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Field trips 2.0


BC witness
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On 9/27/2021 at 9:16 PM, norseman said:

My eyes are going and I am considering lasik eye surgery.

 

Do it. You never know how things could degenerate in a year or three. Take advantage of modern medicine.

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I'm really slipping, it's been over a month since I last got out in the mountains, due to family obligations, bad weather, and the never ending honey-do list. I corrected that today, with a multi purpose sasquatch/deer/bear/grouse hunting trip to the mountains east of Harrison Lake, specifically to the same old clearcut where I tagged a nice fork horn blacktail buck 4 years ago.

 

It was an afternoon run, leaving my Abbotsford home at noon, and reaching the start of the gravel FSR shortly after one. My target trail was blocked at about 1km in by a large group of wood cutters, so I carried on to the next uphill branch, which I found to be busy with ***** shooters, target shooters, and a convoy of side by sides. The next try was 5 km further up the main FSR, and that branch was gated at 1.5 km due to active logging. I then returned to the first trail, and found that the wood cutters had finished, and were gone. From that point on I had the old deactivated road to myself, and I started the long, steep climb to the old open cut blocks higher up the mountainside. With the cross ditching and washouts on the steep grade, low range was used to ease the load on the little 3.5L engine. On the way up I spotted a single grouse, that spooked into the trees before I could stop the truck and pull out the 20 gauge. When I reached the spot where I had dropped the little buck on a previous trip, I parked and got out to walk the old road and glass for game.

 

I glassed the uphill side of the clearing without seeing anything, so I turned and looked downslope. I just raised the binoculars to my eyes, and I was looking straight at a beautiful cinnamon phase black bear! It was working over an old pile of logging debris, looking for grubs or marmots, I guess, and it was no more than 250 yards downhill from me, but what a downhill! The slope was much steeper than 45 deg., too steep to walk down, and waaaay too steep to attempt to pack a 3 or 4 hundred pound bear back up, even in quarters. So I watch it feed for 20 minutes or so, hoping that it would decide to come uphill, but it eventually faded back into the timber below the clearing, and that was the end of my chance for it.

 

I took a couple of pictures of the view from that area, and slowly drove back out to pavement without seeing any other critters. In the second photo, the village of Harrison is just visible at the upper left corner of the lake.

 

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Beautiful area BC.  As you mentioned, it looks very steep which favors animals who are used to that type of terrain. People are not going to even attempt to that incline. When do the mountain roads/logging trails become impassable due to winter conditions?

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42 minutes ago, wiiawiwb said:

When do the mountain roads/logging trails become impassable due to winter conditions?

 

He's got a Hummer, the answer is never. :biggrin:

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Getting up a road might be doable in his vehicle but getting down can be treacherous if not impossible in snow. You start to inch your way down then, without warning, you begin to slide. No matter what you do, or how you turn the steering wheel, you're heading uncontrollably toward the road's edge. Uh oh.

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@wiiawiwb & gigantor, the snow could hit those elevations any time from now through mid November, and stay till May. The main FSRs are usually plowed if they are in active logging, but the unused trails like the one I was up get accumulations of several feet, even several meters, and become the playground of sledders. You can see new snow on the distant peaks to the west of the lake in the first photo, at about 6,000 ft and higher; I'm at about 3200 ft in my pics.

 

 I carry chains for the H3, but once the snow gets to bumper height, you're stopped, even with chains. Our coastal snow tends to be wet and heavy, not the nice fluffy powder that you get on the rainshadow side of the mountains further inland.

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Posted (edited)

If you ever watch the tow truck reality show, "Highway Through Hell", many of the logging road rescues are in the areas I travel, and the Coguihalla Pass, where most of the big rig action is filmed, is about 30 miles from where those pics above were taken.

 

Just checked on Google Earth, the Coq. Pass is 27.9 mi. due east of my photo location.

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Can't speak for your how your roads are maintained in BC but sometimes a plowed road can be more of a problem than an unplowed one when descending a mountain.  The sunshines on it and the compressed snow left on the roads after plowing melts then later freezes.  Going downhill can be a nightmare with the ice.

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Agreed, wiiawiwb, good winter tires and a light foot on the brakes and gas are essential to staying on the road and upright in those conditions.

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Yes, in most cases, but my H3 has 4.56 axles and 4:1 transfer case, so it will lock the wheels when it gets too slippery, so low range second gear works for me. Chains really are a blessing when it gets that slick. I use the V-bar type on the rear, and they really bite in.

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BFF Donor

I'm curious: 

 

We've got folks on this thread living in snow country all over the continent. Can any of you legally run studded tires on your vehicles? We can in Alaska, and I still carry a set of chains when on a field trip in winter.

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Moderator
36 minutes ago, Huntster said:

Can any of you legally run studded tires on your vehicles?

 

Oregon ... Nov 1 - March 30.   There have been attempts to get rid of them but so far those have failed.

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BFF Donor
38 minutes ago, MIB said:

 

Oregon ... Nov 1 - March 30.   There have been attempts to get rid of them but so far those have failed.

 

Interesting! I wouldn't have thought Oregon would allow them. They also tried to ban them here, but that flew like a lead balloon. They were successful in banning steel studs, but a few years of soft studs caused a rebellion. We're back to steel. South of 60 degrees latitude have less allowable days, and even north of 60 degrees they're trying to pull back on the season. This photo was on Friday in Turnagain Pass @ 2500' elevation. I witnessed a Subaru lose control and hit the guard rail. I had my studded snow tires on my truck, carrying a heavy Bigfoot camper, and pulling @ 4000 lbs of trailer. He was going downhill, and I was climbing. My son-in-law sent a pic looking out their living room window in Anchorage on Saturday. It's full-on winter there. The state had a stud opening date this year of Oct. 1, but last week they had an emergency opening due to snow in Anchorage on Sept. 24, tying the record for earliest recordable snowfall set in 1981.

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