Joined: April 2007
It struck me during this discussion that none of the Tooters have ever visited their Shrine of the Burgess Shale. How come Meyer doesn't have his own set of pictures? Or Luskin? Or any of the Tooters? How come they yak, yak, yak all about the Burgess Shale but they've never been there?
Granted, it's not a walk in the woods, oh, wait, yes it is.
Treks to the Shale are park-guide hikes only and you may have to book a year in advance to get the day you want. The maximum crew size is 12. I lucked out and filled in for a last-minute cancellation and made the hike a few years ago. Check it out.
Here's why the Tooters will balk at the Shrine: it's hard work. Six miles one way with an elevation change of 2400 feet. The first part of the trip is up the side of a mountain via muddy, root-infested, slippery switchbacks. Every step is up. Takes six hours of hiking to get to the quarry with the final 200 yards or so up a steep, treeless scree slope. You carry your own water, lunch and any other gear. I carried 2 liters of water and should have carried 3! I was parched by the time we got back to the parking lot.
You spend about an hour at the quarry until it's time to go home. Return trip, all downhill, takes about four hours.
Everybody in our crew was an experienced hiker. Our ranger told us he does 4-5 treks per week and I think he could probably jog the entire distance.
I remember seeing Emerald Lake from the Shale but didn't get a picture of it. I was too occupied sweating, willing my legs to move and breathing. Several years ago, though, we stayed at the Emerald Lake Lodge and had a room that overlooked the Shale. Right on schedule I observed through binoculars a crew arrive at the Shale for their exploration. I didn't see Meyer in the crew, but, then again, I wasn't surprised! He's a lazy bastard in addition to being a lying dog.