Monday, July 29, 2013
Day 42 - Oh Bushwhacking day!
We finally decided to walk to the nearest southbound Bear Creek waypoint, which involved a scramble over 3 minor humps, and following a game trail for a section. We were actually walking in hoof prints on scree, on a trail no more than 6" wide. We both had to lean in to the side of the mountain to prevent tumbling over. And I kept telling myself it was a leap of faith--surely if this narrow ledge of rock shards can hold a trotting elk, it can hold little ole me. We made it back to the trail, moderately traumatized but safe.
The next section was somehow even worse. We were climbing up on open ridges with no visible trail. From some of the markers, we could see the next marker, or a cairn of rocks, but at a few perplexing points, we could see markers in all 4 cardinal directions. We relied heavily on the GPS to get us through. And on our shortbread rations to maintain good cheer.
So, one of the most beautiful days we've had out here, all these open ridge walks, in velveteen hills. But oh so ambiguously signed. After all of the walking, climbing, wandering, we were heinously behind schedule and only managed 21mi, with great effort. Hoping we'll recover and have a more direct trip tomorrow.
On the plus side, we had some great wildlife sightings. On an adjacent peak, we saw a heard of antelope thundering away from us. And we saw two moose at two different places. One female, and one male with a magnificent rack. Both stared at us with studied interest for a few moments, then knobby kneed, trotted off. Both were so shaggy and ungainly, but somehow balletic in the speed in which they exited right. What a fascinating and unlikely creature.
Mileage: ~21mi from Morrison Lake to Nicholia Creek