Photo Story: A 9-Day Backcountry Chilcotin 'Hogyssey' with Kenny Smith

Jun 21, 2019
by Cycles Devinci  

4 guys, 4 bikes, 9 days, 225 km
The ultimate Canadian mountain bike adventure

Chapter One: Waving Good-Bye

Chasing the Hog. But what’s the Hog? Well this is the question. The Hog is the quest of getting somewhere… or a form of suffering. It’s not the destination. Nan. It’s the Hog.

We would fly from Tyax 200 km northeast to Tatlayoko Lake and find our way back from there. The plane was loaded and our intentions were made clear to the pilot. It was evident in his response that he thought our plan was intense… It’s hard to explain the feeling of being dropped off in the middle of nowhere.

Chapter Two: Bracewells Place

The first thousand feet of climbing me that no matter how hard I trained, the climb would always be hard… I would do it over and over again for 9 days. But first, Bracewell’s ranch, with 96 years old Gerry Bracewell, BC’s first licensed female hunting guide. Our trip of a lifetime was her way of life and we appreciated her stories and humour greatly. It was like a right of passage, to be given kind words and well wishes from someone that had lived in the area, we set out to explore. She wisely guided us to one of our first destination – the log cabin her son had built himself.

Chapter Three: Nemaiah Valley

Heading to Taseko lake via Mount Tatlow or “Tsy’ los”, and Nemaiah Valley. The views and easy riding allowed us some time to enjoy ourselves. It’s no wonder the Xeni Gwet'in people have presided over this territory for thousands of years. The courtyard of the valley protected by the sheer faces of mountain walls. A perfect spot to live with the land. Mount Tatlow or “Tsy’ los” to the first nations of the area, lording over us, like a watchtower at a castle.

The unknowns we studied from space – thanks to Google Earth - would become the realities of our adventure. The feeling of only having your personal boundaries to hold you back. No emails, phone calls, alarm clocks, or deadlines.

Chapter Four: The Raft

We camped by the lake the previous night, tired but pumped for the river crossing. The next day was the “Taseko rest day” and all we had to do was build a raft, swim across the river and find our food – and beer - stash.

Once across, sitting on the beach on our first sunny day was surreal.

Chapter Five: A Chilcotins Tour

The next day was spent riding for 30 seconds, sometimes less, and then lifting, pulling, carrying or dragging our bikes across blowdown. 6 hours later and after countless blowdown crossings, we sat defeated only halfway our goal. Without the alpine wind, the black flies, horse flies, noseeums, mosquitos and whatever other creatures, circled around us… The next few days were much of the same. We climbed and descended mountains, crossed glaciers, creeks and ridges. The views never subsided and maybe even got better.

What a trip! The team performed, our equipment held up and we had made it. Kenny was right. That was “The Hog”.

You missed the whole story? Here it is again, such a crazy adventure.

Keep up with Devinci on social media and at the official website:
Facebook @cyclesdevinci
Instagram @cyclesdevinci
Instagram @margusriga
Instagram @kennysmith9

MENTIONS: @devinci


  • 7 0
 Great stuff guys! You must be a rugged bunch. The amount of unexpected adversity one can run into on a trip like this is high. The bikes themselves are often the weakest link in the formula, knowing at any point a major mechanical could have you walking out at any time. But its the sense of adventure (so rare these days) that comes along with all that is what really makes it what it is. Thanks for sharing this. I'm envious. While I've got people to ride with who are very competent on a bike, getting them to go out on a limb, for a real adventure, rarely happens.
  • 3 0
 Yup! My rear, lower link pivot bolt broke on our first day on a 4 day tour through the Chilcotins.. I managed to macgyver it together to ride it through the trip, but it made things.. More complicated lol. Still one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I can't wait to return.
  • 1 4
 Why do you say having a sense of adventure is rare these days? Ever watch Red Bull TV?
  • 7 0
 What a splendid adventure! You lucky bastids. Stunning country. Great photo journalism. Well done, lads.
  • 6 0
 Such an amazing adventure!! Nice work Margus on capturing that exploring spirit!
  • 10 0
 For the ultimate adventure you need the ultimate crew! We at Devinci couldn't have asked for a better team.
  • 2 0
 Amazing job Margus as always. That's a massive mission on it's own, let alone ride ahead for the shots while everyone else takes a break. You are a beast! Great trip boys!! I enjoyed the coverage.
  • 3 0
 "The first thousand feet of climbing me that no matter how hard I trained," what does this mean
  • 4 0
 There was a person called “the writer”. It was not one called “the editor”
  • 3 0
 My favourite kind of mountain biking. Good Stuff.
  • 3 0
 so good!
  • 2 0
 Would love to do something like this
  • 1 0
 I'm sure there were many moments of "Why am I doing this!" Only to finish the journey and be reminded.
  • 2 0
 So so awesome! Thanks for sharing
  • 2 0
 Epic photos. Looks amazing, but definitely had to be a beatdown.
  • 2 0
 What a trip! You guys are absolute bosses.
  • 2 0
 @cyclesdevinci: More of these adventures please. Super Rad.
  • 1 0
 Jesus lives! 9 days in country with Fraser that is a adventure in it self! Good dude to have on a trip like this!
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 Having a "hog" definitely means different things where I'm from ????
  • 1 0
 Great photos.

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