Friday, March 29, 2013

Lazin & Hangin & Meanderin

The forecast was for fabulous plus I knew my friends would be fun and that's all that's needed to make a great hiking day that would include time for lazing around, hanging out and meandering about.  I had completed a portion of today's route a few months back.  Today's plan was to cover Carry Ridge and Forked Ridge.  The last time we did Carry Ridge and Mud Springs Pass.

I hurried down that steep hill because I wanted to arrive at this meadow first to get a photo of the shadows in the snow before any of my friends began to "meadow meander".  I wasn't able to capture this scene before so there was nothing stopping me this time.  This is exactly what I visioned I wanted my photo to look like.
It was only a mere 75 minutes into our hike when we reached the top of Carry Ridge and already felt it was time for lazing around.  We would have two opportunities for summit shots today and this is the first.  
view as we carried along Carry Ridge
The only tough part of the day came after we descended Carry Ridge and meandered through another meadow.  The slope up to Forked Ridge was steep and the snow was deep.  It was a slower ascent up this Ridge.  Now after noon, meant now lunch!  This seemed to be the most appropriate place for lazing around.  I checked my directions from the "purple book".  I swear the writers of these colorful books have their own dictionary. 
After dining, we made our way along Forked Ridge, aiming for the high spot.
This is it!
This is my summit shot!
Not the prettiest and not the openest summit but nevertheless, a summit!
We accomplished some lazing around and meandering about, now it was time for a little hanging out.  It is just a bent tree, nothing more.  It's ugly, it's old.  Hanging out at this tree occupied a longer period of time then any of our lazing or meandering and we even spent longer here then we did when we stopped to dine.  Everyone had a solo turn at that old decrepit tree.  This was as much as I could muster up when it was my turn. 
The only thing left for our hike was the gentle descent off Forked Ridge to the road.  Not wanting it to end, I lingered.  Now I was not ready to be the first.  I stayed back so I could catch my friends performing their "meadow meander".  We made our way off the Ridge, crossed another small meadow, then finished up with a one kilometer hike along the road back to our vehicle.
We were done with the lazing and meandering but not the hanging.  We stopped in at a Black Diamond pub for dinner and a drink.   I went for a little, light beer.  This was just the right amount to quench my thirst.  This was also the perfect place for hanging out and recapping our day and getting caught up on what we didn't get caught up on out on the trial.
Today was a special day to acknowledge in addition to being Good Friday.  


Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Have Fun"

If you remember my blog post from last Saturday, I made the statement that "I embrace snow whether it is on the ground or in the air!"  Even that I made that declaration, I would still prefer it not to be in the air but I can make the best of it, if it is so.  I may have created a jinx and set myself up for that because today we had plenty of both and at times too much.   It just goes to show that when you head to the mountains to "have fun", you better go prepared because Mother Nature can be fickle.   The cold weather that we were faced with in the morning and the conditions that erupted in the afternoon were not in any forecast I read for today but I was prepared.

We had a great plan for today to summit Rainy Summit Ridge then carry on higher to the Lookout and also upon our return veer off Route 66 and explore more trails, meadows and creeks.  Lofty?  Not normally but today was not normal.  Lofty?  Yes!

As we drove down the road towards the trail head, our view was banner-like .  We watched as it appeared like the mountain peaks were suspended in the sky, then the clouds disappeared, the fog lifted, the sky turned bright blue and the temperature read -22C (-7.6F).   This was not a temperature we were expecting but we would "have fun" anyway.
We were first on 66 today!
Others had been yesterday.
We followed Route 66 for just over 5 km.
The view from where we came.
I could hardly wait to get around the corner because I knew what we were in for.  No one had been here  today, yesterday or as it appeared, nor many days before this day.  The snow was pure and sparkling.  It is views and conditions like this that make snow so easy to embrace.  It was perfect snow to "have fun" in!
We carried on down the road towards the Rainy Summit Ridge trail head.
The trail head for us today was at the wide open space where the Timber Harvesting sign is located.  We changed over from microspikes to snowshoes and made our way through the meadow towards the trees where we would begin our climb to the Ridge.
Our destination is the clear high point at middle left.
It was a soooo slow snowshoe slog through the trees in quite deep snow.  We stuck to the GPS track as much as possible.  As the minutes were ticking on while we climbed in the trees, we could see dark clouds coming our way.  We had hoped to reach the top while the sky was still blue but the depth of the snow hampered us from being speedy.  After working our way through the trees, then the rocky section, we reached openings.  That's Forgetmenot Ridge framed by the trees.
By now it was already 2:00 ( we began at 9:20).  We were not at the Lookout but we were at Rainy Summit Ridge and this would have to be our high point for today.  The Lookout was another 114 meters of elevation through deep snow.  We threw our egos by the wayside and made the wise choice to save it for another today.  So you know what that means!  Now time for my summit shot!  
"Have fun"!  
Most definitely!  
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper played.
Having fun! 
Once the summit shot was secured and the dance party over with, it was time to settle down to dine.   The snow flurried around us, it became colder, the views dissipated, we ate, we bundled up and packed up then began the descent following the trail we already broke on the way up.  

It was a much quicker trip down and we found an open stretch that was easy to navigate along and it also cut off some time and distance.  We completed a small loop (we were determined to get some kind of loop incorporated one way or another) and met up with our track at the Rainy Summit Ridge trail head.
Now we just had the roughly 5km trip back along Route 66.  
It was an easy breezy route, yet very tiring, all the way back to the vehicle.  
The trip home comment written on Page 103 of the Red Book says "Girls just wanna have fun?  YUP! We did!  Because we know how to"!  Even though our route objective was not reached the most important objective was and that was to have fun.  In our chitter chatter, we learned that all of us have big, fun objectives a mere short time down the road.   Anticipation is wonderful! 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Snow, Snow, and more Snow.....

.....but not all in one day!
(The following photos were shot over the last few winters.)

I was trying to remember back to when I truly learned to embrace snow.

I checked through my albums to see if there was any one or set of photos that stood out causing me to have a light-bulb moment and say "that's it that's when I became hooked!"  I was looking for a snowshoeing shot of me in the center of an alpine meadow or on a mountain top, or a view of a snow covered lake or white peaks.  While I have many, many photos of exactly those scenarios, not even one was successful in switching that light on for me.  Don't get me wrong, there is no denying I absolutely love being in those places and seeing such scenes.

The realization that I did come to while going through my photos, was that I sure do like the outcome of when I play with snow and of when it plays with me.  Some of these snow shots are a few years old and were not at the forefront of the adventure from when they were snapped, but now they have been drawing me in and I have been eyeing them closer and for longer.

#1  snow drift on Nose Hill

#2  my hand prints

#3  swirling over Bull Creek Hills

#4  my shadow on an Elephant Rock

#5  snow peaks

#6  snow angel on Sulphur Mountain

#7  meringue-like snow covering Belmore Brown

#8   big cat prints maybe???

#9  etching on Moose Mountain

#10  meadow on Cox Hill

Living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada the number of winter months is usually more then the actual number of months in the winter season, snow can fall in any of the 12months and there are places where the snow never melts.  Lately, while "out & about", I have been paying particular attention to all this snow, not just to its' depth, supportiveness or layers but now I enjoy when it offers up unique appearances that play with my senses.

My favourite is #2!  It looks like moulds of hands placed on the snow but I actually pushed my hands down into the snow to make the prints.  I thought "oh what the heck just take a picture" not expecting it to turn out like it did.  Which one is your favourite?

I'm guilty!  
I'm not just a fair-weather adventurer!  
I embrace snow whether it is on the ground or in the air!

What is with you Mother Nature?
First it was clouds, then trees, now snow!  
What's next?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Learned Something New!

Aaaah!  Now I Get It!  When I am "out & about" getting high,  I experience this fabulous sensation that I have become addicted to.  At the highest point of any of my past adventures, when I turn my back to the world behind me and "remember to breathe", I am overtaken by a powerful pull and drawn into a place of passion, a sense of serenity, a feeling of forgiveness. My world becomes a pleasant place to be and carefree!  

This sensation can last minutes but usually hours yet I am thankful for every single second.    This is truly a natural therapy.   I thought back to the countless occasions where I  surrendered and let myself be drawn in, and a few of those times I remember the strength of the pull being strongest.

These special times have occurred in amazing, breath-taking places. 
There is no better therapy then getting to such high places mentally. 

Or so I thought!  A couple of months ago, I saw the title of an article, I stored that title away for later.  I have thought about it, it is now later and aaaah, now I get it.  This explains why photography is becoming more enjoyable and I seem to be investing a little more time in taking photos.  I escape by peering through the lens becoming lost in the search for hidden beauty,  capturing tiny details, freezing special seconds in time then relishing when rewarded with images that have the potential to bring lasting wonderful memories. That article read "photography is therapy!"  

Many times I go through my older photos.  Some I delete, others I just click past them, then there are a few that I linger longer over again and again and again.  I look at them and I'm brought back to those frozen seconds in time that bring back those wonderful memories.
Aaaah, now I get it! By pairing these "out & about" adventures with photography, I have opened my heart and soul to receiving a double dose of therapy.  I have to admit, I love this part of my life.
I cherish the golden moments.
The hard work to reach these high places or the patience & determination it takes to freeze wonderful memories in time, is all worth it when it comes time to basque in the rewards.  Yes, now I get it and NOW I hope YOU get it!