Claire Porter
Great Divide
Banff, AB - Fernie, BC I am standing at the airport, pacing around the baggage claim and feeling anxious since I can't find Ben anywhere or my bike. Ben is a friend from college who accepted my invite to fly to Banff and start out the Great Divide with me. Neither Ben nor I have much experience mountain biking, and I am curious to see how our together will pan out. Finally, I see Ben. "Sorry, I fell asleep back at my gate", he apologizes. I am relieved to see him, and when my boxed bike is finally spat out from the "oversized luggage" gate we grab it and board the shuttle from.

Calgary Airport to Banff, where the Great Divide trail begins.

The first order of business upon reaching Banff is building our bikes. Ben shipped his bike from California, and I flew with mine from Chicago. It ended up being cheaper to fly with it than to ship it, especially if you fly Air Canada as opposed to other airlines that charge a hefty "handling fee" that is often 3 digits. In Ben's case, he paid more in shipping than he did for his bicycle, which he grabbed off Craigslist just prior to this trip. I am a little nervous for his bike. It is a blue hardtail, and the Diamondback logo looks like it belongs on a skateboard or a middle school boy's t­shirt. I am nervous, and rightfully so, as we find out in the next few days of pounding along the trail. We assemble our bikes in the back lot of Soul Cycle and Ski, a very friendly and helpful shop.

After assembling our bikes, the sun is threatening to leave us in the dark but we have no idea where we are sleeping. Several people have already advised us against sleeping in town, so we decide to hit the trail, knowing that we will need to return the next morning to pick up groceries and some last minute must-haves like extra tubes, stove fuel, and liquids to put in my special thermos. We hit the trail as the sun is setting, snap a pic at the trailhead, and within minutes are amazed at how the bustling tourist kingdom we left in Banff gives way to pine trees and gurgling creeks. We are on the trail, and this is Day 1 of the Great Divide.


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Claire Porter

Gear List

- My Blackburn Gear -

- Sleeping Gear -

- Eating Gear -

- Riding Gear -

- Clothes -

- FUN -

- Clean -


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Claire Porter

- Great Divide Milestones -