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!
At the end of it all the trail pops out at the Klondike Highway. We generally leave a vehicle here so as to avoid the 17km return trip on the road by mountain bike. “Here” is actually the site of Conrad City – the town that was to become the capital of the Yukon…. had the mining thing actually worked out.