Friday, June 09, 2006

Next Stop...Heart Attack!

On Saturday June 3rd Travis Hall, Greg Fahl, and I, Matt King, set out to conquer Mt. La Gorce. This traverse is not for the faint of heart. We started our 3183 ft. assent at 9a.m. that was mostly bushwhacking through waist tall grass, bog swamps, and forest. After we reach 1000 ft. we had made it above the tree line, but were assaulted by the seemingly never ending patches of alder trees which are essentially a semi-impenetrable wall of tightly packed bushes. We were also a little worried that our hike would be for naught since at times you could only see 20 ft. through a haze on the mountain. After that what could be so bad...let me tell you about boulder fields. It turns out that Mt. La Gorce (pronounced La Gore* SSS snake sound) was previously assulted by a glacier leaving a massive boulder field along the top when the glacier receded. For those who do not know...boulder field=broken ankles. We were lucky, however since we did not anger the gods. What gods you ask...I'll tell you...the gods of travel. The mischievous little buggers that make it rain if you forget your rain gear, a bear show up when you say I think were making enough noise (alas I said that), ect., and the worst of the worst asking "what else can go wrong". Under NO Circumstances should that question be asked for the gods will take it as a personal challenge that results in unspeakable actions toward the soon to be unfortunate person. We happened upon one unfortunate creature that we believed uttered those fateful words...the results of which can be seen in the picture of the "unlucky rabbit's foot". I mentioned earlier that I had said that we didn't need to yell "hey bear" since I thought we were making enough noise...the result was a bear 10 ft away when we crested that hill. The brown fuzzy creature was curious and followed us for a ways before losing interest. After all that excitement we traversed several snow deposits and went to three separate peaks to be sure we had reach the right one. We reached the top around 2:30 p.m. when the sky opened up just in time for us to see the surrounding area. We strolled around the top and ate lunch. On the way down we found a fun way to move a little faster across the snow deposits...we slide down backwards. :) After the first time of doing this, I realized how preposterous it was to do such a thing. Instead I slid face first on the subsequent patches of snow. We took a lightly different route back to the boat that was infested with flies, mosquitoes, and other biting flies. Needless to say our progress down that part of the mountain was extremely fast. All in all I was pretty tired when we reached the bottom around 8:30p.m. On this trip we saw a golden eagle, a ptarmigan in winter plumage, many birds, 1 curious subadult brown bear, a snowshoe hare foot, and 3 separate species of mosquitoes. When we reached brooks camp finally at 9:05 p.m. we had to push the boat up river against the current to where the boats are stored. 20 minutes later after we had finished with this exhausting work (tough even without the 15 mile hike) we saw a lynx, but neither Greg, Travis, or I had the energy to take its picture as it ran away. We all finished everything we had to do since when we sat down we were unable to get up...I was described, by a fellow ranger, as an 87 year old man with knee and back problems. :)

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