A Day's Adventure with Annalee Part 1.
A Post by Annalee McCoy
The family of four from Holland met with their guide Annalee in the lodge’s great room after breakfast. Annalee had come well prepared, her back pack filled with the goodies you need to take out on a trail day; bear spray, bug repellent, sunscreen, water and snacks.
They jumped in the van and drove east on Highway 20 to the “Big Rock” and Kettle Pond trail. The landscape all around the area has features carved by glaciers which Annalee pointed out to her curious crew.
There were also many bear signs for the hikers to observe.
Annalee’s trained eyes uncover the following:
“We find a bear “scratch tree’ with big strips of cedar bark peeled off, the white gleam of the fresh under layer can be seen from far away. No wonder bears use this method to warn other bears (and us):”hey look, I’m in this area, Stay Out”. Along the trail, we find broken leaves and bear stomp marks where the huge animal was walking along deliberately stomping and turning his large feet, to make a visual and scented reminder: ‘I’m here, don’t bother me’ We find holes in the needle-carpeted forest floor, where a bear’s sensitive snout, reaching in, plucked out delicious mushrooms, growing secretly out of the sunlight.”
Next stop: the obsidian carvers’ historical site. The area has a spooky feeling to it.Local legend warns about powerful spirits who live there and don’t like to be disturbed.
This detour is followed by a stop at the head of the Tweedsmuir Trail. A long hike, over a day or more, will take you over a mountain pass into the backcountry of the Rainbow Mountains.
Annalee: “I ask the family how long they wanted to stay in Canada, because we could hike all the way to Quesnel, following the traditional path of many First Nations and new world explorers before us…They laugh nervously…' we must leave in two days' the father explains quite seriously; 'I don’t think we have time to go that far'. "Oh too bad" I reply, "they have world famous mosquitoes and black flies up there. Also, if we are lucky, we may run face to face with a big, hungry grizzly coming down from the high country, stomach emptied from eating roots and other “laxatives” to clean out last year’s leftovers."
'No no no no they" say, 'that’s ok, we don’t want to see a bear that close!' "Ok" I say, "we can just hike up to the view point and look out over Moser Creek gorge". I see a look of relief pass over the parents’ eyes and a bit of disappointment over the children’s: the view point it is!
As we switch back up and across a rocky section, the full view of the mountain emerges, the scarred flanks different shades of green. After reaching the summit, I ask one more time: "stop here or keep going to Quesnel"? The kids perk up, the parents simultaneously shake their head, 'here is good' they say.”