Coastal mountain adventures

Adrienne McMechan knows the Houston trails like the back of her hand—and with open fields, hillclimbs and fresh trails for miles, it’s always an adventure

by Jessica Kirby

person sledding
Adrienne McMechan, a self-proclaimed meadow-chaser, is shown here doing what she does best. Photo courtesy Adrienne McMechan

Picture coastal mountains, glacier-fed lakes and open meadows that stretch farther than the eye can see. Sound awesome? That’s what Adrienne McMechan enjoys most about heading out on her favourite trails around Houston, B.C.—plenty of snow and the open air.

“In my area we ride straight west into the coastal mountains to a fishing cabin on glacier-fed Troitsa Lake,” she said.

A friend of McMechan's, Hugh Wright, owns fishing cabins 120 kilometres west of Houston. McMechan and friends often head out after work to the lodge and wake the next day for a full day of riding.

"We go down the lake five kilometres and hit the trail at Coot Bay to go up the mountain,” McMechan said. “We head up a ridge and there are endless meadows. All around there is nothing but mountains and it’s beautiful. You can ride all day and never hit the same ground twice.”

It was out this way that McMechan took an unforgettable ride with her boyfriend, Doug Dickson; Wright and Wright’s co-worker Mike Plugbore went with them on the trip.

A ride to remember

They met friends for trail and loop riding; one person's sled got a hole in the coolant line and overheated, and someone else “blew up” their machine.

“Every trip I’ve been on up there, at least one sled has blown up,” said McMechan. “That was Day 1. We woke the next day and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so we headed out to see if we could pull the machines down any more, but it was just an excuse to hit the meadows.”

The group rode through endless fields exploring the terrain and lakeside.

“We looked for the old trapper’s cabin on the other end of the lake and we had to crawl down to get at it (because) there was so much snow,” said McMechan. “I was threatening to jump over it, but there were too many trees.”

The ride was not without its fair share of excitement. McMechan ended up burying her Arctic Cat 600 in a creek bed after she had nailed a few jumps and went to take one more—only to go around the corner and see open water in one direction and a wall of snow in the other.

“I tried to throw the sled away and I nosedived straight into the wall,” she said. “I bailed because I knew it would have hurt if I went in. I was buried right up to my handlebars.”

Ten minutes later Dickson did the same thing.

“I don’t know how, but he got bucked off and went straight into the creek and came back all covered in swampy water,” said McMechan.

Wrapping things up

The group rode another five kilometres down the lake and spent two hours on a break chatting and looking up at Piano Mountain. As it started to get dark, they broke camp and headed back—just before they reached Houston they got a call on the radio asking if McMechan was with them.

“I’d overshot the time I said I would be back by two hours and my parents were freaking out,” she said. “I got into town just as my mom was getting into the truck to go and look for me.”

McMechan has been riding since she was a kid and sees no end in sight—and she’s in the right country for it.

“(In Houston) you can go up a mountain and meadow chase, hillclimb or trail ride, and you can do all of those things on any mountain,” she said. “The people here are awesome to ride with too. I can go out with a friend and we can hook up with a group and have 10 people riding with us by the time we are done.”

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