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Untouchable.
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MuStash



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 108
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Jan 11, 2007 2:24 am    Post subject: RE: Untouchable. Reply with quote

A few random thoughts about Untouchable following my sortie yesterday:



- I had scouted a short distance up this trail system last winter
without snowshoes. When I saw this forum discussion, I was motivated to
enjoy a longer hike in the area with snowshoes and share any bits of
my experience that might be helpful. (I am definitely NOT an expert)



- I think the hike north from where I stopped or where Roger and Lorne parked
the ATV will be very difficult in any season. After all there was a reason M.I.
chose that location. In winter, I think it would be wise to be prepared to strap
your snowshoes to your back for some significant ridge climbs and bushwacks.



- The northern half of this hike will be very slow. So a winter expedition
would need to start hiking early in the day to have enough light for the round trip.
With that in mind, one scenario could be to arrive the day before and stay
the night at Nopiming Lodge (they have a website) which is about 2 km west of
the Tulibee Lake campground.



- On my hike yesterday and when I did the Meditation Lake Cache, I was testing
my GPSr's performance for longer periods in freezing temperatures and
learned something for real that was just an idea before. Both times I started
with a brand new pair of alkaline double AAs that in summer will give me
at least 10 hours of juice. I like to have my GPSr strapped to the front strap
of my backpack so that it gets good reception and can record my track and it's handy
whenever I want to refer to it. Well in that exposed position, the batteries
gave up the ghost shortly after the 2 hour mark! When I got home and the batteries
were warmed up, they actually had a lot of life left in them; they had simply
gotten too cold to function. The point being that a winter hike to Untouchable
will require special attention to the warmth of batteries and GPSr.



- I find that old hockey sticks with the blades sawn off make great walking sticks
and can be used to fend off any frisky Sasquatches you might meet. (cheap too)



- I haven't convinced myself that I have the physical strength to
walk that round trip in winter. Not sure what my next move, if any, will be.



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Dragonfreys



Joined: 12 Feb 2006
Posts: 364
Location: Manitoba-Westman

PostPosted: Jan 14, 2007 4:13 am    Post subject: Nopiming Lodge Reply with quote

Hmm, this might work out perfectly.



http://www.nopiminglodge.com/Wintr_pakages/wintrpak_1.htm



You get a cabin with a hot tub and use of a snow machine. I'm still trying to track down their snowmobile trails map, as it sounds like there are trails every where there and perhaps even closer to 'untouchable' than in previous years.



Wonder how many cachers we can pack into the cabin?





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MuStash



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 108
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Jan 14, 2007 5:34 pm    Post subject: RE: Untouchable. Reply with quote

I had a strange dream last night...



A geocaching event called "Touch the Untouchable" was being held at Nopiming Lodge. (The event name having nothing to do with the hot tub or number of cachers packed in the cabin.)



A parade of snowmobiles was running non-stop to the Untouchable Cache, passing me as I trudged along on my snowshoes, on the brink of a hypothermic demise.



I was Last To Find and decided to take the cache container back to civilization as a favour to M.I.  



Fast forward to ... the next MBGA pub crawl and there's a mob of cachers getting their pictures taken Touching the Untouchable and M.I. shows up in Rambo outfit to reclaim his cache.



And then BOOM... I wake up! 



 



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Dragonfreys



Joined: 12 Feb 2006
Posts: 364
Location: Manitoba-Westman

PostPosted: Jan 14, 2007 6:30 pm    Post subject: Foreshadowing Reply with quote

Interestingly enough, that is the exact name that grnbrg was thinking of for a June event, but I think we may be close to talking him into coming when there are fewer bugs and cold water to deal with.



Yes, it would be probably be insulting to both MI and Stuntman if we were to turn this one into a drive up cache. We don't want to make it too easy anyway. A 4 km bushwack snowshoe over rocks and across lakes is probably just the right amount of challenge to make this one memorable. I was thinking of calling up the lodge to see what kind of rate we could get and I noticed that they have a snowshoe group and lots of local knowledge so they can probably give us some advice on the quest.



MuStash, if you don't have this one by the last weekend in February you should definitely come with us so that this cache doesn't haunt your dreams forever.



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MuStash



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 108
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Jan 14, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: RE: Untouchable. Reply with quote

Thanks for the invite. I'll probably take you up on it.



I doubt that I'll get all the way in there before the end of Feb. Between the terrain and the weather, I don't take it lightly. I am considering another scouting trip to check out one trail that I didn't notice until on my way out and only had time to explore a short distance. But, conditions would have to be right. 



In the meantime, it's all part of the fun of the hunt.  



p.s. Thanks for mentioning the 1/50,000 topo overlays to Google Earth. I've been using Google Earth and Magellan topos separately for different things. But to be able to overlay the topo on Google Earth is really great. 



-- Edited by mustash at 13:29, 2007-01-14

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Master Instigator



Joined: 19 Jan 2005
Posts: 20
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Jan 15, 2007 2:59 am    Post subject: RE: Untouchable. Reply with quote

The whole family went out to the cabin this weekend, and even though it was cold I thought I would make the trudge out to check my Untouchable cache since it looks like a convoy of cachers still want to claim it.  My Mother and Wife thought I was crazy to go out in this weather, but once I have my mind set not much will change it.



 



I took my snowshoes, some water, survival gear and my .22 and hopped on the quad and headed out.  I got as far as I could with the 2x4 beast and threw on my snowshoes and started walking.  I figured the easiest although not the quickest way would be to take the lakes to keep it level.  I crossed the first un-named lake and started into the creek and was really enjoying my walk and marveling over how much easier it is with snowshoes when I noticed tracks up ahead. 



 



When I came up to the first set of tracks I wasn’t surprised to see that they were wolf, but I could see that there were more and more of them developing further up the creek.  I continued on and curiosity got the best of me, and ended up following them in 50 yards from the creek when I came across the carcass of a young doe.  By the looks of it they had probably downed it the night before.  This made me a little weary, because I knew that they probably aren’t too far away; and possibly even watching me.  I decided that this was as far as I was willing to go and I started to head back home. 



 



I got onto the creek and started following my tracks back.  I must have walked about 200 yards down the frozen stream when an eerie feeling came over me and I looked over my shoulder.  Nothing, hum...I turned my head back and for a second I thought I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.  When I went for the double take already there were seven wolves on the ice running my way off the same trail I just used not 5 minutes ago.  I felt a lump rise and choke my throat, and a shiver went down my spine like none I have ever felt before.  I knew right way that they were not just curious but were heading toward me for a kill by the way the pack started to fan out.  I have run into wolves in the warm months but with the first sight of a man they vanish in a flash, but this was different, frighteningly different. 



 



I immediately started to struggle to remove my backpack that housed my .22 off of my heavy parka.  In my struggle I ended up tripping over my God dam snowshoes that I was praising earlier.  While lying on the snow-covered ice I ended up managing to remove my backpack and unclip my low caliber rifle.  I let the first shot off into the air, but with the wide open sky and not much surrounding bush to create an echo the sound was more like a pop from bubble wrap.  I shouldered the rifle and let my second one go right at the heels of the on coming pack and they stopped dead in their tracks.  25 yards separated them from me.  A couple more seconds fumbling with my pack would have made a life altering difference. 



 



They only glared at me waiting for my move, as if we were in strategic game of chess.  My move was simple I let off another shot right in-between the legs of the largest one, and the explosion of snow behind him sent the pack flailing in all directions.  A fourth shot was made at the frightened dogs just to make sure that any courage they had was dead.  After the sight of the last wolfs tail flicker into the bush a tidal wave of emotions came crashing over me and I started to shake, and I couldn’t stop.  Even now as I sit here typing down my surreal experience I have to constantly fix errors that my trembling fingers are creating.  I felt I was lame as I attempted to get back on my feet again.  I remember thinking, “Why the heck are my legs not working?” with “heck” being the replacement word. 



 

When I managed to get up and shoulder my pack the first few steps were wavered and slow, but I soon started to gain momentum and headed back.  With the much quickened pace and the constant looks over my shoulder I made it back to my quad in about half the time it took me to get as far as I did.  I had made the decision before not to go until spring and I should have stuck with that decision, but as of now I will not return to remove my container until summer and I will not be traveling alone this time.  To those that are planning to go in February please make the same smart decision I made, probably the smartest decision I have ever made, and pack a rifle.  Just like me, you never know. If it will be ruse.

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burchil



Joined: 26 Jun 2005
Posts: 108
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Jan 15, 2007 3:18 am    Post subject: RE: Untouchable. Reply with quote

It was just this summer that I started to hear that 'Whiteshell' wolves were more numerous and some packs were becoming more aggressive towards humans.  Thanks for the story - good thing for me to keep in mind since I often travel alone. 

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MuStash



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 108
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Jan 15, 2007 3:47 am    Post subject: RE: Untouchable. Reply with quote

Yes, it's tough country!



I have been carrying bear bangers on my hikes. When you launch one of them they sound like a shot gun. A terrific boom. They won't kill anything but they make the wildlife run. From the first hand stories I've heard they are effective, but I've never had to use them under duress.



Did I mention how much I like to watch hockey on TV?



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Dragonfreys



Joined: 12 Feb 2006
Posts: 364
Location: Manitoba-Westman

PostPosted: Jan 15, 2007 8:38 pm    Post subject: Wolf attack perspective Reply with quote

Interesting experience.



I found this information interesting as well: http://www.wildsentry.org/WolfAttack.html



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Dragonfreys



Joined: 12 Feb 2006
Posts: 364
Location: Manitoba-Westman

PostPosted: Jan 16, 2007 4:17 am    Post subject: RE: Nopiming Lodge Reply with quote

Well, I got a call back from the lodge and it looks like they are booked solid until the March 9th weekend. Do we want to wait until then or look at getting something in Lac du Bonnet? There are a few other caches in the neighbourhood that may warrant some side trips as well if we are ambitious. We could set up and winter camp, but that usually takes more time to get going in the morning. Or we could drive from various places early and start around 8 pm from the trailhead.



Sounds like the ice conditions on the creeks and lakes are good and solid this year. There may be access to the Untouchable Lake from the west. We may even be lucky enough to see some wolves.



Let me know what you think, even if you are sitting on the fence about going.





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FoodNinja



Joined: 28 Jun 2006
Posts: 109
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Jan 16, 2007 12:25 pm    Post subject: RE: Untouchable. Reply with quote

Non Fence sitter, saying will most likley attend. Ironed out the details with the mrs, alls I have to do is complete the Honeydo list before the event. Looking forward to it!

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slippery_1



Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 228
Location: Manitoba

PostPosted: Jan 16, 2007 9:53 pm    Post subject: RE: Untouchable. Reply with quote

"Honeydo List"



 



Too Funny....an how do we say...whispers...(wipped)?



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TheStuntman
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PostPosted: Jan 16, 2007 11:40 pm    Post subject: RE: Untouchable. Reply with quote

By the time you guys have discussed this topic to death, Mustash, M.I. or myself will be in and out with the cache in hand.
What am I saying ...Set a date or you may be upstaged.

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Dragonfreys



Joined: 12 Feb 2006
Posts: 364
Location: Manitoba-Westman

PostPosted: Jan 17, 2007 3:33 pm    Post subject: RE: Wolves Reply with quote

This is a bit of a long read, but some interesting information none the less. When I lived in the Yukon I did an interpretive program on wolves and after one presentation a pair of Americans who had been hiking in Alaska came up afterwards very worried because they decided to see what the wolves were eating by tasting their scat. As you can see below that is very risky behaviour.



Article/Valerius Geist                                                     
Professor Emeritus of Environmental 
Science, the University of Calgary 
      
      SOME INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE IN AREAS WHERE WOLVES HAVE BECOME COMMON
      On November the 8th, 2005, a 22-year-old third-year geological engineering
      student at the University of Waterloo by the name of Kenton Joel Carnegie,
      was killed by four wolves at Points North Landing, Wollaston Lake area, in
      northern Saskatchewan. This case is unique in that it is the first direct
      human fatality from a wolf attack in North America in recent times. There
      have been people bitten by rabid wolves and killed, but such kills “do not
      count” as it is the rabies virus, not the wolf-bite that killed.
      Fresh snow allowed accurate track reading. Mr. Carnegie was by himself
      when he was approached by the wolves from behind. He fell three times
      before failing to rise. There have been other attacks in Canada,
      historical and recent. Mr. Fred Desjarlais was recently attacked and
      wounded by a wolf in Northern Saskatchewan. There are also unreported
      recent attacks by wolves in Saskatchewan, one of which I was informed on
      in some detail. A local rancher was attacked by three wolves while deer
      hunting. He killed two.
      We are aware that the four wolves in question had been observed and
      photographed by others, and that Mr. Carnegie was aware of this.
      Unfortunately, neither he nor those who discussed the matter with him, as
      reported on by the Saskatoon Star phoenix of Nov. 14th 2005, were aware
      that tame and inquisitive wolves are a signal of danger. Consequently, the
      first requirement is that the general public, but especially out-doors-men
      be informed that when they see tame, inquisitive wolves, that they get out
      of there quick, but without undue haste, while being prepared to defend
      themselves. Running away invites an attack.
      Why are tame and inquisitive wolves a sign of danger?
      When wolves are well-fed, they are – extremely – shy, and avoid humans. In
      my days in the northern wilderness I have seen wolves panic repeatedly
      when they crossed my track or got my scent. We have other observations
      indicating that wolves are normally very cautious. However, when wolves
      run out of their preferred prey, they begin to explore alternative prey.
      They do so very cautiously, and over an extended time period. This
      exploration for an alternative food is manifest in wolves becoming –
      increasingly - tame and inquisitive. My neighbors, my wife and I have had
      experiences in recent years with one wolf pack which ran out of prey and
      shifted its attention onto farms and suburbs. I have been investigated
      three times in the open by wolves, the same wolves threatened my wife
      twice, once on our door step, the same wolves attacked and killed neighbor
      dogs, followed riders and “nibbled at” and killed livestock. They explored
      my neighbor’s dairy cows by docking tails, slashing ears and cutting
      hocks. Other Vancouver Island wolves went on to explore humans by licked,
      nipping and tearing clothing (in a camp site on Vargas Island near Tofino)
      weeks before attacking and severely wounding a camper, Scott Lavigne, July
      2nd, 2000. He was saved from the attack by fellow campers Jim Beatty,
      Vancouver Sun pp. A1-2, July 5th 2000). The bottom line is, when wolves
      appear tame, stare at you and follow you they are investigating you - and
      it’s quite likely with lunch in mind.
      A confounding factor is refuse about human habitations. Wolves drawn by
      hunger due to declining natural prey to human habitations, inevitably, run
      into garbage and refuse. Feeding on such can become a habit which leads to
      the habituation of wolves to people. Such wolves may not be particularly
      hungry when they extend their exploration of alternative foods to humans.
      Two wolves killed after the attack on the camper on Vargas Island were
      full of deer fawns. This suggests that habituated wolves my attack without
      being hungry. The bottom line: tame and inquisitive wolves are dangerous
      no matter how they became tame and inquisitive.
      The argument, that there is little danger from wolves because they have
      rarely attacked humans in North America, is fallacious. There are very
      good reasons why wolves in North America, as opposed to Europe, have
      attacked people rarely. In the past decades we have experienced in North
      America a unique situation: we had a recovery of wildlife. Few North
      Americans are aware today that a century ago North America’s wildlife was
      largely decimated and that it took a lot of effort to bring wildlife back.
      This restoration of North America’s wildlife, and thus this continent’s
      biodiversity, is probably the greatest environmental success story of the
      20th Century. Such a recovery begins with an increase in herbivores. It is
      followed after a lag-time by an increase in predators. While predators are
      scarce, and herbivores are abundant, wolves are well fed. Consequently
      they are very large in body size, but also very shy of people. We expect
      to see then no tame or inquisitive wolves. Wolves are seen rarely under
      such conditions, fostering the romantic image of wolves so prevalent in
      North America today. However, when herbivore numbers decline while wolf
      numbers rise, we expect wolves to disperse and begin exploring for new
      prey. That’s when tame, inquisitive wolves appear.
      How do we know?
      Firstly, because wolves have been raised by scientists in captivity, we
      have developed a detailed understanding about how wolves explore novelty.
      This information is discussed by colleagues in my profession. I am an
      ethologist, that is, a student of animal behavior. In my profession
      becoming acquainted with how animals habituate is essential to surviving
      field work with tame animals unscathed. Secondly, I have had personal
      experiences with a wolf pack that settled about our house on Vancouver
      Island for four years, ran out of prey and gravitated to farms and
      suburbs. I wrote down the experiences of my neighbors, my wife and myself
      as these wolves were, for the first time to my knowledge, not acting like
      recent North American wolves. Rather, they acted as if they were Russian
      wolves. I penned a letter on this to Erich Klinghammer of Wolf Park,
      Illinois, a veteran wolf biologist; the letter was published by the
      Virgina Wildlifer (May 2003 issue pp. 39-43). Thirdly, I am editing a book
      on Russian wolves written by a linguist, Will Graves, who worked as
      translator in Moscow for the US armed forces. The Russian experience
      delineates with considerable precision when wolves become dangerous.
      Fourthly, the book by Heptner et al. on the Mammals of the USSR has now
      been translated in to English by the Smithsonian Institute, and is
      consequently available in English. Read the section on wolves! Ironically,
      the experience of the Russians is similar to that of American pioneers as
      recorded in some detail by Stanley P. Young (1946. The Wolf in North
      American History. Idaho: Caxton). That wolves can pose a lethal threat is,
      therefore, not a Red Riding hood Fairytale.
      One cannot defend the current romantic notions about harmless, friendly,
      cuddly wolves! It is necessary that the public be informed that there
      exists a large amount of experience and information to the contrary. And
      the public should know the signs of danger before heading into the wilds.
      And tame, inquisitive wolves are one such sign!
      Unfortunately, that’s not all one should be aware of when doing outdoor
      activities in areas with increasing wolf populations. Expanding wolf
      populations will, invariably, begin to overlap regions in which small
      predators carry rabies. Consequently, it becomes likely that some wolves
      become infected with rabies. Such wolves are highly dangerous, not only
      because in their mental derangement they become exceedingly aggressive
      inflicting deep, multiple bite wounds, but also because the bite of a
      rabid wolf is lethal – unless treated quickly. Anyone bitten by a rabid
      wolf needs to get to a hospital very quickly for treatment. In the past
      lethal control of wolf populations was the response to rabid wolves in
      Canada. However, that’s after the fact! How to deal with this potential
      problem before the fact is the crux of the matter. Not going out alone,
      carrying arms and a cell phone may be part of the answer.
      And here is a third concern without a simple solution. As indicated
      earlier, as a landscape is re-colonized by wildlife, herbivores are
      followed with some lag by carnivores, which in turn are followed after a
      longer delay by the pathogens and parasites. Some of these require both,
      herbivores and carnivores, to complete their life cycle. If we generate
      dense wolf populations then it is inevitable that such lethal diseases as
      Hydatid disease become established. This disease is based on a tiny tape
      worm (Echinococcus granulosus) which lives in the gut of canids –wolves,
      domestic dogs, coyotes - in great multitudes. It produces tiny eggs which
      are passed out in large volume in the feces of infected canids. Normally
      these tiny eggs spread out on forage consumed by deer, elk, moose etc.
      Once ingested the eggs develop into big cysts in the lung, liver or brain
      of the infected herbivore. Each cyst contains huge numbers of tiny
      tape-worm heads. The disease kills the host outright or makes it
      susceptible to predation. When it’s lungs or liver are consumed by wolves,
      dogs or coyotes, cysts included, the tiny tapeworms are freed, attach
      themselves to the gut, and grow and produce eggs, closing the cycle.
      Humans pick up the disease from the fur of infected wolves, dogs or
      coyotes they handle, or from the feces they disturb. Wolf scat can be
      contaminated with millions upon millions of tiny tape worm eggs. These
      eggs, like fine dust, can become readily air born and landing on hands and
      mouth. The larvae move into major capillary beds – liver, lung, brain –
      where they develop into large cysts full of tiny tape worm heads. These
      cysts can kill infected persons unless they are removed surgically. It
      consequently behooves us (a) to insure that this disease does not become
      wide spread, and (b) that hunters and guided know that wolf scats and
      coyote scats should never be touched or kicked. Therefore, do not touch or
      kick wolf feces – on principle! Avoid it and do not disturb. (c) In areas
      with Echinococcus skinning of wolves and coyotes must be done with grate
      care using gloves and masks! (d) Never feed the offal from deer, elk and
      moose to domestic dogs! If the gut of the domestic dog is filled with
      Echinococcus tape worms, then the house and yard in which the dog lives
      will become infected with the deadly tape worm eggs. These can then
      develop into big cysts in humans using said habitation. Ranches are
      especially endangered.
      There are still other diseases which will spread with “completion of the
      ecosystem”. We face a potential public health problem.



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Dragonfreys



Joined: 12 Feb 2006
Posts: 364
Location: Manitoba-Westman

PostPosted: Jan 18, 2007 2:20 am    Post subject: RE: Date Reply with quote

TheStuntman wrote:




By the time you guys have discussed this topic to death, Mustash, M.I. or myself will be in and out with the cache in hand.
What am I saying ...Set a date or you may be upstaged.







Are you planning to go in again? Date is set - February 24th, 8 am



50°27'35.66"N 95° 9'28.07"W





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