Further map studying showed me there was, what looked like, a road that ran north-south, west of the Forestry Trunk Road in the Livingstone PLUZ and after some more car-based exploring I was convinced it was there.
The last piece of the puzzle was some more car-based exploring of the Skyline Road in the Porcupine Hills PLUZ this past Spring. BOOM! A loop was possible.
So here is the ride report. My buddy Connor agreed to ride it with me and we set off on a Friday night after work so we could start early the next day.
Scroll past the video for photos and more info on the trip -
|Maybe an hour into the ride we spotted this "Burmis Tree" up on a small cliff and decided to walk up and have a snack and a smoke beside it, enjoying it's presence and contemplating what it has seen in it's obviously very long life. Magical.|
|Alberta is so lovely.|
|The end in sight (not really but it is there in the distance). What an amazing loop. Go get it.|
- Resupply or lack thereof. There are no resupply opportunities anywhere along the route, save for potable water at the Chain Lakes Campground and the seasonal concession there that does not have groceries. You mush bring water filtration/tabs and all your food on this route.
- The Flying E Road is actually a connected series of range and township roads that is linked together into a continuous east-west road. If you are using the GPX track just be aware that these range and township roads will constantly appear. Have no fear, follow it along until you reach the Riley Road.
- Most of the campgrounds along the route are drop-in only meaning you can't prebook a site. There is wild camping on the HWY532 with no services and they are not very nice for camping in. However, these PRA sites do have outhouses and overnight parking is totally fine.
- A significant section of the Lost Creek Road is "maintained" by Spray Lake Sawmills so be aware it could be closed if they have operations going on in the area - though that does seem unlikely these days.
- The Forestry Trunk Road can be very busy, very dusty, and has bad sightlines in spots so maintain vigilance when on it.
- The parking area at Pine Coulee Reservoir is where we'd recommend you park - unless you can get someone to drop you off/pick you up. You can see the spot on the RideWithGPS link below.
- We both rode dropbar gravel bikes: Connor on a Surly Straggler and myself on a Breezer Doppler and we thought they were perfect. Both of our bikes have 40T+ large cogs on the back - and we spent a lot of time on them.
3 Days or 4 Days?
- 3 Day Fast Ride: Pine Coulee Start -> Indian Graves -> Oldman River North -> Pine Coulee Finish
- 4 Day Chill and Fish Ride: Pine Coulee Start -> Chain Lakes -> Cataract Creek -> Dutch Creek -> Bandit Camp on Skyline Road -> Pine Coulee Finish
- Big Agnes ULHV1 Tent and ground sheet
- Thermarest NeoAir Pad/Thermarest Quilt/Sheet Combo 0 degree rated, MEC foam pillow
- MSR Pocket and medium fuel canister
- MSR Titanium cooking pot, GSI mug, titanium spork
- Happy Yak meals and lots of snacks
- Capacity for 2.5L of water onboard - would recommend 4L minimum
- Bike tools and flat repair gear
- Wahoo GPS, Samsung S9 phone (all the pictures above)
- 2018 Breezer Doppler Team with Panaracer Gravelkings 47mm
- Clothing: rain jacket, merino LS top and bottoms, UV50 long sleeve shirt, 3 pairs of socks and undies, one pair of Swrve jean shorts