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March 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm #1090
KNOCKED THE BUGGER OFF…as my friend from New Zealand once said.
Trip report: OGILVIE MOUNTAIN
Where in the hell is Mt Ogilvie? Good question. It is that mountain that looms over Hope looking like Snoopy sitting on his dog house watching over us mere mortals drive by at a thousand clicks an hour going nowhere. For me it has been one of those enigmas that kind of makes you wonder ‘what if’. What if I tried climbing? Or, is it even climbable? What if the ‘D Boys’ never introduced this mountain to me in the first place I might be mentally better off.
I had already tried twice before unsuccessfully. Big Bird Alistair had tried 4 times, Mark T twice, Eugene once and No Longer X Boss Lady first try. Oh, I cannot forget Frank, his third time as well.
The altitude is about 1850 metres and around 19.2 km in hiking distance with another 600 metres of up and downs. You start around the 200 meter mark. You have the Fraser Canyon on one side and the north side you have the Coquilla which is part of the Hozomeen Range of the Cascade Mountains. So there is the logistics for you techno freaks. For the rest of us here is the real story:
Just for clarification my short term memory is not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my short term memory is not as sharp as it used to be. Got the point?
Waking at 3:45 am only because I was like a little kid at Christmas. I was already juiced to climb before my alarm clock went off. It is not that I had to get up then, it was because I just need to see if I have the mojoe to get back out with the ‘guys’ on a big day hike. Nobody was forcing me or telling me what to do. I just had to know that I know I can. Make any sense to you because it does for me. This day has been marked on my calendar for seven weeks, or at least since I started working out after a forced holiday.
Ogilvie was the perfect excuse to test myself to see how my endurance level was coming along. See, a small group of us tried Ogilvie last October of 2009 from the east side with no luck. Then several months later we tried from the west side and ran out of day light when we still had 300 metres to go. So this mountain called Ogilvie was like a little worm in my brain that would not go away. It is not like this is the hardest mountain around, or the most technical. We just did not get the job done yet and it was unfinished business that had to be taken care off. Kind of like closure. In fact, for me it was like a new beginning and closure rapped in one package.
As we drive into Hope for a normal pit stop you get the welcome sign: ‘Welcome to Hope, set your watch back 20 years’. It is like saying in just two days from now, tomorrow will be yesterday. Hope is an unusual place unless you have visited Kentucky before. You know the kind of place, 5,000 people and 5 last names. Please do not shoot the messenger, I just tell it the way it looks. Yes, I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other. Not like some of you lonely heart friends that have no one to console with.
It is not raining. It is not snowing. It is not sunny. It is not to cold. It feels just right for a hike in the hills around Hope. We drive up the logging road until Mark T is uncomfortable going any further. Everyone jumps out of the truck in silence. Boots, gators, pants (don’t ask why my pants were not on), axes, crampons, heavy back packs, gloves hats and smiles. We are back and focused to get a job done. The watches and GPS’s are calibrated for takeoff and away we go. I have packed perfectly. I started out with nothing, and still have most of it left.
Actually, I start out with trepidation. It is going to be a long day and we will not be back until well after night fall. As excited as I am, and I mean I am REALLY excited, I want to go slow enough to conserve energy but fast enough to not hold the ‘guys’ up. I have already omitted before joining on I probably would not be able to take my turn breaking trail. This can be a real handicap for the rest of the team when everyone gets tired and I feel badly about not being as strong as I should be to contribute. Time will tell…..oooooo, foreshadow!
Big Bird fell behind me while he put on his yellow big bird suite and stopped for one of his countless bird seed feeding secessions. Thank goodness he stopped so frequently, it made me look not so bad, so I thought to myself. In fact I was thinking a lot about myself while slowly grinding up towards where we would begin bush thrashing. Yes, thrashing because that is what my body take with all these useless Alder trees whipping me in the face. Anyways back to thinking about myself. I was thinking that I should try harder to reach out to others, with a 2x 4 of course. Also, I thought instead of always aiming to please, I could just shoot to kill. You know, comforting thoughts always make me feel better while hiking with friends.
When the bush thrashing started out of nowhere comes Big bird and then he is gone. That guy just flies through the trees. It is like he has this gift in life which is meant to fly through trees while the rest of us take a beating. I mean for me it felt being back in court last year, but that is another story for another blog. If it was not for Big birds appetite that needs constant hits I am sure we would never had seen him for the rest of the day until we reached the summit. Mark T is not far behind and then Eugene is like a Moose crashing, thrashing, breaking and ploughing ahead without missing a step. Me, well I just get the back lash from trees flying back in my face and floundering around until I can barely stand. Boss Lady is so short she just saunters straight ahead without ever being touched from a branch. No flies off her.
Up 100 metres, down 50 metres and then back up another 100 metres. This type of Zig sagging goes on for hours. It saps every bit of energy and mental strength you have. Every once in a while you can see what might be the summit and it never seems to be getting any closer. There was defiantly moments when I am sure I was not the only one wondering if we were going to actually make the summit. Just when you had time to think another creek bed had to be crossed, so another 100 metres climb to find a safe place to get over to the other side of nowhere. While saying this, it was rough on everyone but nobody would omit defeat or even contemplate it for long.
It was game on once we started to see the summit. It was at least still two hours away but now it looked real. My confidence and excitement that we were going to the top no matter how late took over my body strength. After all the hard work Big Bird, Mark T and Eugene had done up to this point I felt it was my turn to try and help out. As long as the group was okay with my slow pace it was dig down and gut out the trail breaking lead. It might have been slow for the ‘boy’s’ but it sure felt good to dig down and slog ahead until my legs could no longer hammer in a step. My legs did not hurt, they just ran out of jam. Man did it feel awesome!
Seven and half hours after leaving Mark T truck we made the summit at 4 pm. In that time we never sat down or took a break longer than 5 or maybe 10 minutes at most. It was good to be back on top.
One side of the mountain you could see the Coquihalla Valley and the other the Fraser Canyon. Easterly winds were blowing with moisture coming in from the west plus darkness. I had worked myself into a sweat breaking trail so my body temperature started to drop quickly with the minus 5 degrees and standing around taking pictures and giving each other high fives. It was not until I was frozen that Boss Lady pointed out my leg zippers were fully down. You might ask ‘what the……’ but once again that is another story for another time. The real question was what was Boss lady looking at?
Too warm up I took off downhill like a rabbit. You would have thought I had sat around all day and was full of new energy. I just wanted to warm up and I felt so HAPPY we had summated and I got to help the ‘boys’ achieve their goal as well. Man, it felt so GOOD TO BE BACK!
We kept moving from 4:30 until 6 or 6:30 and we finally stopped for lunch. All the dangerous part was now behind us. Our CD always shows sign of relief at this point. It is like he is not only happy we made the summit but we are all down uninjured. Big responsibility and I thank him for it. Mark T became so relaxed he stood there and broke open a fresh bottle of Coke. I sat down for the first time since getting out of the truck and choked down some food as the cold set in to the bones. Off in the distance you could see the lights of Hope shinning on us and showing how to get home. Funny thing, it felt like home at that moment.
We made it back to the truck by 8:30. It was only an epic day for me. For the rest it was just another walk in the park.
In conclusion I would like to state ‘The Statement Below Is True. The Statement Above Is False’. Pick whichever one you want!
Thanks Mark T, Big Bird, Eugene and Boss Lady for great company and a solid focus to get the job done.
All the best to everyone and to good health and more wealth.
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