By: Evan Wishloff
Part 2 of 4. Click here to read Part 1.
It was day 1 of my bikepacking adventure. I was over 160 km in, and was, for the first time, having to resupply water from a stream as opposed to a general store at a small town along the route.
I reckon almost any other year, I would have had to bust out the water filter earlier, but I was lucky (or unlucky?) enough to be riding through the Okanagan during an unseasonably wet and cool summer. Lucky because I didn’t have to deal with riding in 30 degree heat (although that would come on another day…). Unlucky because the rain was coming down in buckets.
Pictured above: just another sunny morning of paradise in the Okanagan.
The puddles along the route were turning into much more than just puddles. I don't know what the technical requirements are to designate something as a lake, but I'd like to propose that there are a few ready to be named.
Not even close to the deepest 'puddle' crossing I encountered
I crossed through more than a few thigh-deep lakes in the first half of the adventure. No sunscreen needed - I started to question my Okanagan friends on their claims of “beautiful, amazing, perfect-for-beach-lounging summers.”
Anyways, back to rehydrating. I pulled off to the side of the trail near the sound of a stream, pulled the palm-sized MSR filter out of my pack, and opened up my hydration bladder.
In my typical under-prepared fashion, I had yet to use the MSR TrailShot - although I had read through the directions, so I wasn’t flying totally blind. I took the elastic off the folded up intake hose, dipped it into the stream, did a few obligatory squeezes to get water flowing, then pointed the spout into my open hydration bladder, and started pumping.
As advertised, it was about as foolproof as you can get - the water was flowing out of the filter fast with each pump, and I was back on the trail in just a few minutes with plenty of water to get me to the next resupply point.
Amazing! I would have expected something so small and compact to be finicky, but even in my fatigued state, it was anything but. Watch it in action below.
Onward I rode, mentally ticking off each kilometre as I pedaled towards camp for the night, over 220 km in. Spending well over 12 hours in the saddle before tucking in for the night into a tent usually wouldn’t be something I’d be looking forward to, but I was lucky enough to have an ultralight set-up that I was genuinely excited to spend my nights in...
Stay tuned to find out why in the next post in this bikepacking series.