25 February 2011

Hiking to the Trapper’s Cabin

P1010542 (960x1280) We had heard reports about a strenuous hike to a cabin with views back down across the entire inlet. The elevation gain was somewhere around 500m so we knew it would be at least a bit aerobic and that the trail was “strenuous” and “not maintained”. Depending on the guidebook we always wonder what exactly “strenuous” and “not maintained” mean.

In Waggoners for example, the couple describing the hike claims to be out of shape and so we weren’t exactly certain how hard it was. Similarly, not maintained can mean anything from no trail and scrambling, to not a logging road, depending on the burly factor of the person describing it. Still, we could see the snow line and we knew that the trail would be at least partially under snow at this time of year.

It started out easy. Clear wide trail, easy to follow, slippery because of wet, near freezing conditions but not a big deal.

P1010548 (1280x960) Within 15 minutes the trail was obscured by several large tree falls, and I mean not that a tree or two fell, but that in several sections, large trees had come down, crushing other smaller trees and there would be a 10-20 meter section of the trail that we had to crawl over a pile of trees, branches and debris to pass or hike around. Again, not a huge deal, but we needed to be careful to keep our bearings to recover the trail because at this point the trail was the size of an animal path and marked with ribbons.

P1010544 (960x1280) There was one roped portion of the trail on what was, for us, slush coated rock and at about the half way point of the trail we started to encounter snow. After a few hours of hiking we were post-holing through snow up to our knees and we decided to set a cut-off time of 15 min more of hiking before we turned around.

Luckily for us, about 10 minutes after we said that we reached the trappers cabin (not that exciting) and the falls (pretty but because it was winter they were very small – apparently huge in the summer) and the view back down the inlet (absolutely stunning – the stuff of fairytales).

My videographer skills include catching Carol with a mouth full of trail mix.



P1010558 (960x1280) Overall, the hike was one we would do again (once we recover).The trail was through beautiful forest, around small streams, and the summit was a fantastic top-off. It was exhausting for us, somewhat because of the elevation but mostly because the trail conditions were so wet and snowy that we were slower and more careful than normal. We were hiking in a remote location in cold temperatures so caution was important. We both slipped and fell at least once and I ended up with quite a shiner on my hip from falling on a tree root.
There were many hands-on sections of the hike and a few that were actual scrambling. Except for the roped section there were no portions of the hike with sheer drop offs…at least that we could see with the snow. There were tons of ribbons marking the path and if we hadn’t seen a ribbon in a minute or two we would know we weren’t on the path. 

I would expect the hike to be much more straight forward if dry and if there weren’t any snow. Any readers done the hike in the summer?

5 comments:

  1. Nothing better than the feeling of getting to the end of a hike and enjoying beautiful scenery! Although I have to admit we've barely seen snow much less hiked in it! Glad your falls didn't cause serious injury. Looks beautiful!

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  2. The snow certainly added a beautiful touch to the view down the inlet. I'm guessing that not many people have seen it that way.

    bob

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  3. Livia , 25 years ago we hiked up in summer and made it far enough to glissade on the snow field and look down into the Elaho/Ashlu Valleys.

    Tricky getting across the waterfall area.
    Steve

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  4. Sounds like a wonderful hike. Reminds me of some winter hiking we did down here in the Oregon coast range a few seasons ago. The blowdown was a major obstacle (there had been several major wind storms that year) and we did quite a bit of postholing but I just love the peace and serenity of hiking in winter. Thanks for the post, I love following your travels.

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  5. @Mid-life - We keep telling ourselves "think of these frozen feet when we are further South and sweating like pigs".
    @Bob - It felt like our own place...except for the bright ribbons marking the path!
    @Steve - Burly, burly.
    @Rowan - I'm glad you do!

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