In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
Mia Creek: Hiking in the Jungle kills the knees
Like every good team event, we start with a warm-up game today. We have to show the right direction according to signals. Luckily the canoe tour to the Elk River delta is not difficult to navigate.
As opposed to what I am used to, traveling in two single canoes, today we travel in two canoes that are linked to each other by beams. A big advantage of this is the greater stability when the water is rough and arriving at our destination together.
Since the water in the lake has fallen by five meters due to little snow last winter and the rain that failed to appear, we can only paddle up the delta to a certain point. The view is still amazing and we start on a discovery tour of the delta. We quickly find a few wild chickens and the first bear poo. But we are still in the secondary forest. No big trees and little moss, so not a comfortable climate in this heat.
Still on the lookout for a bear, my camping mat neighbors Hannes and Benny as well as the other travelers get up early to search the delta with binoculars. Unfortunately all we saw was a bald eagle. Still no bear.
After an ample breakfast we finally start off toward the giant tress – something we have been looking forward to. Our goal: Through Mia Creek up to the Mia Falls. Climbing 800 meters in altitude over 5 kilometers doesn’t sound like much, but when you think that most of the path is finding one’s own way through the jungle, I can understand that our 13-person group still did not reach the falls after four hours of hiking. But we continue along slowly, with the attitude: “the journey is the destination”, amid huge Douglas firs, hemlock firs, red cedar, Sitka spruce and many, many other fantastic plants. Unfortunately about 1 kilometer from our goal, Mia Falls, we have to turn around because Katrin begins to have knee problems. No surprise after this climb. But it was a wonderful hike nevertheless. We all noticed one thing. Water is the soul of the forest. But the 10-centimeter thick moss only has a limited amount of moisture savings ability. Plant and animal life thrive much more closer to the river than in the rest of the forest. But tomorrow it’s supposed to rain again.
Still no bear photo, but with enthusiasm and excitement of seeing these huge trees, we begin our return on the next day. After two hours of tough paddling we arrive in the lodge just in time for lunch.
After a fantastic afternoon with drum builder Jorge and 11 new drums we fall into our beds, exhausted. We can’t wait to see what the next few days will bring.