A blast from the Past

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Mara mountain -park at red circle

When I’ve missed an entry or two in my blog it is because I am busy with either – working at the computer (working on databases or websites for clients) or I am off hiking (working off the weight I put on while grazing at the keyboard).

This past couple of days has been a bit of both. Yesterday my buddy Gerry Shea and I went for a hike up Mara mountain. Yes the same Gerry Shea who is the noted author (whose first book should hit the shelves in a couple of months) and longtime chum whom I have known since “peace” and “far out” were considered “hip”.

Anyhow, Gerry and I agreed that an easy hike was in order for a couple of old guys coming out of hibernation so we decided upon Mara Mountain. Mara is within the LacDuBois Provincial Park and is a great place for people looking for a hike close at hand. Admittedly, Gerry and my ideas of what constitute “easy” may differ considerably from that of the reader and you should make your own determination as to whether or not you should attempt the hike.

Getting there is easy if you have a 4×4 with high clearance and no fear of heights. The road to our jumping off point is not maintained and I think the plan is to eventually let it get so bad that people just quit using it. Which is fine by me but until then I will make use of it. To get to this road, turn north off of the Red Lake Road just after the railroad tracks and stay on the dirt track until you come to your first cattle guard. Park off the road but don’t venture onto the grasslands as that’s what the park is here to protect.

There is no trail or route to Mara and you can just head off towards the peak. Mountain climbing is great for the directionally challenged – as long as you are going up you are going in the right direction. Coming down is a bit more challenging: while mountains have only one peak, they have an infinite number of points that could be considered their base. Please remember where you parked your vehicle.

If you approach the peak from the west side you should be alright. Getting too far to the south will put you into some very tough terrain and you may fall to your untimely demise – or get some real bad boo-boos as you tumble off the not too stable side-slopes.

Take lots of water especially from about January-December as these are the dry months in Kamloops.

While it is an arid area there is still lots to see. Over the years I have seen: mule deer, bighorn sheep, coyotes, gopher snakes, rattlesnakes, chukar, blue grouse, eagles, all types of songbirds, wood ticks and – “wait a minute, did you say woodticks” interjected the attentive reader.

“Yep, woodticks” replied the sage old mountain man as he picked one of the creepy crawlies from his neck as if to make an exclamation point with the squirming arachnid. Wood ticks are in good numbers in the Kamloops grasslands and one should watch out for them from about March through June. While I haven’t been killed by one yet, they do carry a lot of nasty diseases and you should be careful to ensure that you are properly de-ticked at the end of a hike.

Our hike yielded no wood ticks and few photos as it stay gray and gloomy until we got back to the vehicle. Maybe we’ll see you out there hiking around some day.

Gerry on bluff looking at Kamloops lake

(above)Gerry taking more pictures of grasslands 
(below) Me walking softly and carrying a big stick

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