Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Route planning

Forest routes between Eaglet and Hansard Lakes in the Upper Fraser, British Columbia, view is about 50,000 feet (click to enlarge)
Yesterday was quite productive: I was able to plot several potential routes through the forest to reach Monte's quarter section. These approximate routes have been entered into my inReach Explorer and I can navigate along them while leaving locational messages for friends and relatives back home. This area is in the middle of the sub-boreal spruce zone and has the largest, unspoiled, river systems in the world.

The route lines are approximate as I wanted to be able to zoom on on the photographs in places. The photographic information, however, is ten years old and a lot could be now growing over those roads if they are rarely traveled. Bridges can be out and roads washed out during flash floods after storms. The routes that humans pick are also chosen by animals like the moose and the grizzly bear. I'm hoping that the latter are well fed despite the recent lack of moisture in the area, as it is only the predatory bears that will want to approach humans. If you make enough noise, most bears will move away from you. Young male grizzlies who are "strutting their stuff" can also be aggressive, but the breeding season is over. The hunting season has yet to begin, so we are unlikely to get accidentally shot.

Finding these routes was a surprise: maps we had looked at before had none of the old logging roads marked, not even the highest scale government maps. I was on the Delome site synced to my inReach Explorer as the gizmo, itself, carries only a featureless route map. Pairing it wityh my tablet, though, I can plot routes over better maps. The above screen shot was above a Google Earth image, but when I first saw the roads appear it was as I zoomed in on the relief map. Funnily, they do not appear on the third map type: the road map. This is what I first drew over. I placed the two way-points on Camp 27 Road

The lower way point marks the start of the route that I thought we might be able to take, and the upper way point does the same for the route that Monte plotted. Both were uncertain routes, and we thought that we might have to cross areas that had no logging roads, but might have a few hunter's ATV trails we could hack or chain saw our way through with the 4WD.

Monte was overjoyed when I phoned him about it and sent him copies of the maps. He told me that he had heard such a map existed, but had not been able to find it in three years.

The lake from which one of Monte's creeks issues is visible above the higher route line. It runs though the deepest ravine in the area which reaches Monte's land about 140 feet below at the base of a high hill that looks like it should have a hillfort or a castle on it. Monte's hill overlooks the lake that feeds his creek., and all the lands to the south. I'm hoping there is bedrock visible in the ravine or in the creek on Monte's land. There is gold in the area and we are bringing a pick, shovel and gold pan. If there's no gold visible in the pan, then the fishing rod gets unpacked. Have to check out the resources. Did I mention that the grizzlies really like to follow the creeks as well as roads and cut-lines?

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