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Monday, September 1, 2008

Don't do as we did !!

So yesterday being Sunday and a nice day to go for a walk. We headed out to Gonzales Bay (the east side of Victoria), intending to find and walk a trail hubby was told about... NOT ! Couldn't find where it was, so we pressed on. We were going to walk up the road to MT. Tolmie but that didn't work out either, so MT. Doug sounded like a challenge... The intention as I said, was to walk along a maintained trail and get our exercise because we do a brisk walk, not just a stroll. So off we went along what was a nicely traveled trail. This is a picture of where we veered off in another direction. Lovely woodland, and serene. A picture of quiet comfort. Just the odd bird sounds....perhaps a deer or two watching from a distance, we don't know...but probably.md1

So off we went to explore. We followed along and decided as we went which paths to follow. As nothing is marked after the main path we just had to follow hunches and try going along different trials and hope that we were heading up. This is a mountain and as far as we know, that means 1000 ft....and I'm here to say that we climbed all of those 1000 ft. We kept climbing up and up and up and not really thinking about whether or not we could go down the same way we came up..... About 1/2 way up we stopped to assess our situation. Hmmm, this wasn't one of our better ideas. Of course to capture the moment, snap a picture.....so this is what we were seeing behind us. The tops of the shorter trees, a dry grassy edge and no hope of going back down that way.

md2

As we got going again a bit of concern rose up because my feet were slipping out from under me and nothing to hold onto, as well as a heavy backpack on my back. Finally out of sheer will, I just dug my fingers into the grass and dirt and just forced myself up. Thank goodness. Okay, press on...there is no turning back... So at about the 3/4 mark we had to take another breather and re-assess our situation...and snap a picture...of course. If we were to become food for the forest creatures, might as well record where we were at that last moment.... So this is looking as straight down as I could without falling over the edge. This is now a sheer, and I mean sheer drop. The only thing you could hope for is to find yourself straddling a tree on the way down....ohhh, the visuals there, not good... Quite a beautiful sight isn't. That's what kept me calm, it's beautiful, go with that... So I turned and looked at the expression on my DH's face and it was not good. Not being a lover of high places, I had to gently put my hand on his shoulder, turn him toward the mountain and tell him to look up, and nowhere else, just up. We're fine, lets go...

md3

Well, we made it. We found a nice, solid piece of terra firma and stood there while our bodies and minds just took in the stupidity of what we just did. What a moronic thing to start climbing up a mountain, nothing but the hope we were strong enough to hold on. Solid rocks and edges of rocks, Scottish Broom bushes with their deep roots (those bushes will no longer be on our allergy hate list, they saved us) and small oak trees here and there gave us what we needed to keep us going and safe. Once settled, we carried on as there is one more incline, a safe one. Where we ended up is on one side of the summit, near a tower. We went around that, came out to the parking lot and across and up to the highest summit lookout. After all that, I was not going to stop until we got to the top. This is from half way up to the top lookout. On the left side of the picture, you can see the slope of the mountain, we came up on the other side of that....This picture shows it not being a difficult spot, but it's the top edge of the mountain. Below is dried grass along the slope and little else except a few places where there were bumps and dents that your feet could fit into.

md4

We could see those two people while we were on the way up. I guess someone would have seen us if we fell. By the time we were on the way up to the top lookout they had moved along to where they were standing in this picture. So finally, at the top, I plopped my bottom down and stayed put for the next few minutes and thanking every guardian angel I think I have for getting us up to the top in the same one piece each that we started out as. Then we decided to enjoy the fruits of our labour. It's a beautiful place up there. From this angle you can see a big tower in the distance. That's an observatory for star gazing. They call it the Center of the Universe. We've been up there to star gaze, it's yet another beautiful view.

md5

This is another view, that carries on to the right of the above picture and it looks out to the straits that eventually if followed up would take you across to the mainland and Vancouver. The climb up the mountain was an hour, we walked down the well paved road to the truck, 1/2 hour and a mile and a half. I have fulfilled my quota of exercise for another day...and look forward a nice easy, well maintained trail next weekend. Please practice good sense when venturing off into the woods. This could have been a completely different ending. It turned out great but we learned a lot to....

md6

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful pics and view, Ro! I'm glad you managed to stay safe despite the risks you took.

    We have lost quite a few people over the years by either getting lost, snakebite, or from falls in our bushland areas and National Parks. One as recent as August so I'm very glad you're here to talk about your experience.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Serena,Well if my experience with doing something foolish like this helps someone else to think twice before they venture off, then that's a good thing... ;o)

    ReplyDelete

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