Saturday, March 29, 2014

all the right angles

It's spring!  
It's almost April!  
It's time to go forward in life at a different angle... fact, four different angles!      

#1 head on down to the front range of Kananaskis 
#2 spend time with friends I have not seen in ages
#3 gear down to hiking boots, gaiters, microspikes
#4 clip bear spray to my pack and watch for bears

They are all the right angles in my books for this time of year.  
Right angles = 90 degrees
Four 90 degree (right) angles = a square

This is our main destination today!  Square Butte, otherwise known as Mesa Butte! You can see our second, lower destination off in the distance to the right which is known as Hill 64E.  Our plan of attack is for our final track to look more like a square than a loop.

We meandered our way up and through the forest, following no particular trail until we came out into the open and could clearly see where we wanted to be. This shot shows the summit of the Butte and I believe that lone tree on top is where the summit register may be.  I forgot about it, in all the excitement of the beauty surrounding us when we arrived.  The lines along the slope all the way up were eye catching.
This was our view south from the summit.  
The many layers of ranges were barely visible through the fog/cloud/haze.
My first mission once we reached the summit was to capture my "leap of love" shot.  Oh see, I did create a 90-degree angle, yes a right angle with my legs bent.  The others went to secure a great lunch spot but I prefer to get my jump done before filling my belly.  The lighter the belly, the higher the jump!
a perfect pack tree rack
I finally settled down with the others to dine.  At least I tried to settle down.  This is something I am realizing I have an issue with.  I can sit still long enough to quickly eat my lunch but then I'm ready to occupy my time in other ways.  I spent the rest of the time, taking photos, scoping out close by views and today, I built a snowman.  
Lunch time energized us to carry on with summitting our next destination.  First we descended through the forest, in sticky, wet heavy snow.  It accumulated on the bottom of my microspike and my foot was so so heavy to lift that I ended up with a cramp in my calf muscle.  But, look, I did create a 90-degree angle, yes another right angle.
photo credit to Nikita
I love the Sheep area for the aspen trees and the lack of snow this time of year.
We made our way across the wide open meadow to begin ascending again.  We bypassed these trees and I waited for the sun to peak out through the clouds so I could grab a shadow shot.  We were fortunate to have sun and warmth today.  
in the forest again
We reached the top of Hill 64E.  Once again we had a hazy view but still so very pretty.  My second summit shot this Saturday was geared more towards today's theme, lots of right angles.  Yes, there are quite a few 90-degree (right) angles going on here! 
You can see in the last chart below, we did complete a square-like track. I thoroughly enjoyed how all the right angles today created fun in a very square place.  I will clarify that it took exactly these seven ladies today who have the know-how, to turn something so very square into something so very right!  

YES INDEED, today's four different angles were the right angles!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Snooze You Loose? No Way Today!

My bags were packed, I was ready to was just a matter of coming up with a new Saturday snowshoe destination.  Keyboard at my fingers, in the midst of making a confirmation, I accidentally snoozed!  While snoozing, plans were being made.  I woke, plans had been made.  You snooze, you loose, I felt like I did!

My bags were packed, I was ready to solo!  With the end of winter "technically" just around the corner, a visit to the mountains was in order to say my good-bye.  I rang winter in on a beautiful day, time to ring it out (a few days early) on a day just as grand.  I did some quick homework:  check weather forecast, avalanche ratings, road conditions & trail conditions.  All were in order for safe fun in sections of Kananaskis.

After a short hike near the Interlakes, I then headed for Canyon and Penstock.  It had been years since I frequented that area.  It looked different, it felt new & nice.  The snow didn't quite feel nice, it was that spring-time snow.  I tried my snowshoes for awhile but later ditched them for my micro-spikes.

I had outright ownership for my entire time on the trail.  My trip started with this view.  The runners on the bottom of this sled are frozen deep in the ice.  It's  a precious little sled,  I can't imagine why it is there!
The hue of this ice was worth admiring.
A cairn marks the way!   To Where?
I wasn't game to find out!
The snow was very deep off trail.
A snow horizon!
Can you figure out what this photo is all about?
I was feeling kissed by the sun and loving it!  
I felt wrapped in the warmth of Mother Nature!
I was where I belonged on this day!
Actions speak louder than words!
My destination shot is a....

leap of love
This meadow was such a pretty place to be.  The snow was teasing and inviting.  It enticed me but I did not give in, I stayed in my micro-spikes and left my snowshoes on my backpack.  Others can dare to go and enjoy!
Here we go again, this rock pile looked so inviting! It made me think of miniature elephant rocks.  Do you know that song by Tegan & Sara "Closer"?  My favourite line of that song is "all I wanna get is a little bit closer".
all I wanna get is a little bit closer
all I wanna get is a little bit closer
Well, the above photo shows as close as I got.  It was tempting to tackle them but I played the wise card and stayed off.  Some animal tackled this slope!  Can you figure out what this shot is all about?  Is it an illusion?  
Here today was where I was suppose to be! 

Glad I snoozed, glad I loosed.  
I was well rested for a winner of a day.
Good-bye winter workouts!

Hello spring snowshoeing!  
Stay tuned!

(note:  pink & red mark the areas I hiked/snowshoed) 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My March Ringer

I missed ringing in March last Saturday due to extreme weather conditions so snowshoeing today would be my ringer.  While we did not have blue sky and sunshine, we did have above zero temperatures and that mix sat well with me this day.   The avalanche rating was posted for high which meant options were limited.   A few of us had snowshoed to Taylor Lake in the past, we were familiar with the terrain, so made that today's choice of place to play.  My hope, as always, would be that we would be first to arrive and own the trail.  That was not the case today!  Truly, I am not stingy.   I was happy to share the place with many others today.

We geared up and aimed for the kiosk which we would not get anywhere near.
We climbed the metal stairs, passed through the gate and away we went.  
Mountain views were lacking which I was prepared for, so focused on Mother Nature's beauty. 
When we reached the junction to head to Taylor Lake, the trail was no longer broken.   
Thank you to the guys for clearing the way.  
I was glad to finally be at Taylor Lake.  Today's destination shot comes to you by way of words from the Purple Haze song by Jimi Hendrix.  While we know what he was high on, but for me I was high on just plain altitude and life itself! 

Actin' funny, but I don't know why
'Scuse me while I kiss the sky
Short Stop and I played a bit before heading to join the others for lunch.  When it came time for us to eat, we did a dine & dash.  There was no blue sky here, there were a few flurries flurring about and then we flurried on.  On the way out, I checked out a bit beyond then captured a vista shot.

a bit beyond
a vista shot
We found some deep stuff to contend with if we wished!  
Of course I opted for the wished!
It was hard to resist taking time to play on our descent.  
My friend afforded us many laughs!
It was best to stay on the trail if at all possible.  But like I said before, it was hard to resist taking the time to play.  After all the other folks followed along the trail, it became packed and I still needed more powder so went for it.  But then I fell and could not get up!
fun with formations
After two Saturdays of not being able to be in my mountain playground and already being into March, I was thankful to finally get out today and ring in the month.  The distance and elevation was a big objective for me and I was pleasantly depleted when we were back at the parking lot.  I'm not ready for the snowshoeing season to end, I still have many hours of playing in pow in me.  I'm already looking forward to more big days in big snow! STAY TUNED!