Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fox Lake November 26 2016

I have been longing to frolic and kick up snow in a winter wonderland!  For the past couple of weeks, I watched the weather much closer than I normally do, wishing and hoping and praying for snowfall accumulations.  While that sweet white gold has been scarce in some locations, in others it was looking quite plentiful.  That plentiful location that we rallied together to get to would be Fox Lake. 

We arrived at the Elk Pass parking lot pleasantly surprised to see an abundance of snow, so much so that we donned our snowshoes right from the start.  The further up and further in we went, the levels of white gold were deeper and sweeter.  There were no X-C Ski tracks, no skiers, just us.
peeking through the trees to the Continental Divide
We arrived at the border between Alberta and British Columbia.  Along the way we experienced some serious trail breaking and we shared that duty amongst us.  We still had 0.7 kms to go but we already knew at this point that Fox Lake would be divine.
The signs showed us the way.
view on our way to Fox Lake
We arrived at Fox Lake and found a lovely spot to settle down to dine.  
The sun shone on us and the wind was not worth mentioning.  

After fueling up, it was play time.  I warned everyone that today would be all about embracing the snow.  A few are knowledgeable with what that means, others found out for the first time and they took hold and joined right in like experts.
embracing the snow
After spending some of our energy, we used the rest to begin our snowshoe trek back the way we came.  We happily marched along in the track we already made.  Fox Lake holds a special place in my heart.  I stayed back a few minutes on my own to have a moment on my own.
I took one last look back.
I did not see the hug in the corner when I took the photo.
I saw it when I downloaded my photos at home and it melted my heart.
Yes, I know you were there with me Ian, I felt your embrace! 
working our way back through a meadow 
Back at the intersection by Patterson, a few of us snowshoed up the hill to have a look.  There was another meadow that looked inviting but we needed to return to the others and get on with our day.   
The only thing ahead of us now was making our way back to the parking lot.  We kept to the side now as we saw ski tracks and thought there could be others coming or going somewhere along the way.  As it turned out, we saw only three skiers at the very end of our.
I was thrilled with how our first snowshoe trek of the season turned out.  
Sharing a day with friends who are on the same page as me is wonderful.
Thank you for today!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Volcano Ridge November 19 2016

poetry in a picture

put blue in the sky
how appealing to our eye
offer rolling hills of green
looks lovely in between
a snow covered mountain peak
what a photographer will seek
add clouds fluffy and white
you give us pure delight
While I am itching to strap my snowshoes on and get lost in a winter-wonderland, I did not want to pass up the opportunity to explore a front range where access will be denied in less than two weeks.  We had a big day planned covering loads of terrain in the Volcano Ridge area so it was good to have the early start from the Gorge Creek Parking Lot.  
The air was cold & crisp much more so than I was expecting but that did not matter, I was prepared for everything.  The trail was flattish for quite some time with a creek crossing or two.  Much to our delight they were easily crossable without changing into creek-crossing footwear.  
We hiked on and on and on, caught up in conversation.  When we realized we missed our turn off, we did a quick about face and darted back.  This ooops added another couple of kilometers to our intended distance.  We found the trail we needed to ascend.   Finally, there were the views we were expecting.   
 cairn on south Volcano Ridge
It was a tad bit slippery descending the south Ridge, we all made it down safe & sound.  We took a few minutes to admire the view from the pass.  Bluerock Mountain stands out for most of the day while in this area.
looking up at what we came down
Time was ticking and we still were not at the North Summit.  The views were amazing, the sun felt warm, there was no wind, so the consensus was to dine with this view in front of us.  Our destination though, was behind us and it would be another climb so refueling was a necessity.
view as we ascend again
 my summit shot on the North Summit of Volcano Ridge
 me and my friends
a summit is always a happy place to be
Because time was ticking by, and we were a bit behind, our visit on the summit was not long.  We secured our shots, devoured a quick snack (including rum balls thank you very much Short Stop), then retreated off the summit in the same direction we came up.

view of the green rolling hills
We reached the bottom and checked the time.  
Shadows were becoming longer. 
We knew we needed to motor to get back to the parking lot in daylight.  
looking back over & up to where we were at the North Summit of Volcano Ridge
We finally finished the long, steep at times, descent through the forest.  
We popped out into this meadow and admired the view before continuing on with our motoring.  
The last few kilometers were tough, but hey, we're tough.  The trail was gradual up hill for most of the way.  We kept our heads down, dug deep and just got it done. I had one last look back as the clouds took on a pink hue then it was all business with getting back to the cars.
We arrived back with just enough time to gear down and get the drive on the rough winding narrow snowy portion of the road over with before it was full on darkness.  Our distance was longer than expected as was our meters of elevation gain.  Yet, every step over the amount of expected is worth it when you are sharing these steps with fun friends.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Junction Hill November 12 2016

making a mountain out of a hill

With another fabulous weekend forecast, I knew for sure I wanted to be out & about.  They say our days are numbered for stealing beautiful weather for November.  With the daylight hours on the shorter side, I opted for a trail day where we could accomplish it all in less time.  I picked a hill which is truly a mountain experience though, Junction Hill!

Our plan of attack of this hill was to do a full counterclockwise loop.  Our initial ascent was 363 meters of elevation over 1.2 kilometers.  It was steep enough that we needed to maintain a lean-forward stance or else you would tumble backwards and down the slope.

We reached a more gentle slope where we were able to stop and enjoy the view when what to our wondering eyes should appear to the west, but a rainbow.  Yet, our pot of gold was to the far right on that open bare spot, our main destination, the summit of Junction Hill.  
rays broke through the clouds the whole day
It's mid November and I expected at least some snow but we encountered none the whole way to the summit.  There was no need for gaiters nor microspikes.  We first reached the false summit...
then the true summit of Junction Hill
The wind was wickedly wild which made for a very short summit visit.  We took turns capturing group shots and solo shots.  There was no way my tripod would survive if I put it to use.  We scampered up and down the short slope to the cairn when it was our turn for a photo op.
view as we began the descent
We needed to pass by the false summit upon our return to the boulder field to descend.
The rays strategically fell upon the cairn.
We got off the boulder field and made our way deep into the forest for shelter and to dine.  We had no view but that was not a priority, escaping the wild wind was.  After lunch we found our way back up onto the ridge and carried on with our loop.  More blue was appearing as the minutes went on.
meadow play
It's November!
Yet still!
We embraced the wind gusts! 
As early afternoon approached and we worked our way off the hill, the lighting and the scenery was captivating.  I was lingering somewhat as the day was beautifying quite nicely.  We were off the high wide open slopes now, so there was very little wind to contend with.
looking across to where we were a few hours prior
heading home
I was so pleased with how our day transpired.  To be able to complete an out & about day today in our mountain, well really a hill, playground in mid November without trail condition issues is amazing.   You need to grab onto to those days and fully embrace them like we did!  Thank you for sharing your laughs and smiles with me today!