Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pigeon Mountain Loop October 29, 2016

High on  Halloween

Everyone has their own style for getting high. 
This is what mine looks like.
It involves fun & color!
It's filled with fresh air & fitness!
It's packed with scenery & beauty!
It's all real!
Hiking the full Pigeon Mountain Loop was the choice objective to celebrate Halloween!  I put the idea out there and was thrilled four friends were just as keen to share the day with me.  I left the idea open of completing the loop or returning the way we went up.  It depended on snow conditions and much to my surprise there was not much of that sweet stuff to impede in any way.   We got an early enough start that we were able to witness the alpenglow show while we geared up.
We took care of the first business which was to get that initial 4.7 kms out of the way.  It was easy going but seemed like it took forever.  Then it was wide open beauty for the next few hours.  A touch of fog and cloud drifted about, here and there, every now and then.  It added to the ambiance.
I have hiked this location a few times yet always forget which is the last little hill.  Those things go on and on and on.  I took my time in this section and made sure to take in the entire surroundings, even behind me.  The alpenglow at the trail head was pretty and just as pretty was the sundog further along in our hike.
The saddle between the two summits was as pretty as can be.  
Instead of keeping to where the main trail would be, we opted to head straight to the snow laden trees.  No one had been, it was untouched and out of this world beautiful. We owned this spot and invested loads of time in our ownership.  
it seemed dreamy and surreal
We reached the official Pigeon Mountain Summit and once again took our time.  
We each captured our own memories and shared memories.  
Here I am with Short Stop in our shared memory.
Ever since discovering the full loop route, I have never returned the way we came.  We gingerly worked our way up to the lower summit.  The beauty continued.  We made this our choice place to dine.  Talk about a table by a window with a view.  After refuelling, we took a second series of summit shots before hiking down along this meadow to carry on with the loop.
just having fun feeling & living the moment
The views along the wide open meadow were magnificent.  We only had a couple of inches of snow to contend with.  No need for snowshoes nor foot traction along this whole section.  We did attach our microspikes for one down hill area for about thirty minutes but they were more of a nuisance than anything. 
Further down there was less snow on the ground and on the trees but it still made for a pretty picture.
We made our way back out to the Skogan Trail and followed it back to where we intersected the wildlife sign and then carried on along the long stretch back to the parking lot.  The sun was warm, it was all down hill, we were high and happy.
I always have expectations for a day which are realistic given forecasts and previous days weather.  I also incorporate into those exceptions that at the snap of a finger, at the drop of a hat, at the.....oh you give my drift, the weather can do a 90 degree, a 180 degree, a 360 degree turn in either direction for better or worse.  I was prepared for the worse when in fact we got the better, even better, it was the best!  Thank you for today!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Packers Pass October 22 2016

desire for a mere glimmer of hope

The forecast for our hike into Ptarmigan Lake and then on up to Packer's Pass looked ideal.  If you are in the know though, you are aware and go prepared for the exact opposite. We got that close to exact opposite as we started out, yet I held out hope for ideal and when we got that glimmer of it, my attitude changed and I was a much happier girl.  That glimmer came by way of a touch of blue.
I was happy to have a few friends on board who were game for a large day in a wintery wonderland  in one of my most favourite areas no matter what time of year.  Still autumn with winter so close I can almost taste it, I knew we would have some snow I was just not quite sure how much.  Much to my surprise we were knee and at times for some thigh deep in that sweet powder.
 After experiencing snow flurries along with dark clouds, it then opened up to some blue off and on over the next little while.  The ons were exactly when I wanted them to be.  For example, when we arrived on the other side of Boulder Pass at Ptarmigan Lake, there it was that glimmer of hope.
Thank you to the guys for breaking trail and finding the route with least snow and least resistance from Ptarmigan Lake all the way up to Packer's Pass.  Out in this open, it was cold, it was windy and it was tough work to get to our destination.
We made it!
This is my summit shot 
on Packers Pass 
in front of the Wall of Jericho
with Zigadenus Lake below me.
 The blue sky appeared when I hoped it would.
We had a short lunch break at Packer's Pass.  It was too windy and cold to stay for an extended period.  We refueled, we captured our memories and then made a beeline back down.  I lingered behind, admiring every little thing.  From the sun on the peak... the lonely little larch.
By the time we arrived back at Ptarmigan Lake, there was blue galore and it was feeling on the warmer side.  I took one last look back at the view before heading on to that big boulder.  You know that big boulder!
The Yoga Boulder!
It was time to work our way back down through Boulder Pass.  
The lighting was beautiful!
 Soon the bushes will be totally covered with that sweet powder.
We reached the intersection back by the Halfway Hut.  
It was very warm, we delayered, then headed for the forest for the long hike back to the trailhead.  
 We had views for quite some time.  We stopped along the way for snacks and also to check out all the fresh tracks of the cat-like kind.  There was obvious activity of chasing and catching so we did not linger around this area too long.  We had an amazing view of Mount Temple to end our day along this section.
I truly enjoyed being out in these conditions in this area with these friends.  I am ready to embrace winter and what it throws at us.  It always holds true and it did today, if you go prepared for anything & everything including an adventours spirit, you find that way to make the play date an awesome one!  Thank you for today!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tombstone Lakes October 15 2016

is the

What a spicy day we had!

A destination to hike to that packaged together includes all that I am looking for these days is Tombstone Lakes.  I hoped for a little bit of snow, I dreamt for open water, I wished for stunning scenery and I wanted fun friends to share all this with.  I got it all and a variety of each to boot!   

view as we arrived at Elbow Lake
For the most part as we hiked beside Elbow Lake and along the Big Elbow Trail, the weather was a little on the wild side.  We experienced those 85km/hr gusts of wind that were called for and lots of cloud cover.  We pushed through that and as we neared the turn off for down hill the sky began to open up.
We met the Conservation Office as we were heading in.  He was on his way out from his home heading back towards Elbow Lake.  We conversed for a few minutes exchanging knowledge of the where-abouts of hunters.  He questioned us if we saw a solo hunter in the area, which we did not.  We stopped by the residence for a snack stop on the deck.
The weather was becoming quite lovely.  In one direction the sky opened up immensely.  We found the trail leading down to Lower Tombstone Lake and I was elated to see it fully opened and not iced over.  We hiked around it in calf deep snow to the far end.  This is the view from the far end looking back.
Then, only a few minutes later, a few meters higher, and a few meters further, we arrived at Upper Tombstone Lake.  What a variety of appearances of the lakes today.  Lower's Upper sister was totally frozen surrounded in snow and gray clouds.  Normally this would be an ideal spot for lunch.....
.....but I spied an upper ledge that had potential for views so we made our way up.  Over the rocks, through the snow, around the boulders, we arrived at the top with a grand view of the Upper Tombstone Lake below us.
my destination shot
We enjoyed lunch up here, then took care of capturing our group and individual photos.  I enjoyed being in this much snow.  It was a gradual introduction to the season.  I watched my friends work their way back down to the Lake.
We headed back the way we came except for hiking around the opposite side of the Lower Lake and then back out to the main trail.  From a winter wonderland at the Lakes to a gorgeous autumn day at the meadows, we were fortunate to have such a variety of terrain and scenery to experience.  We hiked through the Upper Tombstone Campground before heading back out to the main Big Elbow Trail.
enjoying the view
I kept looking back at the view behind us.  
That's where all the blue sky was.  
After that one final look back, it was time to keep focused in front and aim for Elbow Lake.  
The mountain view in front was amazing.  
We returned via the other side of Elbow Lake.  This time I opted to return on the trail that was right at the water's edge.  It afforded some pretty sights.  Here you have one Lake, with a variety of views from one side to the other.
After passing through the Elbow Campground where a few tents were set up for the night, we arrived back at the head of the Lake.  The few open spots of water made for a photographers delight.  We savoured the final views then hit the last kilometer downhill to the parking lot.
On the drive home, we needed to make a short stop.  I was admiring this cloud for part of our drive and when we made that quick stop, I hopped out to grab a shot.  This just added to the variety of scenes we saw today.
I sure do like it when all things fall into place in all the right ways.  
I loved that about today!