GDT Day 36 – getting off the road

Mileage: 14.8 km (Amiswki Ridge Alt, accounting for dropping onto the road early, Road on official GDT and the Collie Creek Alt)

Today we started on the Amiswki Ridge alternate at our campsite a few hundred meters past the Amiswki Lodge.

I woke up this morning thinking about the stars I could see last night from our tent and my thoughts immediately shifted to how cold I still was.

I slept last night in my poofy hoodie (with the hood on) and was toasty warm but man, the air is cold! The inside of the tent was covered in condensation from camping on the meadow. Still, it sure was pretty outside.

We had a pretty efficient morning. It was another 5:40 am wake ups from Toothless. This time he wanted up.

We packed up and got moving I think just before 8am. I kept my poofy hoodie on…

The climb up to the ridge was easy and gradual. The views just kept getting bigger.

Once we had gained elevation the walking was mostly easy and breathtaking. Relatively wide, flat ridges with huge views. It was pretty quick and easy and Toothless slept for much of the first part of the morning snuggled in his poofy pants, toque and hoodie. It was a little cold still but the little guy was toasty and comfy all bundled up. Natasha and I kept our dance pants on. I had my poofy hoodie on and Natasha put her rain jacket on to block the wind when we stopped for a break.

Eventually we had to get off the ridge and head downhill. This is something this alternate thankfully puts off a lot longer than the main route on the road (that’s kinda the whole point!). On the road you spend the whole day descending. On the alternate, the drop off the ridge was initially gentle and the trees spaces far apart so the “bushwack” was not very brushy. Then the walk down is a bit steep (but stable and steady) and you lose elevation quickly.

The route eventually goes alongside a clear cut, which just devastates everything nearby. Once you get sucked in its hard to get out. We tried to go back into the trees but there is a lot of deadfall within 50m of the edge of the clear-cut and this makes it challenging to get out. The clear-cut itself is terrible to walk through but was only a little more than 100m from the road so we went down that.

We then walked the road for a couple kilometers until the next alternate (Collie Creek Alternate). At this point my right ankle was in pain – I had hurt it road walking into Field and it’s still swollen and stiff. Walking on road and over the clear-cut debris makes it hurt and get stiff. It seems to loosen up on good trail. It was almost gone when we left Field but the old road and tripping on the brush on the Amiswki route seemed to have made it flare up.

So we took a lunch break on the road before continuing on. I took an Advil and stretched my leg.

With my ankle feeling a little better we headed into the Collie Creek Alternate. I was happy that the first 100m that was destroyed from a clear cut was easy to navigate and walk. The rest of the trail was in okay shape and pleasant walking. First down to the creek, then along the floodplain, then inland and finally along the Blaeberry River (sometimes crossing small braids) before crossing a bridge and finishing at the rec site where we are camping.

I am super pleased with the two alternates we took today. The road is easy, but not very entertaining (I listened to sooooo many Podcasts in 2018) and would have likely made my ankle hurt really bad. The alternates today are shorter, better walking, better views and a heck of a lot more fun.

Tonight at camp was to the point. Toothless and I ate. I took him to the tent and set up the bed while Natasha ate. Natasha hung the food bags and came back to the tent. We did bedtime routine and Toothless fell asleep quickly.

It turns out we are getting ahead of schedule again so we need to figure that out. Maybe I can get a full zero day to get to get the swelling down in my ankle before we head up Owen Creek (North of Sask Crossing).

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