Monday, June 20, 2016

Lost in the Woods!

We headed to Sheep River Provincial Park to hike/scramble Mount. Burns last weekend. This still is considered Kananaskis Country but the approach is from the Town of Turner Valley and of course from there you would have to take 546 to west. The only reason I picked that trip was first that it is considered a long hike and a moderate scramble and then it was planned to be started early compare to the other scheduled trips.
Our group reached the trail-head at 09:00 and we started the trip almost 10 minutes after that. This was a really fucked up group. All walking like fucking grandmas and stopping every now and then for a fucking break.
Their first problem which was almost the most important one was getting in to the forest and destroying the shrubs and other plants, as the fucking idiots call it bushwhacking(!) instead of taking a trial. I could adopt myself to that. The good thing was we got out of the forest in a open ridge-like area after I guess almost 1 hour. We basically hiked on long ridges and went over two false summits after that which was not bad but these wimps were all behind me with at least half an hour distance! I eventually reached a scrambling area which looked a little problematic from distance first but that was not very bad when I got closer. I still needed caution and full attention there. I put my helmet on and saw the guys below shouting my name and asking me to wait. So I sat on a rock and told them that I was waiting for them there. There, although they had GPS and the track, became a little difficult for us to figure how to continue particularly because we had passed two summits or false summits and we were on the third one, but not on the top and must have continued to the last. One of the guys went up to see if there was any sign to show where the trail was going. Two others including the team lead, went to another corner to check that. This silly moron came down after almost 10 minutes and said that he was not sure whether the trial was heading that way but an old man, said his old GPS was showing the trail going that way.
I saw these two Deer in deep dense forest when I was going down the first descend. Didn't think it was worth taking the telephoto lens out as I have taken several Deer shots. If that had been the Moose we saw in the morning, it would have been a different story. Would have taken a photo for sure
We all headed up one after another and it appeared that it was the way. That was where the team lead decided to divert us all. A storm was on the way and he though we would have been in danger, if we had continued to the summit (main picture), particularly by lightning but I think if those silly, lazy, wimps had not wasted so much time on the way and also if they have had guts(!), we would have been able to get ourselves to the summit and come back safely in one piece, all of us hopefully. Although I realized a piece of shit had difficulty even there! That's why I hate large group with beginners getting mixed in!
I started heading back down and one silly, wimp was somehow walking down parallel to me and when I went down and reached him, he sat and started eating a fucking sandwich! So I said to me: Fuck it! and headed down. The guys seemed to be either stuck or whatever because I didn't see them for a long time, maybe 20 minutes or so. I finally reached where the forests starts, or if you are going up, it ends. I wanted to wait for them there and even waited for 10 to 15 minutes but there was no sign of them. I then started going down from between the trees and through the forest thinking that I would be fine reaching the trail and parking lot but I was wrong! I wen down for awhile, I don't even remember how long it took and I guess I even hit the trail and that was when I thought I should go further down to reach the parking lot but that was a mistake! I kept going without seeing any sign of the main trail or the parking lot and suddenly I heard the river, or the creek because in every map that I have looked at, there's no sign of what was there!
I filled up my little 500 ml bottle after drinking two of it as I had not drunk water for the past 3 hours, maybe and told me just following the stream would definitely get me to the campground that we parked beside it. Again a mistake. I just realized after maybe 10 minutes that I was going to the wrong direction! The cliffs all around the stream where steep, covered with moss and therefore very hard to climb on or walk down. For a minute I freaked out and I thought I'd never get out of there! I tried the fucking phone but there was no signal! I actually tried 911 a few times but the call didn't go through! I thought I should get help before it gets dark! At this point I decided to go up the clips and hills to first, see if I can get a signal and 2nd maybe I can find the trail. The first attempt failed. I couldn't get a signal but the climb had an advantage: I found that instead of getting close to the campground, I was getting away from it! I looked up and saw the third summit of Mount. Burns and that was apparently a different angle! I realized that despite the fact that I can see the mountain, it seemed that I had gotten around it, meaning that I was going the wrong direction! At that point I could go all the way up to reach the top and continue but that seemed very challenging because the bend of the creek that I had passed, had taken me to a very tall cliff which going up it, would require energy that I did not have at that time! Beside it seemed it would have been much easier just to follow the creek to the opposite direction (east) and find a spot that going up the cliff is easier and that is what I did by using my phone's compass. So when I entered the forested area, I learnt, that instead of going east, I went west and that was why I got away from the campground.
The cliffs around the creek have nice and interesting shapes such as this one. This was taken when I had found my way to east but still was at least an hour away from the campground I found. 
I started walking beside the creek, the same direction as water's and checking both sides for humans and sign of any trail. I even shouted as load as I could a few times! No response but what I once got from a bird! At one point at the left side of a creek (north) I saw a sign of trail but nothing more. I kept going until I saw footsteps and that was one I realized I was getting somewhere. Finally at one point I thought I had seen a trail going up the hill to the same side we headed to the mountain in the morning. I followed that but it faded after a few meters! I felt recharged after drinking enough water and walking beside the creek so I put one Date in my month, the first thing I had in 9 hours(!), and headed further up. I finally able to see the trail after a few minutes. I followed the trail to east until I reached a sign! I had accomplished a big part, it seemed. I had gotten myself out of the dense forest! I took the trail further east until I reached a three-way. Instead of going straight, I took the left turn where I saw a group of people around a small fire and a few tents. It was almost 19:00 I guess at the time. I explained to them that I had gotten separated from my group and was looking for the main road. They first offered me food and drink and even a place to spend the night but I needed to go. So the only think I got from them was direction. The direction they game took me to a different campground different from we had parked in the morning which meant that I had taken a different approach to the main road, 546. Now although not many days have passed I don't clearly remember whether where I landed, was closer to the the city or further!
There there was another challenge: How the hell am I going to get home?! I saw tow trucks parked beside the road and checking my compass I realized they were parked at the same direction that I would have to take to go back to the city. After a few steps I saw people emerging from the sides of the road and a few of them, young fellas where walking on the guards of a bridge! I approached and started telling them my story to them, young Caucasian guys in their early 20's all. They seemed suspicious at first but then we all hopped in their pick up truck and headed east. It appeared that I was lucky. They were from Okotoks and were going there at the moment! They were nice enough to go all to the back and give me the front seat! I guess it took us about an hour to reach Okotoks and there they gave me a taxi telephone number and took it to Somerset Station.
I had parked in Fish Creek. So got there and headed north on my car after that. I guess it was almost 21:20 or so when I finally got home! What a day!
The trip to Mount. Burns is a very recommended one. Sheep River Provincial Park is a very beautiful place especially in June. I saw a male Moose walking in between the trees in the morning when we were going to the trail-head but I we didn't stop for that. I also saw a couple of Deer in the forest and a few more on our drive back to Okotoks. The hike/scramble itself is a very good exercise but if you're not comfortable around rocks and near cliffs and also if you're not experienced and equipped enough, forget about it. We had a stupid piece of crap in the group who had put gaiters on!! Who the fuck needs gaiters when there's no snow! Another nut-job put a pair of mitts that usually put on when it's -10 C or below! That was probably my last time with those silly wimps. Whether I go to that  mountain or not? I don't think so. Maybe! I don't know! There were two things that I regretted in this trip: First not being able to reach the summit of course. Second not taking photo of the tiny beautiful flowers grown beside the trail to the main road after I met with the campers. However I think those flowers might be the same as the ones I saw in The Quarry almost 4 years ago! At the end of the day I realized the guys had contacted the local RCMP because a Constable contacted my family and when he realized that I was fine, they probably closed the file. 
(Photo, top: This is as far as we went. From this point it looks like it would have been at least another hour or so to reach the summit)

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