Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Nothing like a christmas day bike ride at -26C to clear the head.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We now return from station identification

Yes, it's been quite some time since the last post, but with good reason.
Work caused a bit of panic back in the fall, but that got sorted out.
But the biggest reason was being in New Zealand for 2 months.  So there.
Since the last post, there was some of this:

More looking for Sheep

And a lot of this:
Yet more alpine wandering (and wondering...)

A dash of this:
Looking for Moose in the skinny stuff.

A smidgeon of that:
The snow looking out of place.

Waaaaay too much of this nonsense:

The snow came early and put a serious damper on our Moose hunt.

Managed to get out and enjoy the alpine colours:
Somewhere near Whitehorse.

More near-to-Whitehorse.

Comeing back from Echo Tarn.


Chillin in NZ. 

I'll be posting heaps more shots and stories from NZ shortly.
Merry christmas.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sheep Hiking

Some call it Sheep hunting, but in reality its more like Sheep hiking, as there is very little hunting invoved (usually), but lots of hiking.
We, being myself and good friend Jim, flew in to a remote lake west of Whitehorse in my buddies C-180.
After nearly losing my lunch in the back seat, we landed safe and sound and bid adieu to Grant.
The plan was to hunt for 6 days, and get picked up by Grant, hopefully with a Sheep, but if not, just stomping around in the mountains is enough.  Doubly so, as I had never been in this neck of the woods before, and was looking forward to exploring it.
Unfortunately, the weather was not ideal for Sheep hunting, as it was quite hot, and the terrain round the lake was very tough; lots of thick Dwarf Birch and boulder fields.
Dwarf Birch lake

We  hiked up a side valley the first day and spent a few hours glassing the various cirques and ridges looking for the elusive Dall rams, finally spotting some on a ridge about 10 Km distant.  Too far for any serious attempt that day.
Glassing for rams

The area is quite rugged, with lots of granite boulders hidden just below the Dwarf Birch, and clogging the creeks.
Boulders and more boulders 

The next day we split up and I went off west in search of the group we has spied the previous day.  I spent 9 hours or so cruising ridges and peering into isolated nooks and grannies, but didn't see anything.
Great Sheep country

But no Sheep

Arrived back in camp after a long day with lots of vertical.  Went for a swim and enjoyed a cold beer on a sunny beach.  We called in a floatplane the next morning, as it was getting too hot to contemplate getting a Sheep and have any hope of keeping the meat cold, and the Sheep were obviously smarter than we were.
A fun trip none the less. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mt Patterson

Great weather beckoned, so we packed up the boat and headed down to Tutshi lake with friends Donna from Comox, and Tracy for some hiking and exploring.
Saturday was rainy, so we hiked the old trail from Tutshi to Tagish lake, exploring old sawmill remains along the way.
Poured rain Staurday night, but Sunday was bluebird, so we headed up the "Buns of Steel" couloir and so up the ridge to Patterson.
Mt Patterson is the largest peak you can see on your left across Windy Arm as you are driving to Skagway.

Looking up Tutshi towards the Skagway road.

The area has a healthy Goat population.

Alpine strolling at its best.
Watching a Grizzly on the valley floor.

Looking towards the summit.
Looking suave on the summit
Looking along the ridge towards Tutshi

Tutshi below us,
Looking down the "Buns of Steel" couloir.
A welcome swim removed the sweat and grime.  We luxuriated in camp enjoying the weather, and some beer before packing up and heading back to Whitehorse.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grey Ridge Traverse

LOTS of photos!
In keeping with hikes that are NOT described in the local guidebook , this is a trip my old diehard bushwacking buddy Malcolm and I made this past weekend.
Grey ridge is the prominent ridge on your right as you drive from Whitehorse to Carcross.  I suppose there are many ways you could go about it, but this seems to work well.
Start at Annie lake and ascend as you would if you were going up to "The Cave".  Then keep going through the notch to the East side, and make your way along sheep trails (mostly good, sometimes very good) and benches, through notches, and up drainages until you are overlooking Bennet lake and Carcross, then descend as best you can to the South of Wabona creek and make for the obvious microwave tower, then follow the cut line down to the Watson river, wade Watson river, thence to ice cream in Carcross. 
2 solid days, with solid bushwacking to get down to the microwave.


The route with Carcross bottom right

Theres some of this

View towards Lewes lake, Mt Lorne on left

Niiiiiice sheep trails

Yet more niiiiiiice sheep trails

Sheep hair

Lots of climbing up to notches, then descending

Lots of sheep means lots of trails.  We were very glad to find as many of the trails as we did, otherwise it would have been a lot harder going.

Looking towards our campsite notch with Montana mountain in the background

Descending to Surprise valley

Getting checked out by the local toughs

Whitehorse waaaaay in the background.  Heading up towards out last pass and camp

Montana mountain and Nares lake behind us

Morning light at 6000' overlooking Carcross

Looking thrilled with the shrubbery in Wabona creek valley

A sight to gladden a mooses heart, and fill ours with despair

Some sort of cool swamp weed

This felt DAMN good I tell ya!  You can see the microwave and the cutline in the left background.  Camp was at the right most snow patch you can see.

A very worthwhile alpine hike near town if you don't mind a bit of bush.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kusawa Day Hike

Made a quick scamper up a mountain I've always wanted to check out.  Its up Kusawa lake near where the Primrose dumps in.  Saw about 30 Sheep.

Water droplets on moss

I don't think I have ever taken a picture of Kona without her tongue swinging in the breeze.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Canada Day Long Weekend

Actually, it was a Canada day long, long weekend.
Taking advantage of a 5 day long weekend, we (myself, Michelle, Grant and Chris) piled in the boat and headed up Kusawa lake to do some hiking and exploring.
Thursday morning was windy and generally snotty, and it was a long, slow boat ride up the 60 Km long lake.  We arrived at the Takhini river, and spent the night there.  The next morning we headed up the Takhini in an attempt to reach Johns lake.  The going was initially very good on an old horse trail through Pine benchland, then we reached this:
This slowed things down considerably.
Once we got out of it, sort of, we realized that there was no way we were going to reach Johns lake that day, so we camped along the upper Takhini and settled down to enjoy the surroundings.

A plant.  I think.....

Fireweed. That ones easy.

The next day we located the horse trail on the other side of the burn and flew back down to the lake.  The southern Yukon is crisscrossed with old horsetrails, and it would be incredible to clean them all up, map them, and get them in some sort of condition that the general hiking populace could enjoy them.

In general, the trails are this good.