Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hiking to Grey Owl's cabin, June 26 - 28

Sunset over Kingsmere Lake

One word that could sum up our experience in P.A. National Park would be "Wind". It was windy the whole time we were there. Other than the wind it was a great weekend concidering that the day after we left Saskatoon the forecast was calling for 60% chance of thunder storms, we really lucked out. It was sunny and fairly warm the whole weekend. After registering at the information office we set out from the parking lot at the kingsmere river at mid morning. When we were in the woods the wind couldn't touch us and we enjoyed a peaceful walk along the tail. Zoe hasn't done a lot of back country camping and was pretty nervous about bears. She especially didn't like it when I would point out all the bear signs that we came across along the trail. We had gotten in the habbit of hanging the bear spray from the back of her pack so that it was within easy reach for me if we happened across a bear. I also carried bear bangers in my pocket.

Kingsmere River

We made it to the Sandy Beach campground where we had planned to stay the night. When we got there we were the only ones there and we could pick the best of the camps sites. We weren't there more than an hour and we had a fox walk right threw our site. And that wouldn't be the only time that we would see him. On another occasion he came threw camp with a feathery mouth full.

The route to Grey Owl's cabin as recorded by Zoe's running watch, the laps are where we stopped to rest.

On the second day we left our camp set up and set out for a day hike to the cabin. Again it was a warm but windy day and when we got to the north end campsite we found it was empty. We decided to sit a while and rest. Again we weren't there more than a half hour and another fox trotted by with in 20 feet of me.

Kingsmere Lake and storms clouds to the south

By the time we got to the cabin it had started to sprinkle just a bit but not enough to get wet. A couple of weeks before we had planned to be up there a forest fire had been burning only about 4 km from the cabin and the hoses and sprinklers were still set on top of the cabins to keep them from burning. After eating lunch and resting in the cabin to get away from the bugs we headed back. Along the trail just down from the cabin we came across a black bear busily eating along side the trail. We were down wind of him and he had no idea we were there. After taking a few pictures I fired off a bear banger. He took off into the woods but with in a couple of minutes he came back to the trail. This time I made sure that he saw me by stepping closer, raising my arms and shouting. Again I fired a bear banger and this time he left the trail and didn't come back. I was very proud of Zoe for keeping her cool and not panicking. We were pretty close to the bear when we rounded the corning and saw him there. I'm glad that her first experience with a bear was a positive one, though she remains nervous of them.

Our bear on the way back from the cabin

As usual the food is second to none, even when we're hiking. Items on our menu for this trip included green chicken curry, lentil chili and corn bread, coconut cream hotchocolate and lemon grass and coconut cake.

Zoe preparing green chicken curry for supper

A summer of Hiking

Well it's been quite a while since I last made an entry. Late in May, while biking home from work I had and accident and went over my handle bars. The result was a broken wrist, a scaphoid fracture to be exact among a bunch of other injuries. So my summer was set, I was to spend the following 2.5 months in a cast and now I have to wear a brace when every I do anything. Under strict instructions from the specialist there was to be no canoeing for me this summer so I had to look for other ways to satisfy my cravings for the outdoors. My girlfriend Zoe and I decided to focus on hiking.

Our first hiking trip was planned for the last weekend in May and as it worked out that was the Friday that I broke my wrist. We were set to head out of town on Saturday for an overnighter in the nesbit forest. I thought my wrist was just badly sprained, it was swollen and hurt REALLY bad but I could still move it and so we headed off for couple of days away from the city. The weekend was warm but windy, so windy that it prevented us from having a camp fire. With my wrist wrapped up in a tensor bandage and with the use of pain killers and instant ice packs I was able to control the pain to a certain degree. The thing that stands out in my memory is all the pollen that was in the air. It clung to every surface and when a tree or shrub was knocked it came floating down like it was snow. It covered everything. It was certainly not a place for someone with allergies.

Zoe's in her new down sleeping bag

Sunset over the hills.

We weren't alone in the forest.