Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Near Perfect Sunday Part I

NOTE:  This is a column I wrote for the Kings County Record which appeared in the June 21st edition.  My brother and I had an amazing afternoon hike across some well forested, deeply carved hills.  It was a very rewarding day that left us in awe of the great  Trout Creek valley in which we get to live.  Every time I explore a new wilderness in this area I find something beautiful and scenic and if you live in this area, I strongly encourage you to get out there and explore, no matter how old or young you are.

Sometimes all the planning in the world just doesn't prepare you for your day.  You can pull all your maps together and plan a great route.  You can pack all the gear you need and the food to see you through.  You get the right team together and organize drives and meeting times but still it all falls apart.  Every now and then though it exceeds all your expectations and a near perfect day results. 

The view from Friar's Nose looking across the Parlee Brook Valley.
  Two Sundays ago my brother and I had planned a day hike across the Parlee Brook watershed, a distance of 11.6km.  We planned to bush whack along ridges and down small streams from Friar's Nose to Hawkes' Bridge on the Trout Creek.  It had been sometime since my brother and I had been out together on a hike and neither of us had followed the route we laid out before so we were both excited and edgy about what the day would hold.

Even small wonders were amplified on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.
It was sunny with a light breeze as we reached Friar's Nose and we took a moment to enjoy this familiar, yet inspiring location.  The Nose is one of those places you have to see to fully appreciate.  From the open rock face we started a steep descent over the south east face of the Nose.  We followed a dry stream bed until suddenly it was a babbling stream.  Shortly it entered into Purtill Spring Brook which we only descended for a short distance before climbing a steep ridge.  Using my GPS we navigated towards what we hoped would be another rock face.

At the top of this unnamed ridge there were 5 raptors floating on thermals.
The climb up this ridge was steep and required some scrambling on all fours just to stay upright.  The hard work paid off as we managed to find our way to a high rock ledge which looked southward over a forested valley as a number of raptors flew below us.  We sat for a time and took in this new vista, scanned the area with our binoculars and snapped a few pictures.  We would have stayed longer but the black flies were pushing us off the ledge.

A small shelf acted like a walkway that led directly behind the falls.
The next leg of the hike took us from the Purtill Brook drainage and into the main stem Parlee Brook drainage area.  We planned on accessing Parlee Brook via a small tributary that flowed off the east side of the Donaldson Road.  On the map there appeared to be nothing special about the stream but we were in for a great surprise.  As we worked our way down the stream the valley became steeply incised and we scrambled over some small chutes.  Suddenly we looked down over a 20-30' drop off and we had to work our way out of the ravine and around the drop off.  As we did this we noticed that a rock shelf led back towards the bottom of the drop and we were able to walk directly behind the waterfall.  It was a great discovery for the both of us and a spot we will be sure to bring others who will appreciate it in the future. 

I had to get my brother to snap this shot of me beside the small falls
We lingered at the newly found waterfall for a while and quietly enjoyed each others company and the natural beauty God put in front of us.  Maybe the best part of the moment was that the day was only half over and we couldn't wait to see what else He had in store for us on this near perfect Sunday.  You'll have to wait for my next column to hear about it though.

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