Saturday, November 30, 2013

Here, Then There

Today was a big purposeful day and it all started here along the Powderface Pass Trail. The temperature was perfect, the trail was ideal for hiking, the sky made way to blue and on top of all that, folks were all in a celebratory frame of mind.
We slowly worked our way towards the main intersection and once there took a little time to show some spirit.  After that, some stuck around, others forged on to the Pass.  My goal was the Pass where the views were wide open and you could see how Nihahi Ridge stretches from end to end. 
Not quite sure what got into me today. 
My summit shot came out of no where.
After a quick lunch and a quick summit visit, we very quickly and very quietly made our way back.  A pack of snowmen greeted us back at the main intersection.  Those that stuck around were obviously very busy.  These three snowmen belonged to a group of about eight.
After acknowledging the work put into this pack, once again we very quickly and very quietly made our way back to the trailhead.  I sensed my group was done with the "Here" and already focused on the "Then There" part of the day. 

NOTE:  We were warned but I never expected the scene to be as bad as it was.  The scene was fresh, a lengthy struggle was apparent and it was disturbing to see.  It was a reminder that even on the edge of winter, so close to home, along a busy trail, nature still takes its' course.  While the sign says possible bear, cat prints in the snow were obvious. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fabulous Forecast For Fox

With a fabulous forecast for Fox Lake area, I was determined this would be the destination for my first snowshoe trip of the season.  I put the idea out there and some friends were quickly on board to make it happen.  I was pretty sure we would have full outright ownership of the Lake and I LIKE THAT!  It was very cold gearing up at the Elk Pass Parking Lot but the forecast was for warming up so it was nice to have that to look forward to.  

We made our way to the official snowshoe trail.  By the looks of the trail, possibly we were christening it for the new season.  Right from the start, we had to work like a machine, taking turns breaking trail.  I knew though, we would have a long break from that when we reached the Elk Pass Trail which is a popular X-C Ski Trail and we could easily follow along right beside it.  Today, that wasn't the case.  The photo below depicts what that trail looked like.  Not a groomed trail, nor a skier to be seen. I LIKE THAT!  
With another snowfall or two, these dainty mounds will not exist!  
We arrived at the junction to where we would take a short cut up the little hill to the picnic table.  I accidently hit fish eye when getting ready to snap the photo.  Before switching back to the proper setting, I checked out the photo and thought I LIKE THAT.  So it's a keeper and this is it.
We take a short break at the picnic table.  
It was getting close to noon and it still did not warm up.  
meadow by the picnic table
It was time to leave Alberta and head to British Columbia.  A quick veer to the right from this expanse meadow would take us across the border.  This is my favourite spot along the whole trip.  I was tickled there was blue sky, dancing clouds and shadows to make for a photographers dream.  I LIKE THAT!
one kilometer to Fox Lake from this sign
go left for Fox Lake
We found Fox Lake and a great place that was somewhat sheltered and with this fabulous view.  Lunch was about thirty minutes.  It still did not warm up but the sun felt nice.  We bundled up.  We ate.  We frolicked.  We owned it. I LIKE THAT!  This is my destination shot at Fox Lake.  That is Mount Fox behind me and centre just above the tree line is where you would find Frozen Lake.
view of the Continental Divide on our return trip
To incorporate a loop, we snowshoed along Patterson towards the Hydroline. 
Such a pretty view from the Patterson Trail. 
We reached the Hydroline where we broke trail for quite some time along the official snowshoe trail.  It was taking forever so eventually we worked our way to along side the groomed trail.  We made up time there and then headed for the last downhill stretch back to the Elk Pass Parking Lot.  This was our last view before heading lower into the trees.
There was lots to like about today even though it never did warm up and at times it was challenging work making our way.  Some relished in the hard work.  It was one of those days where you feel pleasantly depleted at the end.  We were a strong, determined, happy, fun group today and I LIKE THAT!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Just How Far!

During a couple of treasured quiet hours recently, I reflected on how fortunate I have been to have glorious days to embrace being out and about.  I have gone far and gone high to places where I have to take a minute to comprehend, I really am standing right here!  Since 2010 I tracked distance traveled and vertical elevation gain while hiking and snowshoeing and this is the amount of ground I covered.  With a little over a month to go this year, there is potential to go above and beyond.  I have to admit, the competitor within me wants to achieve that!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Early Morning Chase

This morning I woke feeling the need to be some place where I could...

…on my own...
…for when the sun began to peak through!
I needed to be in a place with beautiful boundaries where I could feel safe!
A place that gives warmth and makes me feel like I am at home!
I needed to roam like the wild...
…and just
I get it when people just need to get away to find peace!
I understand!
I get it!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Open to Change

My friend and I quickly jumped on board when at the very last second an option landed a mere three feet from the truck of my car.  No discussion was needed, we both opted in immediately!  We were open to change.  Thank you for appearing like almost out of the blue, where you did and when you did!  

After gearing up at the Dawson Day Use Area for our trip up Cox Hill, I eyed the sky and when seeing the cloud formations, I took that as a sign we would have spectacular scenery today.  The main bridge to cross the creek at the start of the hike was ripped away by the June flood but a makeshift bridge was in place further down stream which allowed for an easy and dry crossing and then we got on with our day.   
The snow depth increased the higher we reached and the deeper into the woods we went.  At times it reached thigh deep but lucky for us it was partially already broken from days previous.  We took turns rebreaking the trail where needed.  I wondered what the slope to the summit would be like and once the views of that began, I paid close attention.  The first portion of the main switchback was very doable, trail condition-wise, but the wind was wild.  

We traversed to the end and then the snow became deep.  While assessing, I began to feel the effects of the windchill which felt extremely high.  (Lesson learned, it is time to place heaviest double layer mittens in outer pack pocket for easy accessibility.)  
The decision was made and we were open to change.  There would be no reaching the summit of Cox Hill for us to day.  In favour for staying safe and warm, we made our way back to a sunny open hill where there were areas to take shelter.  

I prefered the open area with the view to have my lunch.
I bundled up in my layers and settled down.
I savoured the view and my bar-b-qued beef wrap.
This is my destination shot of the day with Moose Mountain as the backdrop.
I knew right from the start the views would be spectacular and this proves the point!
While it is disappointing when you cannot reach your physical goal of the day, that never deters me from reaaching my mental goal of the day which is to always have fun and to "remember to breathe!"  
The later afternoon sun peaks through the trees creating a glow and shadows.
With lives happenings over the last couple of weeks, I have been reminded to embrace each day!

Where are you Mike?