Saturday, March 28, 2015

our Day in our Mountains

In hind sight, this rabbit that leered at us at our car pool spot this morning, was the tell-tale sign of how "our Day in our Mountains" would play out but we were blind to its sign.  You see he is beginning to turn to browny shades of spring but is still "mostly winter white"!  We have been in these mountains enough, so we know the environment well enough that they could be ours, meaning we are in tune to the fact they can be ever changing .
We arrived at the southern closed winter gate that when open leads to the Highwood Pass.  We geared up under clouds and sprinkles then soon after we began our ascent up the grassy knoll, the sprinkles stopped and a few clouds parted, giving us hope.  Hiking on bare ground for quite some distance gave us even more hope for a successful summit day.   
We reached the first flat view point and took a well deserved break.  
The ascent was steep and relentless to here.  
We hiked along the ridge, through the treed trail, up the scrambly spots and over the scrabbly sections.  As we went along, the flakes started to fall, very lightly.  Our hope remained in tact and we forged on towards the slabs.  We began to work our way over the beginnings of the rocks and slabs and then just like that we were in a full on whiteout blizzard.  The snow was heavy, wet, dense, and it was accumulating.  Unintentionally, we began to slab slide!  We stopped, took a couple of minutes to discuss the situation & our thoughts & our feelings.  The easily reached agreement was to retreat.
We worked our way back up to the trail which was now not visible but found our way.  We carefully hiked back over the slabs, then down the scrambly & scrabbly sections until we got all that behind us. We found somewhat sketchy shelter in the trees for a late lunch.  After lunch, the heavy snow stopped, we were in an open safe grassy place and we breathed a sign of relief then took time to enjoy the area.
"mostly winter white"
the rabbit was right
With it now clearing and warming up, we were wanting to extend the length of time of "our Day in our Mountains".  Now back at that first flat view point, we made a collective decision to carry on a new way to descend off the steep hill.  The views were opening up and they were different.  This beat going back into the trees and returning the same way we came up.  We could now see the mountains through the trees.
There was a nice stretch of open ridge. 
We could now see the road far below heading in the opposite direction.
We found a distinct trail with cairns.  The slope was grassy yet steep in sections and gentle in other places.  We had wide open the entire descent.  The sky began to clear, it warmed up immensely and we left winter up there behind us...
....and arrived back into a beautiful spring day!   We dropped our gear, shed the wet stuff, layed gear out to dry, turned on the tunes turning this grassy meadow populated with aspens into party central.  We loved living in the sunshine and this is what that looks like!
We arrived out to the highway with only a 
700 meter leisurely stroll left to get us back to the car.   
Leisurely it was seeming like we were not ready for 
"our Day in our Mountains" 
to end.  
We collectively made wise decisions to make "our Day in our Mountains" a safe and fun adventure!  
I always appreciate and am thankful for having fun friends to be "out & about" with!
Thank you!




6 comments:

  1. So glad you were able to turn around safely and still make the most of the day.

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    1. Helen, our day would end too early if we didn't try and find another way to make the most of it and it seems we never want our day to end anyway!

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  2. Isn't it amazing how a change in elevation can create such different weather? Glad you and your friends got down safely.

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    1. When the snow started to fall heavily, my friend said the forecast was for snow at 2100 meters and rain below that. I checked my GPS and we were at 2099 meters.

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  3. Great story! Inspiring as always. Thank you, Andra!

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    1. My friends inspire me, thank you for doing that!

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