Last weekend we were feeling a little adventurous and with the absence of our two daughters (off to a family reunion and wedding on the other side of the country) we packed up the mountain touring/commuting rigs and headed for the Castle Mountain range.

The Castle Mountains are a short distance east of White Sulphur Springs and can be quickly accessible from town. We drove the bikes, four panniers, our labrador Hayduke and our son Emmett up a nearby forest service road and started riding.

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The landscape in this range is an excellent example of the rapidly changing environments of the northern rockies, from dense woods, sage meadows, marshlands and alpine meadows. There was plenty of water and due to the rather steep climbs our 10 year old pooch was able to easily keep pace with us.

Emmett gets a ride thanks to our slightly modified Bobike Maxi seat

Emmett gets a ride thanks to our slightly modified Bobike Maxi seat as Hayduke scouts ahead

The attraction we are having with the overnight ride is the simplicity and short time it takes to prepare for such a ride. We were able to cobble a few meals and some snacks together the previous afternoon and we didn’t need much more equipment than our daily commuting rigs. Although we are missing the girls this week we know they’re having fun swimming with their uncle and grandparents and our loads are considerably lighter. Another perk is with the reduced loads multiple beers were a no-brainer.

Dehydrated food and beer were some of our 'carefree' treats

Dehydrated food and beer were some of our ‘carefree’ treats

We did find that Erica's setup with the rear panniers and seat made her bike squirrely on the steepest pitches. We may load her front fork down the road or remove bags altogether and let Dad pack the non-living goods

We did find that Erica’s setup with the rear panniers and seat made her bike squirrely on the steepest pitches. We may load her front fork down the road or remove bags altogether and let Dad pack the non-living goods

We had fun referencing old service roads and features with our Gazetteer as we navigated southeast through the range.

A little treat at the end of the forest service road near an abandoned town called Lennep is the ghost town, Castle Town.

A 'Sporting House' in the background according to the signs

A ‘Sporting House’ in the background according to the signs

Castle Town is privately owned and access is prohibited but the views were neat from the road

Castle Town is privately owned and access is prohibited but the views were neat from the road

There were many abandoned homesteads

There were many abandoned homesteads

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Castle Town was a victim of a Silver Mining bust over a hundred years ago

Castle Town was a victim of a Silver Mining bust over a hundred years ago

I recommend this form of travel for a one or two child family. It would have been much more difficult with a trailer or most biking accessories that would accommodate more children… but then again with enough heart, anything is possible and anything is enjoyable.

I could also see a few willing adults riding an area like this with grade school kids where they could mix some camping and exercise with a little local history. Bike-schooling at its best.

There is no time like the present- get out there and ride this weekend! You will be glad you did.

 

Written by Mark and Erica