With the GeoKids in school for the day on Friday, Mr. & Mrs. GeoK set out to hike to the site of the old fire look out on Forgetmenot Mountain. We had planned to go up this way last spring, but the Big Elbow was flowing so fast and so high that we were forced to turn back at the ford. We certainly did not need the waders we’d packed along this time, so we stowed them in a fir tree and marked the coordinates so we could pick them up on our way back to the car.
We pulled into the parking area near the foot bridge a few minutes after 9 o’clock and started along the path a few moments later. The sky was a brilliant blue and the temperature seemed to be well on its way to the forecast high of near 30. We were well supplied with almost 4 liters of water, a good slathering of sun screen and the knowledge that we were going to be pushing ourselves to try to be back at the lookout by 1 o’clock.
We followed the Elbow River for a bit, easily made our way across the Big Elbow using our trekking poles to balance on the rocks and then meandered through the woods a short distance before we came to the rock cairn marking the start of the sheep trail up the steep shoulder to the mountain.
The next stretch was quite a grind; we gained 600 meters over about 2.5 km before the slope gentled out a bit. Much of the climb was on scree, never our favourite terrain. We enjoyed walking along the ridge for about a km before we had to push up another short, scrambly climb and then on another couple hundred meters to go find Shigman’s Forgetmenot Rocks! geocache, arriving at 11:45. The Cub (of Bearberry & the Cub fame) was enjoying the sunshine and fresh air here, while waiting for Bearberry to return from the old LO. We chatted for a few minutes and then pushed on to Forgetmenot Fields Forever, which too us much too long to find.
During the final push to the LO we crossed paths with Bearberry himself. After chatting for a few minutes and accepting his kind offer to give us his printout of the spoiler photo for BVPETE’s Forgetmenot LO, we said our goodbyes and picked up the pace enough that we finally arrived at the lookout about 1:15. We easily spotted Calgary and enjoyed the view down into the next valley while we ate lunch and talked about possible placements for the 3 geocaches we’d hauled all the way up the hill.
We agreed on 2 hiding spots and decided to choose the 3rd while making the return trek. Mrs. GeoK’s camelbak ran empty a few minutes after lunch. Fortunately, we use frozen water bottles as ice packs for our lunch, so we had a bit of a reserve. Even so, when we stopped to retrieve our waders we finished the last of our water and hiked the last 2 km or so back to the car thinking a lot about the big thermos of ice water we had stashed in the trunk! It was so hot we drank quite a bit more than usual.
Anyhow, we hid our 3 caches and have just submitted them for publication. That means there are now 6 geocaches placed up in this area – wait, make that 7 (Bearberry just had a new cache published!!) – so a few more geocachers should be tempted to try this challenging hike. And, we made it back to the car a little before 5 o’clock, just as we’d hoped.