Today I was made an honorary member of the Kootenay Mountain Foresters Club – a select bunch of people who do strange things in the woods that no one else has any interest in.
It started like this: Rick and Ben and I set off in Rick’s truck up a snowy, unplowed FSR. I should explain at this point that Rick and Ben are both foresters. It was at around the second or third switchback that Rick’s truck skidded unceremoniously to a halt. This was okay by me because I had already been fearing for my life.
It was at this point that Rick thought about putting chains on – or as he explained it – go as far as you can without them and then when you’re on a horrible, steep, awkward slope, do your best to put the damn things on.
And so for the next 30 minutes, while I paced patiently (!) up and down the road, they fiddled with chains, rigging up missing bits and pieces and doing other unfathomable things.
We finally got out of there on a 6-point turn, descended a touch and got our gear on. Was it ominous that Rick packed a saw and a huge pair of clippers?
We set off up a steep mountain-bike trail which became quite a lovely path – until it emerged on a road. That was the end of that.
We hiked up the road – and up and up until we got to a really steep slope. Should I mention that we were breaking trail pretty much the whole way?
At any rate, we went up the very (can’t stress the “very” too much) steep slope and then up some more until finally Ben said he was hungry and was going to eat right here and right now. I said I wanted to wait until we got to the top of something and Rick said, let’s head up through the trees – we should come out on another road that would lead to the lookout.
We hoofed our way up. Ben would catch up.
The trees were nice – the forest was pretty. There was considerable blowdown – we navigated around it, over it and through it. At 12.45, we stopped. We knew there was no chance we would get to the actual fire lookout, but how about the other road as a destination? Sure. Either the road or a 1 p.m. turnaround. Rick consulted his GPS. Where’s the road? He stared at the screen. I looked to my right. Is that it? I asked.
Yep – that was it.
We had lunch. It snowed. We skidded back down. We had a brief view. We kept going back down.
I can’t speak for the boys – but I’ll tell you, I was so done. Exhausted. That was some tough trail breaking. And to reach the top would have likely taken another 1.5 hours.
We called it a good day. I suspect the best part was getting back into the truck. And the best news? It took less than 5 minutes to get the chains off. Yay!
Rick decided that this would not be suitable for a KMC hike.