North Barrier Frolf Course
“Frolf, unlike Disc Golf, is a freeform amorphous game, played among friends in a social setting without the confines of a course laid out by professionals attempting to force conformity. The game is part of a positive social interaction, and does no harm to living creatures or property. Rules change based on user preferences, weather, moving targets, crowds, time of day, random issues, and skill levels of the players.
Q) What is Frolf?
A) ” Frolf stands for Freeform Golf. Historically, the term Frolf came from Frisbee golf when Frisbee was the only Disc. Some people play a game called Disc Golf in tournaments for money. Frolf is for fun. ” That is a quote from the internet, and seems to work well for backcountry disc golf definition.
The North Barrier Frolf ‘course’ was set in the late spring of 2011 and when you look at the photo of the entire cutblock, it takes place in the lower half of the deforestation. There is an obvious road of dead logs (The Beachcomber Fairway) that travels east-west and follows along this for holes #4-6, then passes through the ‘Sungate’- a relaxing area with a creek. From here near a boulder, shoot north toward a hill/gully and a lone tall naked pine about 275m away. From here(no photos) shoot to the edge of a thick clump of remaining forest to the only stand-out feature – a white aspen- which is about 225m away and near a water trap. Pop out of the forest edge and aim up for 100m to some trees in the fairway. From here, tee off directly down the westward fairway of much less logs than previously for about 250-350m which can be broken up into a few targets at your choosing. Have fun.
To get to North Barrier Frolf course, drive Hwy#40 south and turn off at James Cragg Road and park in the left parking lot near a few buildings and guards tower, or park up and east at the Colonel’s Cabin parking lot. Cross the road to the SW and enter at trail that climbs, passing a few interpretive signs(strangely, I can’t find this in any local hiking book which seems odd) then it comes out into a forest with an enjoyable walking grassed over track that is wide and comfortable and seems seldom used at all. It hooks in and out of the forest and you kinda start enjoying it, when you have to start looking for a low boulder with a stone cairn off to your left(east) just off in the bush. From around here kinda follow the least bushy way which is obvious in and around upward until it gets thicker. There is some flagging in this section but if gone, still easy to find your best way to the sunlight poking through the trees very close ahead, and where the first tee box in the ‘course’ begins. From the car this it is about 30-45 minutes.
Make note where you exited the forest(Flag or cairn, and it doesn’t hurt to bring along some flagging for marking where you want to return through the forest). Bring a good amount of water, food, few frisbees, bugspray and bearspray and very good hiking boots. Highly recommended to carry binoculars for not only enjoying the scenery, but to scope the large swaths of pine beetle cutblocks for bear or other vermin. There is a fine running creek however it may be dried up in certain months.
As of this writing, there are two other backcountry frolf courses in the mountains, and the best way to leave no trace, is to walk the course first setting out the “baskets” and writing down on a notepad roughly the distances and any tidbits of info. There is no need to make it into a specific 9 holes or 18, make it 13 or 11 or whatever who cares! It’s the terrain and scenery that are the draws. The best concept thus far but needs to be streamlined more is described in the photos below. There is no need for flagging then or anything to be left behind; flagging was used here at Barrier. Buy some styrofoam camp plates and cut a hole or two in them. Run common household string- which I will explain why in a minute- through the plate. Carry about 6-10 climbing carabiners for the times when branches holding the pie-plate basket up don’t work and you need a carabiner to wrap around a tree and tighten the string secured it with the biner. Finally before leaving home, buy some red electrical tape from a dollar store and make an X across the plate. I have taken 10 or so pie-plate baskets in my knapsack along with food, water, clothes etc and they stand up fine, also they are super light and grouped together in a stuff sack they will be fine. The household string works great as opposed to old climbing rope or flagging; household string sticks to tree branches like bees to honey and can be molded around bushes and branches to hold your pie-plate stable on the tree or bush. Once they are all placed along the course, turn around, and start playing backwards removing pie-plates as you go, carabiner’ing them to the outside or your pack until they are all collected, keeping score if you so care. Barrier is not enjoyable with this method however as it is very big and would take time doing the course laying it out first, then doing another loop of it playing. Hope the orange flagging as seen in one of the photos is still there if not wing it! Other ‘courses’ are smaller and much more enjoyable using the pie-plate method, info to come sometime later in the future where they are. Keep checking back on Rockies Obscure to see if they have been added.