Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fox Lake November 18, 2017

There is never any doubt that a snowshoe adventure into Fox Lake in British Columbia will be filled with everything there is to embrace about winter!  It's not for the true novice nor inexperienced route finder.  It's for those that enjoy deep snow trail breaking, are comfortable being back and beyond out there and are able to embrace that pleasantly depleted feeling at the day's end.   I love all that about snowshoeing and especially snowshoeing into Fox Lake!

We had that favourable early start.  
No one was on the trail before us.  
For the first little while we followed the official snowshoe signs.  
We reached the X-C-Ski section which had been groomed last evening yet snow fell since that grooming.  We snowshoed parallel to the track and managed to get that part done with only meeting one skier.  We had a quick stop at the picnic table and then began the task of breaking trail in knee to above knee deep snow through the meadow and forest finding our way to the border where we would cross over from Alberta into British Columbia.
 The trees were tall.
The snow was deep.
That's when the magic happens!
We tried to follow a track we had from before but had to take detours.  Numerous of those large trees had come down since last winter and blocked our way.  We bushwhacked a bit, clambered and climbed over trees and then got back onto a trail that led us to Fox Lake.  We had no blue sky nor sunshine but we did have warm temperatures and no wind.

This is what I like my snowshoe package play time to look like!

Even more importantly I like how my friends play together.
It's time with them that make the total package complete!
After more than an hour embracing Fox Lake in every which way possible, it was time to vacate the place and hit the trail back.  The sun tried to shine and did create some shadows for us and brighten up the area somewhat.  That prolonged our visit another few minutes.
 arriving back into Alberta with a view of The Continental Divide
We opted to include a loop into our day which meant more elevation gain late into the afternoon and I found that tough.  I put my head down and got the job done.  The sky offered up some light blue and some dark blue.  It made the scenery poppingly pretty.
 We savoured one last view off to the glowing mountain before making our way down the last stretch.
 The deep untouched white gold was pure delight!
Instead of taking the snowshoe trail which follows through the forest, we stuck to the wide open space and went for it.  Dusk was descending upon us and we wanted to get back to the vehicles in the light.  We made good time getting to the bottom of this.
The last couple of minutes before reaching the trail head, the wind picked up and it didn't feel like a chinook wind.  It was bitterly cold.  Our timing was spot on as our adventrue ended when we wanted it to.  I am thankful for how our day played out and happy my friends were game to play today.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Rae Lake Attempt November 11, 2017

I knew all along I would be snowshoeing today, that need was within me.  I was brain storming on options when a friend put a shout out to venture into Rae Lake so I hopped on board!  I have visited that lake a handful of times in various conditions at different times of the year between June and November.  My favourite spot along the way is when we have this view of Tombstone Mountain from this vantage point.  Today the view was incredible with a touch of snow to brighten it up.
"Red sky at morning sailor take warning!"  
That's for sailors not snowshoers!  
As we drove down Highway 40 where life begins, the scenery was captivating.  
We arrived at the trail head parking lot which was empty.  It was calm and not that cold.  We bantered back and forth whether to take snowshoes, microspikes, both.  We opted to carry snowshoes and pull on the spikes.  I just wanted that first hill out of the way, I don't like it.  I enjoyed the views as a distraction while we tackled it.
early morning at Elbow Lake
We rounded Elbow Lake and arrived at the Park Boundary.  We saw loads of fresh animal tracks some looked dog-like others cat-like.  No people today had gone before us.  It was such a pleasure to have outright ownership of this territory.
Here's Tombstone Mountain and the wide open valley for your viewing pleasure.
The new snow yesterday added an added touch.
We carried along the Big Elbow Trail for some time then began to pay attention for the cairn signifying time to turn off and aim for Desolation Flat.  We ended up going a little too far so we backtracked eventually finding a big lump of snow and then discovering the cairn was buried underneath it.  We cleaned it up a bit and take notice of the little yellow piece of tape.
time to change our mode of movement
from microspikes to snowshoes
My second favourite spot on this venture is at the boulder field in Desolation Flat.
my friends passing through The Flat
A couple quickly passed us and then they were gone up the hill and into the trees.  We slowly followed!  We should know better than to do that.  What was that saying?  "Red sky at morning sailor take warning!"  That's not for us snowshoers!  Or is it?  We had a few elevation gains & losses as we followed that couple's track.  The terrain was not user friendly and a little sketchy in sections but we carried on.   My focus was not enjoying the beauty or capturing it but we did have one opening where I did enjoy the distraction.
We realized time was now not in our favour and we would not be reaching Rae Lake.  We aimed for a hill and called that our destination for the day.  I felt a little anxious about not knowing our route back and that it would be route finding and bushwhacking with maybe some steep slopes to go up or down.  I enjoyed the lunch time view but was not up to savouring my sandwich and salad.  
I'll call this my summit shot for today!
We did not linger long for lunch.  We began to work our way back to the main trail having an idea where it was and route finding our way to it.  The views were spectacular and there were huge snow drifts in places.
We finally reached the main trail.  I was standing right on it not realizing for a few seconds.  We gathered together and then got in a mind space to get going and cover loads of terrain before it got dark.  The wind picked up and included gusts which we pushed against.
I captured one last view of the trail in front of us.
When we arrived back at the Park Boundary and there was still a little daylight left I breathed a sigh of relief.  We rounded Elbow Lake and I walked over to the edge to have a look and take a lasting impression.

My lasting impression!
It's November 11th.  I feel fortunate to have friends who enjoy being "out & about" exploring, adventuring and sharing laughs.  We are a supportive crew of characters.  We know how to make the most of our day, how to embrace when things go great and how to work together and get through the oooops.   Today, Remembrance Day, we created many memories we can be thankful for!  Thank you for this day of sharing and Thank You to all those veterans who made sacrifices so we could be out here today living our passion! 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Field of Crosses & Nose Hill November 5, 2017

What is an hour out of my life?  It's the least I could give to pay my respects to those that gave their life so I could live mine.  The sun came up but the cold remained.  I bundled up against the elements and took time to read their names and look at their photos, for an hour, it's the least I could do.   
I walked between the crosses row after row.  
Each cross and each poppy covered in snow.
I noticed this sign this year.
they share the face of a loved one
to always remember
the number of crosses are deep as the number of crosses are wide

on this cold and snowy early morning, it was my time to honour you
Thank you for giving me my tomorrow!

With the day still young, I was not ready to head home.  I carried on north to cover a new section of Nose Hill Park that I have not visited yet.  The first sign I encountered was a wildlife warning.  I have seen coyotes in the Park before but never a sign warning against them,
lots of new ground to cover
This part of the park is on the flatter side to start.  
I moved faster than I normally would.  
There was no immediate elevation gain to get a warm up.  
some of the sights on a cold day in my city playground
After two hours of exploring this part of the Park it was now time to head home.  I completed a planned loop then aimed for the forest path that would lead me back to the start.  I took one last look out at the wide open space. 
I opted out of pigtails today (which I tend to sport when "out & about").  The tails tend to keep things tidy.  What I did opt for when I got home was a hot chocolate to warm up.  And yes, I do see what I am standing in front of.  Intentional or not?  

Thank you for giving me my today and my tomorrow!