Sat, Apr 1 2017 - Mount Dyson and Wolf Creek Explorer Hike + Potluck (View Original Event Details)|
We had an incredible day hiking 20km in beautiful spring weather. A long day, and now feeling pleasantly depleted.
The Sheep River was still frozen quite solid, so it was another easy crossing by just walking across. This week we hit the trail right away, which got us to the first meadows very quickly. We crossed some tussocks, hiked along a cutline, and eventually encountered snow on the trail. To dodge the snow, we hiked up the frozen Fox Creek. After over 10km we emerged at meadows overlooking a gorge, took a bunch of photos at the hitching’ post, and had a feast of a potluck. As it was April Fool’s, we didn’t have fish sticks, but we had salmon, homemade cake, cheese, crackers, fruit, and tarts. It was at this lunch spot that we decided to add on Mount Dyson.
Mount Dyson seems to be a little elusive. A few years ago we thought we saw it. Last week we missed it. This week we passed it, and realized that the elevation gain really isn’t great from where we already were. In an effort to again die that snowy trail, we decided to bushwhack up, down, and up some more until we reached the summit. Even once we were at the high point, it took us a few minutes to find the cairn as it was all treed. More obligatory photos at the cairn, and we then descended down the north side. There we found remnants of a lean-to, another beautiful rock outcrop for a little snack break, and eventually hit the trail for our return.
The return was pretty quick, but the frozen ground had melted, which made it a fair bit muddier. Once back at the meadows we took a peek inside a canvas tent (looks like a party spot) before grabbing our stashed water crossing footwear (which we didn’t need) and making our way back across the Sheep. We were out on the trail for over 9 hours.
Interestingly enough, it’s also the weekend of the Barkley Marathons. It’s supposed to be one of the most challenging ultras there is, and since its inception some 30 years ago, only 14 people have finished it. The racers get 60 hours for cut-off, and currently (some 40 hours in), only two are left. One of them is Canada’s Gary Robbins, who held the West Coast Trail speed record at 10 hours, 8 minutes (yes, for the entire trail), until that was crushed a couple of years ago (the fastest known time there is now 9 minutes, 32 seconds). In any case, the terrain of the Barkley is quite similar to what we encountered today - hills, brush, trees, some trails, some bushwhacking and way finding. Except that these guys are doing an extra 140km+ from what we did.
Check it out:
- Barkley Marathons Wikipedia page noting some of the quirks of this race: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barkley_Marathons
- The Man Behind the Most Grueling Footrace on Earth (video): https://youtu.be/X0CaKd2G7e4
- Barkley Marathons Trailer: https://youtu.be/UQmoxlUy33A
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