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!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Nose Creek November 4, 2017

With a fabulous forecast presented to us, I knew I needed to be "out & about" in it!  There was only one glitch preventing me from being out in my mountain playground.  While I was quite sure I could conquer the highway in my all-seasons, my level of confidence getting in and out of a snowy mountain trail head parking lot was at the bottom of the scale.  Until I have my winters on, I will have to find my kind of winter within the city boundaries.    

I went in search of what makes me breathe deep & sigh!
A visit to the Birth Forest & Nose Creek is where I went to find my winter!
I picked a trail that would take me to where I would begin my search.
 Quite quickly I found a snow drift.
Right in front of me was the blue sky with those light fluffy puffy clouds that I love so much.
As I wandered my mind wondered to what I could find that takes me where I wished I was!
I found everything I needed!
I even found a dreamy forest!
I followed the dreamy forest trail swishing my feet through the white gold.  
Even though the sky was blue, flakes did fall.  
They glistened they sparkled they landed on my nose and eyelashes.  
I breathed deep and sighed. 

Even if...only in my mind!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Hunchback Hills for Halloween October 28, 2017

Give me a reason to celebrate and I will be there!   I hoped others would be too if I threw out the idea of acknowledging Halloween.  More than just your every Saturday hike was needed.  I picked Hunchback Hills as the destination, it was either that or Hell's Ridge, and only because the names sound Halloweenish.  Pack a costume was part of the package deal as was toting along treats to share.     Friends were keen to join in on this spirited celebration.  Unexpectedly Mother Nature made her appearance and added an erie sky to our mix.
It was an after sunrise start at the trail head where the sky had an appearance of possibly offering up something to the ambiance of our day.  We had an easy start of it with six klicks along a trail that ascended very gradually.  The views were at the start and that was it for some time.
We reached our turn off point where there is no indication to do so but we had insider information telling us where to hang a left.  We spent the next hour or so bushwhackingly finding our way up a steep slope.  The light cast shadows of all sorts.  Who knows what lurks in the woods!
We found our way to the top coming out at the base and edge of the ridge.
We were presented with our first views.
Further up Hunchback Hill towards the summit Barrier Lake & Lookout came into view.
 Then we spied the summit cairn tucked between the trees.
The clouds looked explosive and lining all features at the right angle a great photo op happened.  We were experiencing fabulous weather for the 28th of October in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. That on its own is a reason to be "out & about" and celebrating.
Before doing anything else, I captured my devilish summit shot.
We nestled in by the tree to dine.  After our main courses, it was time for treats, and as you can see we had all sorts.  It was an enjoyable part of our day sharing the treats and tasting new foods.   
We donned the rest of our costumes and took over the summit with our photo tricks.

The wind whipped wildly as we neared the end of our summit celebration.  It was time to pack up and be on our way, along the Hill, down the ridge, by the trees, into the forest.  Along the open part I kept looking back like I always do and admired the cloud coverage.
 looking explosive again
 I love what the wind creates.
This was our last big view on this side before heading into the forest for a steep, route finding, bushwhacking task.  We had no snow at all, the ground was very dry, it was colorful in spots and the shadows just added to the pretty scene.
We all safely made it back down and back out.  With about four kilometres left along the easy trail we made good time of it and reached the open area again just before dipping down to the trail head.
When getting close to the trail head it means very soon we will be heading home which happens every Saturday but it has been ages since I did my kind of heading home.   I hear what you say and sometimes I wonder what you are thinking.   
I thoroughly enjoyed this Halloween Celebration.  I am glad I have friends who are into this type of day just as much as I am.  With all that is happening in our world in every day life, it's nice to take time to escape and celebrate even the littlest of things.  Thank you for today!