day would be one filled with DH shuttles in the Slocan Valley and a mixture of All Mountain riding. Leah from Footsteps Eco Adventures (Retallack Summer Partner) would be our driver for the day, while Riley, Chris and Lorraine were our guides. The Slocan Valley is riddled with mining trails from the boom years and Retallack is putting some of the best trails on the maps of their guests to enjoy for years to come.
Mountain air freshness (I think that may even be a scent that Bounce sells dryer sheets in) was all that was needed to air out our kit's from the previous day's riding adventures and it was time to suit up again for a day in the Slocan Valley.
Today was going to be a sample day of what clients can expect when booking with Retallack for a three day trip and we were pumped to get our day started. First up was breakfast in the sun on the deck at Retallack and then we loaded up the bikes for a day of shuttles.
Some of Retallack's riding terrain can be found just south of the lodge in the Slocan Valley where the sun and flowers were both out to greet us. First up we hit Old Stock which has been around since the dawn of the freeride movement. It offers some really high quality trail for your riding enjoyment, cruising and flowing were hand in hand here. While most of us opted to ride our big bikes today, Mike was adamant about getting rad on his Remedy. His mouth says it all, literally. This facial expression is one that makes us all laugh, no matter what he tries...
Loading and unloading after a full day of shuttles in the Slocan Valley. And yes Leah is likely stronger then both Mike and I together. We retired back to our rooms for showers and cleaned up for dinner. The lodge has all the amenities you could want in a vacation space - games room, yoga area, massage room, hot tub, huge fireplace with the comfiest sofas surrounding it, and if you really need to know what the outside world is up to, they also have internet so you can check Pinkbike and Facebook.
Wow get this, we get up to a good breakfast, ride all day, come back and clean up and dinner is served! Yves Robitaille is Retallack Lodge's in house Chef and he makes one hell of a good meal. You'd think that food is a serious deal for Mike and I, but I tell ya it was so good that I was just keeping him at bay while I enjoyed my plate.
Our trip to Retallack
lodge was just what the trail doctor ordered - DH and All Mountain riding set in the beautiful landscape known as the Kootenays. Riley McIntosh is the head trail builder and kept busy all season, opening up two new trails that end right at the lodge. Expect great things in 2012 from the Retallack operation as they blaze forward with an industry leading back country mountain bike service. Learn more in their brochure below.Retallack Mountain Biking Brochure v4