Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Morning Wing It

With life's happenings finally settling down for hopefully three months, it's game on now going forward.   I spent yesterday luxuriating and rejuvenating and woke this morning ready to be out & about.  I had no idea last night when I laid my head on the pillow what today would bring so first thing this morning I made a plan to wing it.  I wanted to clip into my Skis, especially after applying glide wax for the very first time yesterday.  I did not want a long drive and I did not want a challenge, not yet anyway.  My wing it would be Bill Milne, which after googling I found that the best place for me to hop into the track would be from the first parking lot on the Ribbon Creek Road.  I went for the second parking lot.  

It was very cold!
The sun was not above the peaks yet!
The gliding was glorious!
As the sun peeked over the peak, it lit up the meadow and created a sparkly crystaly sensation.
This was my first time X-C Skiing this track, I did have some kind of idea of what to expect though.  I was overjoyed with the beautiful scenery and that slowed me down in sections.  I also slowed down when I heard loads of yelping and howling and barking.   A couple came along and told me that racket was coming from the dog sled teams across the highway at Boundary Ranch.  

aiming for Mount Kidd and The Wedge
my stop spot shot
frosty fringes if you look close
I went as far as the trail goes before it crosses Highway 40 and made that my turn around point.  This was the first time I skied where there is only one track and had to move to the side twice as I partook in the proper etiquette.  The sun was higher and casting morning shadows yet it was still crispy cool.
along the way 
As I neared the end, the track doubled and that was a good thing.  
Many folks were hopping in now.  
I got one last photo heading home before more folks came along.
This X-C Ski outing was just what I needed.  
There was lots of time to just be.  
Thank you for today!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I've missed you so!

I put a little extra effort into getting my ducks all in a row as the week drew to an end.   My X-C Skis have been propped at my front door and I have been longing to clip in on a blue-bird day then just glide & stride & become one with them.  Ahhh, I have missed that so.  Then the stars aligned!  A plan was offered up and I jumped in with unbridled enthusiasm.

immediate view at the beginning of the Cascade Fire Road X-C Ski trail
beginning to glide & stride
on a blue-bird day
The others went ahead and I thoroughly enjoyed my pace & my space in this gorgeous place.  The temperature was low, the air was crisp and so refreshing.  It was no time at all before I had that feeling of becoming one with my skis.   I eventually arrived at the bridge which crosses the Cascade River.  The snow on the railing was too high to see over top, until.....
.....I reached the center and someone had cleared a foot wide section.  
This was the view between the high snow piles. 
I made my way to the far end of the bridge.  I skied this trail before but not to the bridge nor beyond.  At the end of the bridge there was a fork in the trail.  I pondered which way my friends would have gone and I had no idea.  Did they go straight or did they veer to the left.  I waited while wondering which way to go. I decided I better not chance going in the direction they did not, so had to make this my turn around point.  
view as I made my way back 
The return trip was loads of fun with a long section of gentle downhill.  I arrived back near the beginning and enjoyed one last vast vista before heading back to the trail head and savouring my tuna salad sandwich, bar-b-que chips, banana bread and tea whilst waiting for the others.  
Apres-X-C-Ski, we stopped in Canmore for snacks & hot beverages & catching up on everyones' lifes happenings.  
Today was perfection at its finest and all components ignited that spark for this sport.   

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Powderface Pass freshly renewed

I ended yesterday's yearly check-up post with "Let's see what tomorrow brings!" It's now tomorrow and I woke refreshed and renewed and be "out & about".  Since it's Sunday and I would be soloing, I wanted safe and short and closer to home.   I also wanted to work at adding destinations to my collection of safe solos.  I have been to Powderface Pass a number of times but always with friends.  This location fit the bill for everything I was looking for today.

  I was early but not the first.
  It was sunny but not cold.  
I passed through the gate.
The sun was rising over the mountain top and shedding some light on the tips of the trees. 
My direction of intent was towards that lone cloud. 
Seeing far beyond, I was excited for what the views would be like at The Pass. It was easy going along the hard packed trail.  I was happy for the lack of snow which made my briskness practice that much easier.  That cloud was calling and I aimed for it.
At the intersection I took a moment to delayer and check out my surroundings.  The sun, the shadows, the sky, the snow I was loving it all.  Shortly past this point, the folk that was first was making his return trip on his bike with great big gigantic fat tires.  We exchanged pleasantries as we passed by.
I pushed through the final last climb and reached Powderface Pass.  
It appeared exactly how I had hoped it would.  
I could see forever!  
I owned this place.  I dropped my gear and had some snacks and tea.  Then I took care of the summit shot business.  The ground was wind swept clear in some sections yet with large snow drifts in other parts.  I checked out the area.  It was a peaceful pleasant place to be at this time and I took full advantage of that.
Nihahi Ridge
After enjoying my ownership here, I eyed the direction to where I would be heading back.  I could see the summit of Prairie Mountain from here.  Looking this way was picture perfect.  Feeling ready to say see you another time, I geared up and went on my way.  Within a few minutes I met two ladies with five dogs or was it six,  on their way to the top.  My timing was perfect.
Being back into the trees, I delayered and enjoyed the spring-like day without gaiters, without jacket, without gloves without hat but with that spring in my step.  So there you go,  a continuation of my healthy check-up was what today had in store. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

my yearly check up

It's that time of year again for the annual check-up.  When hiking season is over and it's time to transition to X-C Skiing and Snowshoeing, I get curious as to how much terrain I covered to-date in the year.  I include snowshoeing in my tallies along with hiking but not X-C Ski distances.  I was pleasantly surprised my check up showed a healthy performance.  I already have a new record for the kilometers I hiked and it is only mid November.  I have a significant amount of elevation gain to conquer if I want a new record in that category.

With hopes of still having time to accomplish a hike or two more, my boots are still sitting at my front door but now so are my snowshoes and X-C Skis.  It's that time of year when we have choices.  Let's see what tomorrow brings!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sunrise Hill 11 11 11

I am so very thankful that I get to do pretty much anything I want to do, where I want to do it and when I want to do it.  I wanted to hiked this Remembrance Day because I am ready, willing and most importantly able to.  Freedom!  I cherish my freedom!  On a day that is all about never forgetting, I also remembered to prioritize on what and who are important in my life.

Our Remembrance Day started with a steep hike up the trail of the south face of Powderface Ridge.   Neither of us been up here before so I was relieved to see the trail was obvious.  Once out of the trees, the wind was fierce but we were fiercer and fought it.  At this point I already knew the scenery was to be a photographer's dream.
I know this area can be predominantly windy so I cannot imagine that there is ever much snow accumulation here.
I zoomed in on Prairie Mountain and could see it was windy there too.
When I am on that summit I can never capture a shot of the flag waving so perfectly as it is here.
Moose Mountain
We spied the cairn and what looked like a flag on a summit which I believed to be Powderface Ridge South Face.  The sign said "Welcome to Sunrise Hill"!  My thought was where the heck are we?  Where is Powderface Ridge?  We missed a turn off I guess.   We had plenty of time to capture our summit shots, and get back down to shelter to take our two minutes.
back down 
The watch struck 11:00 on the 11th day of the 11th month. 
We stopped to acknowledge and take those two minutes of silence.  
The wind settled too.  
We had an early lunch then decided to explore further along a ridge we saw earlier.  
As you can see, we needed to stay bundled up.  
The wind returned and it had a powerful chill with it as we hiked into it.
along the ridge
descending off the ridge
 further down the slope
We only saw four other folks, two sets of two, the whole while we were in the area and that was well after our summit visit and lunch. The distance we had covered was not up to our usual lengths but given a mid week day this was ideal.  I had one look back before coming off the last short slope to the road.
What a great day to be "out & about"!  Remembrance Day has so much meaning and I was so happy to be able to share it with my friend.  With the beautiful scenery and fresh cold invigorating air, I felt inspired and motivated to get my X-C Skis up out of the basement when I got home and brush the dust off.   The time will soon come to strap those on but until then, there is still hiking ground to cover.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sulphur Mountain many things I do know for sure

My motivation for being "out & about" these days is at the lowest level ever and it is taking loads of self talk to just "get up & go"!  Today's destination was to the big rock at the end of the Cosmic Ray Road which is up the back side of Sulphur Mountain.  The terminal building on Sulphur Mountain is closed for construction and the closure includes the entire length of the boardwalk, which is why the big rock was our destination.  There was no closure though of the Sundance Trail area where Bear #148 has been hanging out lately, we knew we would need to be extra cautious along that section.  The weather forecast was for rain/snow.  So the self talk began and when all was said, I just got up & went!  One thing I do know for sure is that once I finally get "out & about", I am very happy that I "got up & went".  Today was no different.  

first open view
looking back and seeing a tiny speck of blue
It seemed to take forever to reach that big rock and to where the closure warning sign was.  I chalked up the foreverness to having no views and that as the snow accumulated the hiking became more laboured.  One thing I do know for sure is that I liked being up here without having another single soul around other than my three friends.  That being said, we could hear the construction folks off in the distance at the terminal but due to pretty much zero visibility, we could not see them.  
We found a sheltered place to spread out and settle down.  Lunch did not take long, there was no need for it nor want for it.  For the descent, I left my extra dining layers on and then found a spot to take care of our summit shot business.  This is my summit shot.
no matter what the conditions, I need to incorporate a little fun time
One thing I do know for sure is that I am happy about the snowfall.
I look forward to strapping on my X-C skis.  
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  
At times I found my mind wandering to visions of gliding along the Great Divide and... 
...soaring down Moraine Lake Road.  
The descent portion of our hike was quick and it seemed like in no time we were back down to the flat trail beside the river.  The snow turned to sprinkles then to rain.  The overcastness brought out the beautiful color of the Bow River.  Even with the cloud coverage and the falling rain, we were still afforded gorgeous reflections.
I tried out my new North Face winter hiking boots for today's trek.  I brought along another pair of boots to change into in case these new boots gave me grief.  After 16 kilometres and 850 meters of elevation gain, my feet where happy feet.  One thing I do know for sure is that these boots are keepers.
I was so happy I gave into all that self talk and got to enjoy another great day in our playground.  It was extra special to stand on the deck of the hotel room at the end of our day and view that great valley and vastness that was right before our eyes and where we just spent our day. Thank you for that offer.  

One thing I do know for sure is that I love knowing things for sure!