The trip to the next cache was actually fairly straightforward and, as I remember it, rather tame when it came to how much it sapped my energy. There wasn’t as much elevation loss and gain to get this one and I was thankful for that. After passing the cache sight once, I circled around and spied it from a number of meters away. This cache was hidden by BVPete, who often crafts his own wooden containers that in turn hold the plastic lock ‘n lock containers one usually finds while caching. These wooden containers are always a treat and I’d found a few during this trek.
The next cache was the last of the bunch and thought it would be all downhill from here on. For the most part it was, but there was just a little bit of surprise “up” still to do. Once I grew closer to ground zero of “Along Lusk Creek Ridge” I realized that I’d need to ascend to get the cache. After arriving close to ground zero, I noodled with a rock that looked a little out of place, but quickly gave up the search session to have a rest. On most previous finds today, it was the other way around, – find, then rest – but by now I was really, really tired.
After having that short rest and looking around at some scene that resembled a summer version of the winter spoiler photo, my GPSr lead me back to the exact rock I’d noodled with earlier and after spying inside, there was the very well hidden cache! Happiness.
To the Highway
Now it was time to make my way to the road; I was all too ready to do so by this time! The slope was extremely steep at first, but gradually levelled out to where I entered the tree line again. The way down was actually quite littered with blow down, which made the pace slow again. There were heartening bits of trail tape which I’d follow for a bit and then loose until I made my way to what was obviously the beginnings of a logging road. I followed it for a bit, but it ran out to nothing, making me give up and decide to continue to follow the straight through route toward the highway which I saw as my salvation at this point. I believe now that if I’d followed that road the opposite way, I might have had a much easier time of it: another cacher’s log mentions following it out to the highway, so I’m quite sure I could have if I’d only followed it the other way.
Oh, well, if I’d done it that way, I never would have had the opportunity to see (plus side) and negotiate my way down the crest of rocks (negative side) that make up a little two-tiered waterfall that I found a little later. I’d seen logs that mentioned the falls, and winter pictures of it, but as it turns out I came upon it in such a way that I had to make my way down very gingerly to the highest tier, across the mouth and then again down some heavily moss-covered ledges to the first tier. I was well aware of the danger here: the a tired hiker, potentially slippery rocks and downward climbing can make for a scary combination. But I made it unscathed, again because I took it slow and easy.
The Return Trudge to Where I’d Parked – and a Surprise Ending
You wouldn’t think this leg of the trek that took me to multiple summits and more than a few hardships along the way, a leg that would basically be about a 2 and some kilometre trudge back to the car along the wonderfully gravelled and often dusty Highway 68 would be worth writing about in a log. But I ended up feeling that “the powers that be” wanted to make sure I’d experienced a “full course” hike, so I do feel the need to write about it.
As I very joyfully and triumphantly emerged onto the highway and was finally able to walk in a straight line for more than 20 meters at a time (those who have done this trek will know what I mean) I felt the rain that was falling ever so lightly while I was still making my way down, pick up and come down in ernest. So my thoughts were something like, “Oh, hey, there’s Too Many Dave’s!” (a cache I’d already found, hidden along the highway); later, “There’s what I think is the parking for “Sleepy Hollow’s Hill!”; not too much later, “Oh, there’s my back getting pelted even more with this rain” Other than that, my mind was blank. I’m not saying I can’t remember what I was thinking, I’m saying my mind was blank! I was too tired to think, really, and this putting one foot in front of the other thing was just something I was doing by relying on instinct, based on having learned it in childhood.
A little later during the trudge, freakishly for only about a 400 m stretch, the wind picked up to first pelt the rain sideways onto my face and then actually be strong enough to blow me sideways partially off my feet. Yikes! Then it simply went away. It was like “the force” was dishing out this, then that to see how I’d react. I guess it didn’t know I was too tired to react to much at all.
Then, at long last, with not a single car coming along going my way from which I might have begged a lift, after those seemingly endless twists and turns of that stretch, the pond came into view with its oiled stretch of road in front of it. Then something special happened: it’s as if those same “powers that be” dished out a grand prize in congratulations for having survived the trek: there before me was a beautiful rainbow. This was awesome enough, but a couple of minutes later this morphed into a double rainbow (one rainbow much stronger than the other, but double it was). I truly felt I was being rewarded for accomplishing what was a challenging trek for me today.
Track Log and Elevation Profile
[lfh-gpx src=https://grantstracks.com/wp-content/uploads/kananaskis-july-18-2011-lusk-creek-ridge.gpx color=darkgreen width=6]Hike to Basecamp Cache at Birch Lake Isle[/lfh-gpx]