Sheep Station

Photo: Starvation Flats
Photo by Mary Masiel

Undeterred by weather, some of us naturalists set out to enjoy nature. Prepared for a wet day, we, instead, experienced a rain-free day, except for a short period of light drizzle. The steep climb to Starvation Flats took 2 hours. On the way there and beyond to Sheep Station, we saw a profusion of wildflowers, at least 17 species, the most notable being the Fairyslipper Orchid. We also saw a Blue Grouse in its full mating display and one specimen of Agaricus Campestris Mushroom, which we left untouched to spore the area. At the open meadow of Starvation Flats, we had lunch. From here we got a clear view of the deep Ashnola Valley, despite the low cloud ceiling.

We continued our hike on a trail visible through the trees, but difficult to follow in the open meadow. We finally reached Sheep Station, an observation station set up by UBC to study the mountain sheep that usually gather in this area in winter. Enjoying a brief interlude of sunshine, we sat on the verandah of the main cabin, had a snack, and looked toward Flatiron Mountain to catch any glimpse of the sheep; alas, none were to be seen.

Leaving Sheep Station, we started our steep descent. Two foot bridges built by volunteer groups allow the crossing of 2 very important creeks, Juniper & Ewart, making possible a round trip. Juniper Creek, normally a small creek, was a dangerous, white-water, torrent due to freshet. Equally impressive was Ewart Creek, now a powerful, roaring, foaming river. We could hear the rumble of Ewart Creek as we hiked along side it on the way to an old hunter’s cabin 4 kms away where we had left another vehicle. This foresight saved us an additional 2.8 km walk! A bridge used to span the creek here, but BC Parks allowed it to fall into disrepair; so we continued farther down to where it was possible to cross the creek again. A well deserved meal at the Hitching Post in Hedley concluded our field trip.