There is nothing better than spending the day on a bike, with awesome friends, in a spectacular setting. That's what I got up to this past Labour Day weekend.
Riding Mountain Hero is an all day effort. The ride begins in Carcross (a Gold Rush era town that takes it name from a mashup of Caribou Crossing) and immediately climbs up and up into the alpine. It's a strenuous climb but I take comfort in the beauty of my surroundings when I am up there. After nearly 2 hours of climbing, this is the view you are rewarded with.
And, after another 1/2 hour or 45 minutes, a completely different landscape greets you at the top of a long hill.
Calling a trail "Mountain Hero" may seem imperious, but the name comes from the Mountain Hero mine that was part of a 1905-06 silver boom. John Conrad, an American businessman, built a tramway here to carry ore from the mine sites down to a wharf terminal on Windy Arm 3500 feet below. It was quite the construction project given that, by the time the tramway was finished in 1906, the rush for silver was pretty much over.
While riding up and over Montana Mountain you not only get awesome view but you also get to see lots of physical evidence of the mining activity that took place over the years. These stone houses were built "for cook houses, offices and bunk houses" at the Montana property. To cyclists, they are the sign that the climbing is over and the downhill begins!
Photo thanks to Sierra.
Taken from Yukon Government's Carcross Region Heritage Report
I like to think that we ate chips and drank a cider at the end of our ride in the same place that, more than 100 years ago, men set up a tent city on Armour Avenue or Miller Street. Like the Chilkoot, much of the pleasure in this trail resides with the company you keep and the historic area through which you travel.