Bernie's Report - June 20, 2003
Give My Regards to Broadwood!
This is a report of last weekend's hike (Sunday, June 15). This report and most of the photos are thanks to Aussie Anita. Weather permitting, we will try to get out at least one report per week on a Fernie area hike, bike or mountain adventure.
Our group met at Mike and Nancy's on the ski hill, and it was the most people we have had so far. Georgio and Suzie, Tony, Diane and Bandit (hiking dog in training), myself, Aussie Dave, Calgary Dave & Ellen, Steve and Kas ( mountain husky extrordinaire) Bernie and Linda, Neva, Wayne. We headed down the highway to the Morrisey Rd , then onto the River Road, then Lodgepole Rd, then onto Ram Creek Rd. The order could be wrong as geographically I'm not marvellous. This area we are heading for has been closed and they opened the gate today It is a conservation area and is only open for a month or so. As we bounced along these lovely roads we came to a fork . After some pondering by our leader we went left, and some ways up the road we stopped as leader Mike didnt know if we were on the right road. Which instilled great confidence in the novice hikers - namely myself. As Mt Broadfoot/ Broadmoor/ Broadwood is not a marked trail and we're already lost on the road, I just knew that Mike's description of the hike as "easy bushwacking" was very dubious. Where's Wayne, he knows the road, so after some deliberation all the vehicles do a U turn and we're off again. We had the pleasure of seeing a big black Mumma bear, with 3 tiny cubs. As the cars approached she hunted them up trees and stood guard at the base. What an amazing place this is. We drive along side the beautiful WigWam River and park the cars and look up at our destination.
Where are we actually going? Mike replies "up". Yeah, but up where? Just "up". OK All the experienced hikers except Steve, have either ski poles, or proper hiking sticks with little springs that absorb some of the impact - sort of like a thin pogo stick. Fascinating stuff. I wonder if I need to add them to my growing list of needed equipment, and off we go. The early part of the hike is quite easy, steepish, but short grass and we head off vaguely towards a row of pine trees. There are two ridges we can go up and our fearless leader cant quite remember which one he went up last time. Suzie's important input was that the only thing she could remember about this hike from last year was that she said she wouldnt do it again. Why do people tell you that after you've been climbing for half an hour? We all made our own way up to the pine trees, and Georgio could be heard from way off in the distance asking "Where are we going" . We all caught up to him and he's still asking " what is our destination" , which set off a string of "hey where are we actually going" from all over the place. We gathered at the row of pine trees and all stared at Mike. Which point are we headed for ?. There is a saddle between two mountain points you can see from the bottom so that seemed like a good place to aim for, and Mike just kept saying , dont get into the gulley between the two ridges, it's really ugly. So "up" seemed to be the main objective at this point. We slogged on, on a sort of a path, that maybe a lost mountain goat had sporadically used - towards " the Pinnacle" a pointy rock, that became the half way mark. We had no idea half way to what, but half way sounds as though there's a finish point.
Well that was the easy part. What Mike failed to even mention, was this stuff called Scree. It became obvious once we started to scramble over it, why he never mentioned it. Its huge rocks and little rocks and gravelly rocks and boulders and avalanche paths and horrendously steep and if you or it slip, its Sionara, Adios, Ariverdece, Solong, See ya later, etc etc. And as there's not a bush in sight, bushwacking it aint. Now I start to see a reason for the stick. Negotiating scree. A second more important use is foremost in my mind by now - to hit Mike with it. As we all look in dismay at this long steep section of scree, Bernie starts yelling he's found a path. Yeah right. No self respecting animal would walk up this . No one else can see a path through this stuff, but even an imaginery path is better than nothing at this stage. We suggest professional help for Bernie if we survive. There was some very difficult steep gravel to cross, but we all made it, and then it was into a forested gully area, which although still steep was shady and very pleasant to hike in. We still dont really have a destination, as the saddle doesnt seem to be getting any closer and the terrain up the top is sheer rock face. Someone says they think we approached it from the wrong side, which is so excellent to hear. Georgio is still asking what the destination is. We decide after 4 hours of "up" to find a lunch spot. Finding somewhere flat that a bunch of people could sit on was a challenge in itself, but we kept on going up until we found an area, that if you balanced precariously on what passed as flat rocks, you could manage to sit in a fashion. And of course the views are exceptional. To the immediate left of our lunch spot was a vertical drop of 300 feet and to the right was an avalanche path of gravel, so you sat very carefully. We decided that any more "up" would not achieve much, so we perched on our respective rocks and pondered the varied terrain we had all covered. As usual it was with a sense of satisfaction that we surveyed the mountains all around us and the wonderful scenery that you can only see from high up. The downhill had some interesting moments. I managed to steal one of Suzie's sticks, and it was a great help coming down. We managed to slide and slip down the small stone scree sections, Bandit did his best to knock you over, as he is still in training and hasnt learnt hiking etiquette yet. The stick also came in handy to whack him as he rocketted past you. There is this running thing you can do to get down the mountain quicker. Steve has it mastered and I am learning how its done. I managed to get down in one piece and fairly quickly, however I couldnt walk for two days afterwards. You must use different muscles when you run down, rather than walk. Yet again, we wouldnt have missed it for anything. And Mumma bear and her cubs, just to give us another treat, were waiting for us by the side of the road as we returned home. What a neat place the Elk Valley is.
Bernie - firstname.lastname@example.org