The first time Mr. and Mrs. GeoK headed west to Yamnuska was July 2007; after making it through the chimney and across the crux we made it to the summit around noon, just as the sun broke through. Yesterday we had a different objective: BC1B22Y Yam Boulders, a 5-part multi-cache hidden by BVPete in April 2008. We knew that his "On the Way to Yam Boulders" cache, which is about 200 meters from the parking lot and was hidden at the same time, has seen 30 "found it" logs since publication. In comparison, the Yam Boulders multi has been "found" only 11 times, sometimes on the 3rd or 4th return visit by a cacher. Not only is the terrain physically challenging, but you have to get there via a series of reference points, traveling mainly on game trails.
We made short work of 3 stand-alone caches that were more or less on the route to Yam Boulders. The best of the three was GC1B22H The Stone House, also hidden by BVPete. But after we found that one, it was time to start the more challenging part of the walk to the boulder field. The first section paralleled the fence line for an active quarry, which was very busy, loading one dump truck after another.
After a brief R-rated moment so that Mrs. GeoK could check for the imagined tick climbing up her leg, we eventually reached the moose trail heading SW to the edge of the boulder field, where the trail eventually faded to nothing and we were left "following the arrow". Mr. GeoK had a good knack for finding a fairly direct route to stage one, which was aptly named the "Pit of Doom". Our objective at each stage was to find the coordinates for the next stage; these were written onto fixed stone or smaller rocks using a black marker. After several minutes of searching we finally realized we needed to get up on top of the giant boulder, where the elusive information was quickly spotted by Mrs. GeoK.
At the second stage Mr. GeoK scrambled up the fairly steep face of a large slap to find the next set of coordinates.
Since he left his pack at the base of the slab, only Mrs. GeoK’s GPSr had the stage 3 coordinates. Mr. GeoK soon came to regret this, as she led him in circles before finally locating the "Tricky Start" boulder. As penance, Mrs. GeoK found a way up to the top of this boulder and then insisted that Mr. GeoK enter the coordinates for stage 4 into his GPS unit!!
Finally, after a short search for the information located at stage 4, we were on our way to the actual cache location. Mr. GeoK spotted the likely hiding spot as we approached yet another enormous boulder and, after a short climb, he had the container in hand!
Like most of those who completed this multi-cache before us, we settled in on top of "Picnic Rock" to enjoy our packed lunch and the excellent views across the Bow Valley and up the Kananaskis Valley. Considering we sat down to eat at 11:50 and we were back at the parking area at 1 o’clock, we were very happy with the speed of our return trip. This was an well-conceived, well-executed and challenging multi-cache, but with a difficulty rating of 3 / 4 it is not for everyone. If you decide to attempt it, heed the warnings on the cache page re: wearing proper footwear and taking lots of water. Also ensure your observation skills are finely tuned!
Our next stop was another BVPete cache, GC1BW08 A Bow Valley Puzzle. The puzzle part of this one took us the better part of a week, working off and on as we had a spare hour here and there. When Mrs. GeoK finally figured it out on Saturday morning we couldn’t believe how much too hard we’d made it!! But armed with the coordinates for the first stage, we parked near the small hydro dam on the Bow River and set out to complete another 5-part multi. This one was also well-executed, although stage 3 convinced us that BVPete has add the "head fake" to his repertoire of tools and techniques!!
Along the trail we saw many varieties of wildflowers as well as this beaver dam…
We especially enjoyed the fourth and final stages of this cache, due to the fact that the trail paralleled the bank of the Bow River and the water is beautifully coloured by glacial silt right now. As with Yam Boulders, we were fortunate to nab the last finders’ card for the hide.
Our total walking distance for the day was (5.5 + 2.8 =) 8.3 km; including geocaches found on the drive out from and back to Calgary we logged 9 "found it" entries today. There’s one more BVPete multi-cache awaiting us in Bow Valley Provincial Park, so we’re hoping to make a return visit with the GeoKids this summer.
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