Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Them mountains, they be Rocky!

Route 1 from Watson Lake only took me to Contact creek, from there it was south on Highway 97; for two days. The map shows the Rockies starting around Watson, it was another hundred miles before they really came into view. That got me really excited, it was after all what we mainly came here for. They are absolutely gob smacking, spectacular, awesome, and every other word you can come up with. It seems impossible to describe all the subtle differences when faced with wall to wall mountains, but different they were.

I could easily tell the direction of the prevailing wind. A series of gently sloping outcrops were completely devoid of vegetation, yet the steep, craggy, leeward side bristled with conifers. Behind them was an upturned cone, crumpled and scrunched to form a multitude of ridges running down all sides. There were numerous cwms lined up one after the other, it looked like someone had come along and scooped out the rock as if it were ice cream. Snow filled gulley's abound, still there since last winter; many looking almost like molars, cracked and broken, exposed to the cold. My favourite was the rounded breast, its pert nipple pointing skyward. Yesterday was a glorious day for the sheer magnitude of rock, also magnificent for the wildlife.

It doesn't do to be complacent about Bears, yet I got within twenty five feet of one, then even closer to another. Their eyesight is not too good, move slowly and carefully and its possible to get reasonably close without scaring them away. It was delightful to finish off my memory card with a 30 second video of one feeding, oblivious of my presence; being upwind of him. So many delights to report, a trio of Daal sheep had decided to come down lower than generally seen and present themselves especially for me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Caribou were meant to go about in sodding great herds. I saw one, on its own, not that big and very skittish.Didn't like the noise of my bike, but that gets cut as soon as I see 'owt now. So I managed a photo of that too. A lone Bison was unperturbed by me or the bike, just stayed munching, giving me only a cursory glance to let me know It'd seen me. Lastly, this morning I had the pleasure of seeing a Beaver dam. No damn Beaver though, and I'd have liked to see a nice beaver.

Its a real shame the first experience of the Rockies was cut short, the road swung back away from them, heading to Fort Nelson, a dreary shit hole that didn't impress me at all. Neither did the day's riding today, a long way with a tantalising glimpse of the hills, always looking as if I'd swing back to them, alas the road would sweep the other way. So the day was spent cloud gazing as I pottered along at 70 mph.A decision's been made, no need to rush, best to conserve fuel. So although there were only clouds to stare at it was fine. Actually reminded me of being in Tobago with Cai just before sunset, two enormous clouds in the shape of Ogres, made angry by the redness of the setting sun. Although he was only four then its a memory he carried all his life, only recently we talked about it.

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