Today, three of us headed off to Dennis Basin. We were prepared (or so we thought) to explore/create a ridge circuit. Funny how topography sometimes looks different once you are up close and personal with it rather than looking at it from up above.
At first blush last fall it had looked simple.
Well, the entire first bit was easy. We hiked up – me freezing to death because July 21 and a north wind was blowing and the thermometer registered barely above 10.
But up we went. de-layering and layering back up once at the saddle where the wind blew even colder – or so it seemed.
Up and up, following the ridge – with truly gorgeous, clear views. And Eagle-Eye Nicky (her new name) spotted a female Grizzly and three cubs. Really! They were across from us heading up the ridge that leads to the summit cairn – a hike we’ve done previously.
It was pretty exciting to watch them. And, as we hiked farther, it was also pretty easy to see that we were in prime grizzly habitat. The digs were fairly huge.
On we went and then we began our bushwhack down to the basin where we thought we might work our way up to the other ridge.
Yeah – it was steep and bushwhacky. It didn’t take all that long to realize that this wasn’t quite as we had imagined it. When we got down into the upper bowl, we reassessed. Came to the conclusion that there is no circuit. We would have to freelance back up to our ridge and if we wanted the far ridge, we’d have to reach it from the original saddle.
All good info. This is what exploration is about sometimes: you discover the wrong ways until you find the right one.
So we heaved ourselves back up the slope, taking advantage of Grizzly trails and digs. We had lunch sitting up high with a glorious view – and Eagle-Eye spotted another grizzly – perhaps a male.
Pretty cool stuff.
Heading back down we ran into two guys coming up the trail on dirt bikes! Yeah! Unbelievable! Thank god they were stopped by a huge blowdown. Already they had torn up the trail and done damage. We could just imagine them doing donuts in the fragile alpine. We told them there were grizzlies and even worse blowdown up ahead.
We (me) were pretty steamed coming back down. As if machines didn’t have enough places in the world to go – as if machines didn’t already rule most of it. Do they really have to go to places like this?
I am still pretty pissed.
The good news is that they came back down and didn’t make it up to the ridge or the meadows. And why? No – not the blowdown – they were afraid of the bears!