Booter required

In this case I think the picture says it all.

tamarack trail birds hill park

After wasting about half an hour to try and figure out where the trail actually starts. In this case, you need to walk about 200 yards across an open field and then wander along the edge of the brush until you find the sign for the trail. Today’s trail being Tamarac. With the other trails I’ve been on in the park, there was always a trail sign within sight of the map board showing trails nearby, this was obviously not the case with Tamarac.

The trail reminded me of the time I spent tree planting in Northern Alberta. The 10 – 12 hour days spent more often than not by myself walking up and back a section of bush planting tree after tree. Step step step, shovel in, forward a bit, back a bit, seedling over the hole, sweeping motion to put it upright, no jplug, kick with the heel to remove air pocket, step step step…

And then I came upon it. About 4 miles into the hike, the bog appeared. I studied the 50 or so meters ahead that I could see for a few minutes. Checked the right and left sides for the best route around before settling on the right side (which worked for me last week on another trail that became impassible due to bogginess). To be honest, it didn’t look very promising from the beginning, simply because I didn’t see a lot of dry ground through the brush, only bumpy tall grass and a few trees. As it turned out, and as I suspected, it was nothing but bogginess in the brush as well. I did my best to avoid the water, stepping from fallen tree, to stump, to fallen tree, to *crack*. There goes one shoe, step, stretch step, no more options, other shoe wet.

So I just headed back to trail in defeat, but happy to going at a faster pace. As it turns out, my effort to skirt the trail ahead would have been fruitless, as that 50 meters turned into about a mile of numerous bodies of water covering the trail. Many booters were had, some as deep as my knee, some icy cold, and all very wet.

Perhaps if I had known that there was a mile of bog halfway through the trail I wouldn’t have taken that trail, waiting instead for it to dry up before heading down Tamarac. Perhaps taking Birch or Chickadee, two trails I am well familiar with, and which have been wet when it’s been raining outside. But had I have done that, I also would have missed out on the fond memories of Northern Alberta, memories that eclipsed the downside of booter alley!

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