Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fort a la Corne hiking trip July 25 - 27 2009

Another short hiking trip that we went on this summer was in the Fort a la Corne provincial forest. It's the same forest that De beers has been searching for diamonds in. Zoe's friend Shaun, Zoe and I set out following a trail that started at the edge of a clearing at the side of the road. It was a very hot day and as it turned out, the hottest weekend of July.

Shaun and I starting the fire.

I had been to this spot only once before more than a year ago in May. (it was the same day that I had encountered a pack of wolves in the forest. Click here to read my blog entry "close encounters of the K9 kind.) The trail was much as I remembered it, winding in and out of mixed forests. At one point we came to a large pond and the only way across was to traverse a large beaver dam. The dam was, for the most part in good shape, it was overgrown with vegetation which included wild mint and stinging nettle, which, I of course grabbed onto when I lost my balance. Along the way I managed to get us lost three times, well not really lost, we just took wrong turns. There is a whole network of trails in the forest that are mainly used by hunters in the fall. In my deference it had been more than a year since I had been in the area and when I had been there last it was May and there weren't any leaves on the trees. It always amazes me how different the forest looks with and without leaves on the trees. After a few wrong turns we finally emerged out of the forest at the top of a series of very high cliffs that line the north shore of the North Saskatchewan river. From where we stood atop the cliffs to the water below was a near vertical drop of 115 meters.

Zoe looking out from the top of the cliffs.

We carefully made our way down to the waters edge only to find that the forest along the river was much to dense to penetrate and we were left wanting for more desirable campsite options. After a full day of hiking and descending cliffs we were disappointed with the lack of suitable camping spots and spirits were starting to drop.

Google Earth image of the route as recorded by Zoe's running watch.

As luck would have it, I happened to follow a game trail from the waters edge to the edge of the trees and upon closer inspection I found a small series of steps in the river back large enough for two maybe three tents. It was the only level ground with enough space for tents and we decided right there and then that this would be where we stayed.

Lentil chili and Jalapeno & Cheddar bannock.

We spent the next few days going for walks along the river bank, relaxing in the cool shade of the trees and every now and then cooling off in the river. Even though the camping spot wasn't ideal we made the most of it and enjoyed a weekend in the woods.

Zoe and Shaun in the back ground climbing the 115 meter cliff.

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