Talking to my friend Mary Whitley, a fellow explorer, we started discussing how many trails we had found this summer that we did not even know existed. She was finding them on her side of town around Mount Lorne, and I was finding them on mine around the Mendenhall Subdivision.
So, on one of those balmy 9ºC plus-days in October, I came to her side of town to explore the area around Mount Lorne. She had seen a possible trail from the air, but had not been able to locate the start of it.
A forest is so much bigger than an open field of the same size. A forest contains all sorts of secrets that one would see instantly in an open field. In a forest, it is not always even something that is visible from the air; such are secret trails.
After much explaining and consulting maps, we decided to approach the mountain from the Robinson Subdivision.
As we drive towards it from Whitehorse, it seems sensible to check out some of the roads going east from the south Klondike Highway, to see where and how far they lead towards the mountain (Mount Lorne). The foothills from the mountain come closer to the highway farther north.
We drive into the CCC Road, wondering if it was actually a road built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Anyway, thinking it will soon come to an end, the road goes higher and becomes narrower. After almost 5 km, we get out and decide, being so far in, we might as well hike from here.
There are several bush roads. We choose the one going up and west towards our mountain. The road we follow becomes an old creek bed with giant stumps from trees cut long ago. Suddenly, no trail in sight, we are in a big camp where they left us two beers, the cans faded. From the camp, we follow the creek bed higher and get on its south – now high-bank – side.
And this is what it is about, this love of surprise trails. We find ourselves on a narrow, perfect path created by nature, used more by animals than people. There are steep slopes on either side. It doesn’t really matter that we never find the path we were originally looking for.
Still some navigating and bushwhacking through buckbrush is necessary to bring us to a higher ridge. We cross a gully where there is even more traffic in the form of moose and caribou signs.
And the forest gifts us the biggest fir tree we have ever seen in the Yukon. We have our lunch at a 360 degree view point, the city behind us. We face Mount Lorne from our high vantage point. Being above the trees, some of its secrets are calling to us. Yet, there is still no sign of the trail we came out to find.
On the way back, bushwhacking easier, as gravity is on our side, the found-trails sometimes elude us, the beer tastes okay. Thank you, forest, and all your hidden secrets.