14-Aug-2003 -- We decided to try for this confluence on our way home from holidays in NorthWestern BC. My maps showed that this confluence should be smack in the middle of logging territory. The confluence looked to be a couple of miles off of the main logging road for the area. I figured the chances were pretty good that someone had done some logging in the vicinity at some time.
I purchased a Kalum Forest District map while we were in Stewart and Hyder. That map showed the road we needed to take was called the Orenda Mainline. To get to that road we turned off of Hwy 37 at the Eisworth Camp. It turned out that to get to the Orenda road, one must actually drive through the logging camp. We never did find any sign indicating the name of the road. If it wasn’t for the help of the attendant at the store we would not have found the road.
The Orenda road is actually about 15 Km south of Meziadin Junction which itself is about 155 Km from Kitwanga (or Hwy 16). The attendant warned us that the road wasn’t much more than a trail. She was right, which is interesting considering it is the only road through the area.
My hopes were high when it was obvious that this area had already seen a large amount of logging. A significant amount of the logging and replanting had occurred due to a forest fire over 20 years before. However there weren’t a large number of side roads as most of the logging had been done from the road. The confluence was on the high side of the road, which had numerous hills and mountains, some of which showed no sign of logging. The confluence.org site listed this confluence as being around 2600 feet, which meant we were going to have to climb up one of these hills.
After about 10 Km we crossed over 56 degrees. Still no roads leading up the mountains. Lots of logging and new growth, but no access roads. Maybe this wasn’t going to be so easy after all. We drove on, and I identified a couple of places where we could hike up through some new growth areas before getting into the actual forest. After a couple of more Kilometers we crossed over the 129 degree mark. “There has to be a road going up at some time.”
Not long after crossing the 129 mark I noticed a new cut block peeking out from the mountain behind the hill we were driving beside. There had to be a road up there somewhere. But where the heck is it? At about the 14 Km mark I found the road. By now we were over 3 miles from the confluence. I sure hoped this road was long and went up. My crew doesn’t like walking up hill.
The road took us straight towards the confluence. However, after a mile or so it became impassable for our truck due to the deactivation activity which had taken place. We parked the truck about 2 miles away from the confluence. Now we had to hope that this road continued on for while longer.
Our hike started out in a new growth section which had seen a forest fire, however we quickly made our way into an unlogged area. From there we entered the newly logged area. It had probably been logged less than two years before, as it had not been burned or planted yet. We continued to follow the road which zig zagged through this logged cut block. The good news was that we were climbing very quickly. I much prefer to gain elevation before I get into the bush.
Near the top of the cut block the road continue up the mountain to the southeast. However we wanted to go to the North so our easy walking was now at an end. The GPS showed we were at about 2750 feet in elevation which hopefully meant we didn’t have too much more climbing to do.
After a few hundred foot walk through the logged area, we entered the “forest.” At least there didn’t appear to be a large amount of dead fall to walk through. Most of the forest was Cedar, Spruce, Pine and a large amount of Cottonwood. At this point we were about 3/4 of a mile from the confluence.
The hike through the bush wasn’t too tough. Either that or we are just getting better at walking through it. After some of the areas we have hiked through we didn’t see the need to complain. Of course that’s my opinion. I’m sure the “Crew” would describe it differently.
Most of the walk was spent going up and down hills, one of which was quite steep. On more than one occasion we had to walk through a wet area, usually with Devil’s Club to make the trip a little more fun.
At one point we very quickly walked through an area with a large amount of extremely fresh Bear Poop. Devil’s club or not we got the heck out of there, FAST! We didn’t bother to check the tracks to see if it was a Grizzly or not. No use losing one of the kids to a bear. I need them for trail marking.
About half way through the forest the GPS started to experience technical difficulties. Once again the Northern bush played hard ball while I tried to maintain a reading on the GPS. Every time I had to stop to try to get reception back I would ask the Crew to let me know which way our preferred direction was, such as NW. This almost became a game unto itself. Each member of the crew would point to a different direction. (they each had their own compass)
We ended up walking to the 129 degree line and then making our way to 56 degrees. This meant that we had a longer walk in the bush, but it made the compass work easier, which as previously stated, appears to still need some work.
The confluence was located on a small flat area, located on the side of a hill. It was surrounded by lots of forest and bush. Of course this meant I had to use all the dance steps I know of to get the actual location. Keeping a reading for more then a few seconds was a chore unto itself.
The trek back to the truck was a little challenging as the sun had now started to descend from the sky. This meant our trail markers were a lot harder to see. However the crew had done a pretty good job of making sure the trail was well marked. Total time for the trip from truck to confluence return was 3 1/2 hours. More than half of which was spent in the bush.
Elevation was 2648 feet.