Thursday, September 4, 2008

Forget-Me-Not, I Never Will

Eight of us signed on to tackle Forget-Me-Not Ridge today! I have done Passes in the past but this was to be my first Ridge. Even though this was another hike in K-Country, it was in a further southwest section, a part which was new to me and I did not know even existed.

We started off at 9:30, me being the only one brave (or stupid) enough to bare my legs. Within 10 minutes from the parking lot, we crossed over a large pink suspension bridge to a creek with a low enough water level that the rocks stuck out, so that meant no need for sandles. I knew this was going to be a day of spectacular sights when right off the bat, we heard what we thought was thunder then to look to the left only to see this! I herd of cowboys came storming out of the bushes herding a herd of about 50 horses through the bushes, across the creek and off into the trees to go, well, I don't know where!
The early part of the hike was the challenging part! It was 3 kilometers of approximately 600 meters of elevation. First through tree-lined, narrow, steep, muddy, winding, hair pin turns. This was the sludging part. Then it opened up, we were above the tree line on steep, frost covered scree which afforded us this kind of view. I made sure to look back very often, not wanting to miss anything and to make sure I had this image embedded in my mind. You can see the snow covered peaks in the distance which seemed to be at eye level which meant we were up high. Then down below, the fordging river, the road and to the right Forget-Me-Not Pond which was emerald in color when the sun shone on it. We followed the narrow path for a short distance along the slope. At this point I kept my eyes in front of me because when I looked to my right, I felt my balance go a little wonky. You can see some of the trekkers behind me. I was laboring with my breathing somewhat, that happens when the air is thinner higher up but we still slowly pushed forward.
After two hours and thirty minutes, we finally reach the Ridge. Even though it was snow covered, it still felt warm because of the work to get there and being closer to the sun and the reflection of the snow. I very discreetly gave myself a pat on the back. This was quite an accomplishment! Not only was I high physically, I was even higher mentally! We could see forever! I could even pick out city center towers, which looked like specks.
This was our dining spot, behind some trees sheltered from the wind, with a view of forever and other ridges around us. This is when I had to fleece up, and zip the bottoms of my pants on. The others were happy to see me put my bottoms on, I guess I made them cold when they just looked at my legs. My cheese sandwich never tasted so good (still not ready for those deli meats yet). Of course, I topped of my lunch with those two bite brownies. We stayed here about thirty minutes enjoying the vista, snapping photos and chatting about hiking equipment.
The trip down is always quicker and the first part was really quick. Most of the snow had melted by now but once we got into the tree line, it was even more muddie and the footing was not as easy on the steep down section. I was thankful for my snowshoe poles! This was the first time I ever used poles for hiking and if I ever take on a challenge like this again, the poles will be part of my equipment. Today my knees and ankles are thanking me!

To sum up today, I would say that Forget-Me-Not Ridge got its name from all the forgetmenot flowers that blanket the ridge but for me it will be forgetmenot because of being able to conquer the challenge, completing my first Ridge and for the amazing scenery!

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