Saturday, November 08, 2008

Grande Cache Hiking

We have a few days without flying in Grande Cache and get a chance to go hiking in the hills. It's clearly bear country and this is the time of year when bears are eating everything they can fit in their mouths in preparation for hibernation, so we go all together in a noisy group, under the theory that the bears can't eat us all. Or maybe we've each sized up the others and chosen someone we're certain we can outrun.

I think this is quite a big tourist destination at the right time of the year. The Canadian Death Race, an extreme endurance event is held here, and there must be visitors to that wilderness park I mentioned. There are cairns at the top of some of the hills with a little passport stamping machine, so you can get proof that you have been to the summit. We didn't go on any of those hikes, though, so I can't show you any passport stamps.

Our first hiking destination was signed as Twin Falls. It was a pretty short hike along a trail that skirted the edge of a deep rock trench with a very little river in it. I'm guessing that river got a lot bigger during spring runoff. The trail kept disappearing but we chased it down and eventually made it to the end. I'm not sure why it was called Twin Falls, though. One theory was that it was named by someone who had had a lot of beer. Another was that when the volume of water was greater it divided. And there's the possibility that the two falls were in series, not in parallel, and that the first drop was too far up the rocks for us to see it from the (today empty) caldera at the base.

Our desire for hiking not yet slaked, we took another trail, this one more up than along. It was pretty steep and at times I was using my hands on rocks and tree roots to keep going up. It wasn't entirely clear where the trail was going to take us, and I think it's possible that it was going to lead all the way to a ridge that might have even been one of those knife-edge mountain ridges that I raved about as I few over them. We reached a point that was so steep that there were ropes hanging down. but I climbed up using just the rocks, not willing to trust the unknown ropes and attachment points. We stopped and turned back not long after that. We could have gone on, but we'd already split our party into those who wanted to go up the steeper part of the hill and those who waited below, and if we went on much longer we'd have difficulty returning in daylight. The days are getting pretty short in Grande Cache.

Winter is definitely approaching.


Anonymous said...

Looks like fabulous mountain scenery.
Ye Google mappe Grande Cache

Those inaccessible razor-back ridges will be even more so with snow. And on the bright side, maybe even prettier from the air.

I'm surprised it hasn't started snowing already up north. Maybe this is a time shifted essay?

Aviatrix said...

Yeah, I'm running about a month behind right now.

o said...

Because Twin falls is a cooler name than "a fall"?