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Stage 548 – Buckinghorse River to Sikanni Chief River

This is another difficult stage, but one in which the majority of the hard work is done by halfway, as opposed to the previous few stages where the climbing was reserved for the second half. The stage runs south, parallel with the edge of the Rockies but around seven miles east of the nearest ridge. There are two significant lumps, one higher and longer than the other, and even though the stage looks like a climber, it’s not: descending outdoes climbing by around sixty feet.

The rollout is flat for a mile before the road kicks uphill where the Alaska Highway passes by the source of the Minaker River: the climb is initially steep before it morphs into a lumpy slog. What feels (and probably looks like it on the road) the first summit at four miles is not: nor the next one a mile later. There’s even the tease of short descent to six miles but then the sharpest part of the climb ignites: it’s relatively short and when it peaks at almost three thousand seven hundred feet, the highest elevation of the stage is indeed in the bag. The highway then descends gently for a mile before a small bump takes the road back up to within feet of the elevation of the previous summit.

Off the top, there’s a nice two mile descent to the Buckinghorse River which Route 97 crosses at ten miles adjacent to Buckinghorse River Wayside Provincial Park. After the crossing, the road climbs for two miles to a left hand bend that leads into two miles of lumpy flat stuff after which the Alaska Highway bends right again while descending to a long left hander that runs from sixteen miles.

After the bend finishes at eighteen miles, there’s a short up/dump bump but then it’s gently downhill all the way to the line on a straight road that finishes at the lowest elevation of the stage. As it said at the top of the show, the stage may look like a climber but it’s actually a descender: just.

Distance: 20 miles / 32 kilometres

Distance: 20 miles / 32 kilometres

Ascent: 981 feet / 299 metres

RGT Magic Road: O4MeL2qdSW8G

Total distance: 19.95 mi
Max elevation: 3682 ft
Min elevation: 3185 ft
Total climbing: 903 ft
Total descent: -957 ft

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