Thursday, August 27, 2009

Exploring the Flathead

Our neighbours, who own and operate Baldy Mountain Outfitters, have their base camp (and a few smaller private hunting cabins) in the Flathead Valley; their guiding area including over 300 square miles of the most incredible back country.

According to the Sierra Club BC,

The Flathead River Valley is a window to our past. Never settled, this remote valley in BC’s southeast corner is a hotspot for biological diversity. The Flathead is a modern-day Noah’s Ark for many species that have been squeezed into a Rocky Mountain ribbon of green, as their age-old habitat vanishes due to human activity.
The Flathead is home to an astounding 16 species of carnivores, ranging from the tiny marten to the towering grizzly. Six species of hoofed animals (ungulates), roam the spacious valley bottom and serrated mountain tops—including elk, bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat. There are more grizzly bears here than anywhere else in the interior of North America, and the greatest density and diversity of carnivores on the continent.
When offered the opportunity to trek into one of their secluded hunting cabins we jumped at the chance to explore with people who have spent most of their lives living in and exploring this valley.

The road from the base camp to where we were going to begin hiking was in good condition, but really steep. Sure glad I was not walking it!

We hiked for a couple of hours through some of the most incredible terrain most of it above the tree line. Lots of rock, snags, brush...areas for wildlife to hide.

The hunting cabin is secreted away in the trees near a creek, challenging to find even if you know where it is! The grizzlies can get pretty hungry here as evidenced by the bite mark in the metal roof of the cabin.

On the hike back we travelled along a windy ridge overlooking the valley then down a somewhat steep, rocky animal trail. Yes, clutzy me did fall, smacking my camera good on the rocks. Good thing neither one of us was hurt, just scratched and a little bruised.

What a day! An awesome hike, great people, followed by a delicious dinner at base camp overlooking the pond full of trout. Thanks Harry and Jill!

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