BCP189 Blueberry Hill
Lesson: When someone recommends a clear route in a log and especially when you decide it's a good plan, you really should stick with it.
The parking coords and the quad trail mentioned by previous finders were helpful for non-locals, thank you. There had been rain in the morning and a light sprinkle as we drove out, but there were no real serious looking clouds--we just packed rain gear. This cap held considerable appeal and we calculated that we had lots of time to get it before meeting friends for a BBQ and it would be our last opportunity before leaving. We parked where the quad trail crossed the road and started down the trail. However, when the GPS arrow swung past three o'clock and there seemed no promising turn on the trail ahead and not wanting to be late for the BBQ we decided we needed to be more direct. No time for wild tangents. So into a trailside clearing, down a little animal path, a little light bushwacking, across an open pasture, another small path, pathless portions, up a hill. Wrong hill. More of the same down that wooded hill and a winding trek up the next treed hill following animal trails when they served us, then making our own way until another trail was going our direction. It wasn't hard bushwacking but we were really feeling the high humidity. The numbers kept getting smaller, though, so we were clearly making progress.
Finally, we emerged on a hilltop, but the promised view was nowhere to be seen. But there was that quad trail again and it was just a short distance down it and the grand vista was laid out in front of us! Wow! This made it all worth it! We had brought all the capping gear that was easy to carry this distance but the only thing that made it out of the bag was our photogenic little shark! We didn't even wipe the cap off with our hand or pull a single blade of grass. We quickly took photos of the cap and the view, nibbled on a few saskatoons from tiny little bushes, gazed at the view and briefly searched in vain for blueberries. We had taken longer than expected to get here and we sadly turned our backs on the view.
We (wisely) decided that if we had any hope of being back in time for supper we had to return on the quad trail. The route took us directly down the hill which was slow going because recent rains and a lot of cow traffic had made it muddy and slippery. We often chose side routes the cows had made around the worst spots; they don't like slipping in the mud any more than people do. The rest of the route was easy and flat. Each time we crossed the pasture we pushed an impressive bow wave of dozens of small grasshoppers jumping ahead of us. On our return we had barely got the wave going when we heard loud squawking. We looked across the field to see two very large birds in the distance to one side. For the second time on this hike we were sorry we'd forgotten the binoculars. However, after studying the pictures we took, we are sure the birds were Sandhill Cranes--a very exciting first sighting for us!! We wish we might have been closer for a better look but considering that they periodically spread their large wings and leapt into the air, a threatening move towards predators according to our research, maybe not. They kept their distance as we moved across the pasture and their squawking continued non-stop until we had gone through the gate and were well down the trail and out of sight.