Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Great Hike

It wasn’t raining this morning so the hike was on! After some indecision Colin decided to come on the hike as well. The Harding Ice Field is 500 square miles (1300 sq KM) with many glaciers coming off of it. The hike was 7.7 miles long (12.8 KM) with an estimated time of 6 to 8 hours. The hike had been described to Colin as a “good hike” by “Stan the Park Ranger”. We were very proud of Colin as he managed to do the entire hike — even if he complained a lot ... he did it! Colin is thinking about putting a contract out on Stan. Some spots of the trail were a bit rough as you needed to use all fours to scrambled up rocks (at least Colin and I did) and was up to a 30 percent grade at some other spots along the trail. The total ascent was 868 meters. We hiked through a section of forest then bush, followed by tundra and finally snow and stone. The views at the top made the effort worth while. It was incredible to look out and see snow (with a few mountains poking through) as far as you could see. Looking down on Exit Glacier was also amazing – I certainly don’t want to fall down one of the crevices! On the way to the top we saw several marmots, a herd of 17 sheep, one lone sheep and several little brown birds (LBJ’s). The birds and marmots did not appear to have any fear of people. The marmot was sitting on a rock and when we got closer it jump from the rock went under some brush. As we walked past we could have reached down and grabbed it’s tail. I think it thought that if he couldn’t see us we couldn’t see him. On the way down we stopped at a scenic overlook and were enjoying a much deserved water break. I looked over at Colin and not 50 feet away was a female black bear and her cub. The bears were moving pretty fast and the cameras had to be grabbed so we didn’t get the best shots but it was pretty exciting. A little further down the trail was saw a number of people standing on a bluff. As I was walking past them they called to say they were watching a black bear on the hill side. Sure enough there was a handsome fellow up the hill in some brush. When the bear seemed to disappear the group of people moved up the hill. We continued to watch for the bear and saw him moving up towards the trail were the people were heading. We were able to get the peoples attention and warn them. A couple of hikers coming down the trail almost ran into that bear!
Margaret, Zaph and Splash had a fun day at the campsite — I would have loved to have seen Margaret walking Splash, Zaph carrying two soccer balls.

Sure you want to go??


Just a few more miles..

The Ice fields

More ice


I though we left snow behind?

The cabin at the time

Made it to top

The Harding ice fields

The reason you don't want to walk on the ice

Momma bear and baby bear

Momma bear and baby bear leaving

That would be papa bear

Papa heading off to find some hikers.

Another mormot, this guy was on top of a hugh rock and would not leave

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