BCP189 - Blueberry Hill
Posted: N54° 22.182' W110° 01.626'
MyGPSr: N54° 22.183' W110° 01.629'
I've had my eye on this cap for a long, long time. It promised a hike into unknown territory and a fun little "mini adventure". This morning, first thing, was finally the time to set out on that adventure.
I made my way out to the Cherry Grove area from Cold Lake towards rat root's parking coords. Well almost. This little backroad was plenty wet and mucky after recent rains so I parked as close as I could get and walked in.
At the trailhead at N54° 22.770' W110° 02.030' I found a huge pool of water and swampy forest on both sides of it. It took me a bit to make my way around all that but after I did it was the squish, squish, squish of now water-logged boots and "follow the quad trail" through the aspen forest. There were a few other nasty wet spots, but nothing that couldn't be skirted around pretty easily, and soon I'd arrived at N54° 22.618' W110° 01.364' where the quad trail meets with a very large pasture.
Another log mentioned "following the quad trail all the way to the cap" and I knew before I came there'd be a issue finding the extension of this trail on the south side of the pasture. Instead of traipsing around looking for it, I went with my Google Earth researched Plan A and made my way through open pastures instead. This might not be the most "upstanding" way to go, since obviously I was walking through someone's pasture, but it was the most logical, direct way to me. I see Sleepy_Hollow and Strider's Ride took this route as well. "On the shoulders of giants", right?
I made my way to and through a large opening in the fence at the end of the pasture at N54° 22.618' W110° 01.364, southwest along a cut line and then through gate at the north end of the field (N54° 22.431' W110° 01.844').
I was glad there were absolutely no cow sightings during my travels today. But what I did see was a couple of Sandhill Cranes in the middle of the field. A couple of other cappers have mentioned seeing the cranes, notably Black_Sharks about a year ago. I wonder if the same pair of cranes frequent this same pasture?
The cranes were loud. I've done a bit of research since and their call is likened to a "loud, rolling, trumpeting sound". When I heard them I thought of it being more like a "ratcheting sound", almost like a chain being winched up. It's certainly distinctive. And these things must be loud. I'm really deaf, and normally wear hearing aids, but even though I didn't have them in during this little hike, I heard the birds loud and clear. I know I was bothering them just by being there, but it was cool experience hearing them and seeing their long strutting gait as I made my way southwest.
Finally I reached another gate at the south end of the field ( N54° 22.190' W110° 01.851' ) where I rolled under the barbed wire fence since the gate was actually in the middle of a pool of water. The local cows wouldn't mind using that gate, but I did.
Then it was an approx. 250m walk straight east to the crest of Blueberry Hill to be greeted by an awesome view complete with the loud chorus of cicadas buzzing incessantly from the all sides. What a great spot!
The cap stands alone sans post right smack dab on the crest of the hill and is in excellent shape. After taking my cap pics and pics of the view on the horizon, I decided to simply to retrace my steps back to the parking spot instead of exploring the to me still fabled "follow the quad trail all the way to the cap" option. It was the devil I knew, if you know what I mean.
Thanks very much for the experience and, before today, all the "map dreaming" in the past before arriving. Sometimes that dreaming and the anticipation of the journey is just as much fun!
See an appended list of waypoints here...