Party: Just me.
In my digging around for clues on the whereabouts of Blak T the names Fossli and St Andrews popped up. Searching maps I found a Fossli Ck, and Fossli Prov Park and decided to visit before heading up some logging roads to do some karst exploration. It wasn’t a very early start… last night might have been the first time I had consumed alcohol all year, so a bit of a sleep-in followed. I also had to pop into the local library to collect a book and check my emails.
Being a long weekend, the roads were pretty busy. Driving past Cathedral Grove I had to drive quite a ways past some hitchhikers before I could pull over. They hurried along the side of the road. They were both Czech, and on their way to Tofino. The guy had a work VISA, whilst his partner was visiting and couldn’t really speak any English. Their accents reminded me a lot of Tony. I really must send him an email; it has been quite a long time since our last trip on Denali.
Anyhow, I dropped them off and headed along a series of dirt roads filling the fine day with clouds of dust. There were a lot of cars parked along the road, and I could spy tents between the trees on the sides of the lake. Soon I reached a wooden post with Fossli Tr engraved vertically along it. I was there. I turned in and drove down the road a ways before reversing back out and parking closer to the main rd. Gobbling down some lunch I continued on foot.
The road was pretty rough and most vehicles would have trouble getting far down the road, especially once it narrows and then turns into more of a quad bike trail. The trail then crosses a deep section of Fossli Ck via a suspension bridge. Not far down the roar of a waterfall can be heard… you can’t get a very good view from the main trail, but there is a faint trail that climbs down the side of the waterfall. Alternatively, if you don’t like the small scramble, simply take the first right at the bottom of the hill and you can make your back up the river to see the waterfall.
Continuing along the trail, I was glad for the trees that were sheltering me from what was turning out to be a pretty warm day.
Soon I reached the edge of the lake where I few other groups where relaxing. I sat there for a moment, but wasn’t really in a mood for relaxation and soon was on my way. I took a different trail out and passed through a nice campground complete with a composing toilet and a small plaque dedicated to the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Armour Ford, who donated their land as a park. (It also explains that the area is named after an area in Norway.)
As I was continuing out a large toad jumped across my path. It didn’t really like me getting close, but I managed to get an okay photo.
Next, I continued down the road further. Stopping for some more food and then heading up a forestry road to see if I could find any caves. The road wound steeply up, but eventually I began noticing doline to either side. I popped into the searching the bottoms for signs of cave. Continuing out along a limestone ridge I found lots of cracks and even a deep grike, but despite as I push-broomed the area I failed to find am actual cave entrance, and soon returned to the road. I passed more dolines and a small resurgence. And then, after nearly walking past it, I paused and dropped down into a hole off the side of the road. I looked like it went! I didn’t have a proper light, as the purpose of the trip was more for surface exploration, but still I blindly groped my way in using a little bit of light from an LED screen to make my way down the active steamway. I’ll have to come back and explore it sometime! (I later found out that the cave might be named Beginner’s Luck).
Not much further along finding what looked like a bear’s hibernation hole, I heard a huge amount of water not far away… but I couldn’t see any crossing the road. Investigating, I found a huge amount of water entering an insurgence. I pulled some sticks out so I could look down into the hole. It looked pretty tight, but it was hard to tell with all the water entering. Probably also worth another look sometime (later in the season when there is less flow!).
The road narrowed and then widened. I past a black bear that stared at me from up on the wooded slope.
Later I past a steam boiler. This was a good sign as I had seen this in some trip photos to Blak T, so I at least knew that I had the right forestry road. Later, I past another bear which climbed straight up a tree. I slowly edged past it before leaving it in non-human peace.
I was supposed to have turned around a long time ago but I was so far now that I felt committed to seeing where the road went. I began passing cut blocks and the road continued to head in the wrong direction. I pulled out my map… it wasn’t looking great… then I noticed that there was I road I could join up with if I did a little bush-bashing. I only had my Keen sandals, but it seemed worth the effort to shave off at least 5km.
It wasn’t the best but eventually I was through. I had a couple of hot spots on my un-socked feet and sun had now properly set. It was all downhill to the main rd now. I ducked under some signs strung up over the road: “Danger. Blasting Area”… I guess there aren’t too many people silly enough to have taken the route I had taken.
I was relived to hit the road. I tried thumbing a ride from a car but no luck there. It was soon too dark to bother despite the surprisingly high volume of traffic. To one guy’s credit, he did stop to make sure I was okay, but at this point, my car was just around the corner! It was after 11pm, and it didn’t take long for me to eat and go to la-la land.