"The Rest of the Story" (Concluded)


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    Posted by Ballpark Frank (71.217.173.71) on February 27, 2007 at 12:45:55:

    In Reply to: "The Rest of the Story" (Part 4) posted by Ballpark Frank on February 27, 2007 at 12:15:59:

    By the time I started eating lunch, my partners were wrapping up their meal. They dutifully waited while I played catch-up. Their was sickness in the air. You know. The usual stuff. "I'm so excited." "Oh, I like this." "I want to come back and do more exploring."

    I got my revenge, eating lunch, while they slowly got cold waiting for me to finish. By the time we got ready to resume travel, we had been out 4 hours. The wind was still whipping, but the clouds had dissipated some. The sun was back. You know firsthand the power of the sun. You experienced it back in July. Remember how good it felt that one morning? Same thing last Saturday afternoon.

    You will appreciate this. Darla decides she wants to head down toward Blacktail Creek, to the area where the ski party had gone. This pretty much implies lots more off-trail travel. At least now, we are not in the timber, fallen or vertical. We work our way down a slope, dealing with intermittent pockets of deep loose snow. This is where mdmatt, his father, and I hiked on our return to the trailhead one glorious fall day several years ago. I found myself trying to remember what was beneath the snow. At one point, we found another little creek tributary. Spooky place, with large air pockets beneath 4 or 5 feet of loose fluffy snow. A person could get seriously stuck in that stuff. Darla found one of those giant doug firs and fell in love with it. Shortly thereafter, she noticed a landform across Blacktail Creek that bore a resemblance to an old road. Try this for a mental image. Have you ever "walked" a giant dog, the kind that just bolts into action, and drags you down the street? That's what it sometimes feels like when Roadie spots something that looks like an old road. Of course, she engaged in the societal nicety of saying "I'm going down by the creek to look for old bridge abutments. You don't have to follow me." Can you picture the president saying something like that, and the press and the Secret Service just letting him wander off unaccompanied? Yeah, right. The next thing I know, all 3 of us are heading toward the creek, each on our own course. Naturally, I found a pocket of very loose deep snow where willows were buried under spindrift. I had one snowshoe sink down vertically about 5 feet. It was real bizarre. It took some careful work to get out of that fix.

    Eventually, we reached the creek and worked our way downstream. We encountered a fine-looking bull bison, working hard to find food. He had those finely-polished onyx horns that you see on a small percentage of mature bulls. He was totally alone, but seemed to be getting along just fine.

    The shot above was taken as we approached the stable. There is snow literally "flowing" down that hill, blown by the steady, strong wind. It is only marginally visible in the photo.

    We reached the vehicles at the 6 hour mark.

    When we are engaging in the deadfall negotiation drama this coming summer, and I start whining about it, remind me of how much more fun it could be with 4 or 5 feet of loose snow on top of everything.

    Incidentally, you did real good with your hiking threads. Very motivational!

    Ballpark


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