Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Cousin continued

My cousin has already left, but before she did we did a few more things.
First, we went to the pass. The pass, as we call it, is the Chilkat pass which is up in Canada. It is about a four hour drive, along the single highway out of town. Once you get past the border, there are no signs of human occupation for miles, besides the highway. Even the highway only gets about ten cars a hour passing on it.
The pass is tundra, meaning there are very few trees, and most of the plants are mosses and lichens, with a few shrubs and other small plants. Reindeer lichens are the only ones I know the names of. For some reason, I have never bothered to learn the names of the plants. I suppose I am just happy enjoying their beauty without knowing what they are.DSC_6156
For this hike, we were hiking on a old mining exploration road (okay, so not quite free from human interference). The road was probably built fifty years ago, and was more like a dirt trail. There was some old sections of pipe every so often along the road, but other than that and the road, there was nothing around.
We hiked for a while on the road. Even though it was late June, there were still patches of snow along the road. This was amazing to my cousin, since in California, she didn’t even get snow in the winter. We also had to cross a few streams. Luckily for me, my hiking boots were waterproof, but the rest of my family had to take off their shoes.
Another thing about the pass is the absolute silence. If you are away from the road and any streams (and there aren’t any mosquitoes about) you can stop and hear absolutely nothing. In most wild places, like a forest, you will hear the sounds of birds, the trees rustling in the wind, or the sounds of cars from miles away. But here, you hear nothing. I suppose it is because there is a lot less wild and plant life than most places, but it is still amazing how quiet it is. Of course, with five people in the group, it is hard to hear the silence.
The purpose of our hike was to get to where we could see a glacier at the back of the valley. It was about a 10 mile hike, round trip, but we had all day to get there. Unfortunately, we had to be back to the border before 11, when it closed, but it still left us 8 hours.
There were quite a few streams and gullies to cross, many of them with snow bridges over them. We had to be careful when crossing the snow bridges, as they could easily collapse under our weight, and so it took a lot of time.
As I said earlier, there are almost no trees. As you can imagine, this makes it pretty hard to tell perspective. It seemed that from the top of the next hill, we would be able to see the glacier, but we would only see another hill to climb. After hiking for a four hours, my sister and cousin were getting bored, and it was starting to get late. We decided to turn around and maybe come back another time to see the glacier.
On the way back we stopped and cooked dinner over our alcohol stove. I made a timelapse, but it didn’t turn out very well, so I won’t post it.
One more thing before we left was go on a raft trip. A old friend of ours had a few open spaces on a trip, so we decided to go along. It was a very nice trip, and we even got to stop at one point and get out and walk along the riverbank.

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