lumps of coal
When I was a little girl Christmas was all about receiving pretty packages. Today, it's still all about the pretty packages but those packages look very different. Instead of dolls & games back then, my favourite Christmas packages now come filled with family & friends plus love & laughter. Heck, I can now even chuckle when I am handed a lump of coal. For very personal reasons I feel compelled to make an extra effort to be very thankful for who and what I have in my life this holiday season. I feel the need to acknowledge more than ever that I am blessed and to be appreciative of even the littlest of things that could bring a smile.
Our plan for today was to have our mountain kind of Christmas celebration at the Trail Centre Cabin in Banff National Park. The pretty packages and lumps of coal that came our way added alterations to our plan and we held our festive event at the backside of Watridge Lake. I like pretty Christmas packages that look like this!
We began our day early heading west from the city. It was a pretty drive and easy too. Traffic was very minimal along the Smith Dorrien and we realize now what a blessing that was, otherwise we would not have been afforded this sighting of a lynx on the side of the road. We watched it for a bit then realized it was watching too but it was watching two more lynx up in the bushes. This is only the second time in my life time that I have seen a lynx up close out in the wild. I know this is such a rare sight to experience.
We finally arrived at the trail head parking lot. We were the first to arrive, we were even there before the plow. The clouds lifted, the snow stopped and the views were amazing. There was no wind and the temperature was a perfect -7 Celsius.
view as we snowshoed along
The area looked different with less snow than when we have snowshoed here in the past. We went about our merry way and decided to check to make sure we were on the straightforward trail and not one of the ski trails off to the sides. We landed at a location I had no idea even existed, the Ruedi Setz Memorial Biathlon Range. I knew that sport took place in the general area but I did not realize to what extent. While the scenery was very pretty here, we now realized after going in a circle or two, that we had a lump of coal gifted us.
We spent a considerable amount of time working our way through the trail system and through the bushes. We were somewhat confused on where we were and on our surroundings. Our devices assisted us to a certain extent in the trees but at times they were not true to us. My sense was that our device was pointing us in the wrong direction. We took time to untwist by checking out and talking about our surroundings and trying to figure out what the device was showing us. Once we sorted that out we headed where we sensed we should head. After close to two hours of at times intense bushwhacking and route finding, we landed back out where we should have been more than an hour prior. We came away with pride that was a tad bit bruised plus a few scrapes and scratches. Once back on track. we were able to take that lump of coal in stride and chatted about it. I feel what we experienced is a bit of an embarrassing story to share. On the other hand I feel it is important to share. While we may not be the most experienced mountaineers, we do have loads of experience with being out & about. While route finding devices can be beneficial, a sense of direction plays a part too. We did know how to execute what needed to be done to rectify the situation we found ourselves in.
This is what being back on track looked like!
We now knew our plan for the day needed alterations not only because much time had passed but also because the weather conditions changed rapidly. What was coming our way now was not forecasted to until the evening. Never mind that, we were prepared for anything anyways, as we always are. We opted to be festive at Watridge Lake. We snowshoed in sweet powder to the side so we would have a view. Ah, how I love open water and reflections at this time of year. How pretty is that!
Being thrown another lump of coal of wind and cold and snow
we quickly decorated our tree and captured out shots.
We cut short out celebration time in favour of dining and dashing.
We were feeling tired from the work earlier in our day but still felt we had some play time within us.
sweet sugar snow
friends, love & laughter, pretty packages
We made quick business of gearing down and getting on our way once we arrived back at the vehicle. Lots of snow had come down and we wanted off the Watridge Logging Road and off the Smith Dorrien before dark. We had success with that. In fact looking back at our day, we acknowledged once again, we are experts at saving the day and that our snowshoe trek was a success too.
Once back on the main highway we had a pretty drive home.
Pretty packages always make for enjoyable times in our mountain playground but its how you deal with the lumps of coal you receive that truly show what you are made of. We were presented with so much to be thankful for today!