Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go.

Robert Service — The Call of the Wild
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Day 10 - Hike to the Waterfall

Saturday, July 21, 2012.

Woke at 8am – the thunderstorm last night left everything wet and fresh smelling. Emerald Lake and the surrounding hills were shrouded in misty fog this morning. All the brush and shrubs are soaking wet, so we held off leaving camp until 11:30am when the sun had a chance to dry things out. While waiting for the brush to dry we saw a cow and a calf swimming across the lake. They were heading for our camp and it was difficult at first to tell what was in the water. By the time we all had binoculars on them, they had spied our camp and changed direction, swimming left (east) of our camp. They climbed out and continued up the slope of the hill, disappearing in the willow and dwarf birch.
At 11:30am we finally are geared up, the brush is dry and we're ready to go. We crossed the west-most stream at the lake's edge and cut up a hill through a thick stand of artic willow and dwarf birch. We traversed four separate banks of snow and sevaral avalanche runout zones. The open climb gradually transitioned into taller birch and low fir, making the climb more demanding.
Before very long we were climbing more vertically using the trees and shrubs for handholds. The going was difficult and we had to stop often and rest. We tried to keep the creek close on our right side as we climbed, but the creek had grown too steep and slippery to ascend. We were forced to move inland into even thicker brush. At 1:30pm we stopped for a snack and to discuss our route. At 2:30pm we stopped once again to reconsider our course. We were low on water, and it would be very difficult to backtrack to the creek to filter more. We climbed on. By 3:00pm we made the decision to head back down, as we were all tired and thirsty. We managed to contour west and found a caribou trail to follow. We worked our way around to the left and down. We were back in camp by 4:30pm.
The mosquitoes tonight are as bad as I have ever seen up here. I put on my head-net for the first time. It seems as if today is the first hot day in a long time and has brought out all the bugs.
20120721_MistyMorning.jpg
Misty morning on Emerald lake.
photographer: Bill Moore
20120721_PhilsTentDoor.jpg
View of the McKenzie Mountains out Phil's tent door and across the lake.
photographer: Phil Taylor
20120721_PhilSteveWaterfall.jpg
Resting by the creek, preparing to tackle the brush once again.
photographer: Sandra Moore
20120721_PhilBillClimbing.jpg
Phil and Bill scaling yet another false summit. Our camp and tents can be seen in the background.
photographer: Sandra Moore
20120721_Our3Tents.jpg
You can just make out our three tents at the end of the esker.
photographer: Phil Taylor
20120721_Snowbank.jpg
We were hot and bushed by the time we'd made it down the hill. The snowbank was cold and refreshing.
photographer: Bill Moore
20120721_FireweedWillowsMtn.jpg
The McKenzie mountains, across the Hess river valley, from camp.
photographer: Sandra Moore

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