Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mount McNabb Area March 25, 2017

spring always comes with a promise of variety

Variety is a staple word in anything spring related!  A variety of weather can be expected, trail conditions offer quite a variety and then the variety varies quite widely when route finding is brought into the mix and even more so when the route finding is no where near where you are suppose to be route finding and you are trying to find your way to where you planned to be route finding!  Does that make sense!  I guess you had to be there!   

Our plan was to be closer to the Mount Dyson area but our process of executing that plan found us circumnavigating Mount McNabb instead.   I am going to attribute that to being distracted by thoroughly being caught up in conversations of a vast variety amongst everyone.

...our day begins...
We donned our water crossing footwear right at the trailhead expecting to be needing them in a short period of time.  That did not materialize as the river and creek were solid.  Once we crossed then we changed into hiking boots and delayered already.  Things looked a little different since the flood.  We found a way up slopes, steep at times and then back down again on even steeper slopes.  That last steep down took us to Coal Creek where we were pleasantly surprised to find we could hike along it for a distance. This meant slipping on the foot traction devices.  Talk about variety, even our footwear played a part. 
playing at a frozen falls
not much variety in color choices
From hiking down a true path at the beginning, to crossing a frozen creek, ascending a steep slope then descending a mossy green even steeper slope, to hiking along a frozen creek and now we experienced working our way up and through a rough and rugged boulder area.
geology galore
One of the main original objectives was to reach wide open meadows.  
While we did not find those meadows, we did find this one.  
With not a speck of snow, it was very green yet very dry.   
I like to enjoy the scenery with a different perspective.
To complete our loop we needed to cross back over the Sheep River.  Many hours had passed, the sun shone most of those hours, the temperature climbed yet the River remained solid enough for a safe cross to the other side. 

With time to spare and energy to spend we found a fun way to make an investment.
It was now time to pack up.....
.....and head home!

It has been ages since I headed home in the fun way that I like to head home.  If you have been a loyal follower for years you will know what I am talking about.  If you newly found me I will fill you in on my kind of heading home.  As our day draws to a close I capture a shot of my friends and think about our conversations throughout the day.   Sometimes I quote word for word and others times I add my own little twist to the phrase.  I enjoyed heading home today!
I desired a day like this for some time now.  It was great to catch up with old friends and make new friends.  It is a small world too when you spend hours with someone then to find out they are also a Bluenoser.  I did get down, I did get dirty, I did get scraped, I did get burned!  Hours packed full of variety was exactly what I cherished!

Thank you for today!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Prairie View March 18 2017

Today's color comes to you by way of clothing & characters & camaraderie!

With spring on the verge of being sprung, I think of sun, warmth, crocuses, Easter, color.  These ultimately would not naturally play a part while we were "out & about" which meant it was time to find a way to "save the day".  Not long into heading west then south, the discussion began on how to accomplish saving our day as we drove into a sprinkle, then a driving rain with next a full on heavy snowfall which was accumulating fast.  The consensus was this formula was not for us today.  We did an about face and headed back up north picking Barrier Lake as our starting point.  
The day was gray but it was dry here. 
We bundled up in many layers and faced the force of the wind along the section by the Lake.  
The hair pin turns through the forest were snow covered with icy sections.  Cougar tracks were plentiful some which looked as recent as this morning.  We stuck together carrying on with conversation and made our way up to the first open view point along Prairie View Trail.  It was nice to see the Lake looking that pretty blue color.  I opted for a destination shot here just in case this would be our turn around spot.
It is wonderful to be amongst spirited friends.  
They add color to any day.  

After capturing our fun photos, we checked out the trail further along.  Between ice, snow, and mud we agreed instead of hitting higher points, our pleasure would be seeking shelter with a view then settle down to relax and dine.  After savouring my salad, banana bread, almonds and tea, it was time to let the child within come out and add a little more color and a character to our day.  I am in the mindset of spring so instead of building a snowman I designed an Easter bunny.  
We spent quite some time at the view point then when all was said and done, we geared up and headed down.  Time passed as did kilometers while being caught up in conversation and before we new it we were ready to brace against the wind again.  The wind was even wilder now along the Lake shore.  Just prior to reaching the parking lot, the spitting began.  We quickly unloaded, packed up and aimed for home.   

The choices to safely venture to this weekend were more limited than they have ever been.  The avalanche ratings are at the highest level I have ever seen them. Even though, there are still safe places to play and I wanted to be "out & about".  I was very happy to find some friends to join in with and share in adding color to a gray day.
Thank you for today!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

X-C Ski Bill Milne March 12 2017

I panicked a bit when I heard the forecast is due to change to where the temperature will spiral upwards and will last for some days.  That is not good for our snow on the x-c ski trails.  I am not ready to move my X-C Skis to the basement yet.  I still have many miles of gliding left in me this season.  The new fallen snow and the still cold enough temperature pair perfectly to create supreme trail conditions so I planned to knock off some of those miles that are still within me.  My intentions were to get out the door early so I could be at Barrier Lake area to watch the sun rise.  I sauntered somewhat which delayed my getting out the door and the sun rose on me while I exited the city.  I drove straight to the Ribbon Creek Parking Lot to begin my X-C Ski trip.

view crossing the bridge towards the Bill Milne tracks

The view behind me was picture perfect and I kept looking back.  I needed the rest too.  I was first in the track this morning which meant breaking trail in the new snow from yesterday and last night.

the vistas were vast
On the return trip I utilized the tracks I already made but every now and then moved over to where I should be when others were approaching towards me.  I truly did not feel like breaking another new trail so used the opportunity to snap shots until the skiers passed by.  I could not get enough of these views.
It was a beautiful morning.  There was no wind and the temperature was fresh.  I was in my happy place and embraced being there.  These are my kind of wintery days.  While it is still winter yet, the forecast will bring on a springy-like feel and that will not be user friendly for X-C Skiing.
I am not ready to move all my winter toys to the basement.  
I still have many miles in me to knock off but they may now have to be with snowshoes on.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

this & that & in between those

This morning after working through life's happenings, I bundled up in my blues (as you can see in the silver ball) and headed off to invest a couple of hours at Nose Creek and the Birthplace Forest.  It felt like the dog days of mid-February even though it looked like Christmas in places.  Anytime spent in this Park, I always come across something new to me.  This wreath is not seasonal, it is a memorial.   
Every tree in this Birthplace Forest has meaning...
...and a story to tell.
It looked very pretty this morning with the new fallen snow on the pine and fir greens.  
The scattered red & blue ribbons tied to trees added pop to the views.


That project I started back in December called "sea to summit" is now complete. I finished my second water color painting and picked a woodsy frame to decorate it.  The reds & blues here add pop too.   This piece of art brings me back in spirit to my homeland.  It adds warmth to this mid March day. 
I designed this lighthouse beach glass project a little while back.  It now hangs along side "are we there yet".  My "valley girlfriend" shared a picture with me of something similar that she was pretty sure I would take to.  Of course I did.  I reworked the piece to make it my own and this was the outcome.  The reds & blues here add pop too!  I am limited to certain colors in my beach glass collection.  For the sun, the light, the red and two blue waves, I painted the glass.
I find I am spending more time in the room that contains "sea to summit".  It is a room on the smaller side but it has great light for reading and a comfy bed.  It is bright, it is cheerful and it warms my heart to be amongst sights that are parts of my passions.  


In between those activities, I accomplished filling in some of the details for vacation plans that I have in place.  It is still a little too soon to be counting sleeps.  For now I am containing the excitement but I know it will spill out the closer "it's go time" gets here.
My recent trip to Tofino was a first time for me to be there.  Seeing all of the above will be a first for me too.  There will be another first this year but it will be for three friends.  I already know they are excited to venture from down south to up north for a hiking vacation.  I shared some trail options with them so they have an idea of what they could be in for and also to work at building their anticipation.

Between this & that & those I am calling it a day and ready to begin getting on with tonight!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Forgetmenot Pond March 4, 2017

I had a blank canvas to start with when I laid my head on the pillow last night.  I worked at sketching out a plan that would offer me an opportunity to stretch my legs in our mountain playground and that would show me a full color pallet.   When I woke this morning my first thought was to aim somewhere along "where life begins at Highway 40" but after performing due diligence I nixed that area plus anything west on the #1 and opted for where all factors would be positively prime for safety and enjoyment. 

I parked at the closed gate by Elbow Falls.
I hopped over the gate and hiked the highway.
I picked 10:30am as a turn-around time.
I only wanted to stretch my legs and see some color.

this is what that blank canvas transpired into

I began hiking at 7:30am as the surrounding slopes appeared on fire in these early morning moments.  
I veered left down towards the pretty Beaver Ponds.  
At the end of the Ponds, I carried on through the campground then exited back out onto Route 66.
The colors were gorgeous.
blue sky, white fluffy clouds, gold rock walls, snow-covered road 
The canvas was beginning to fill with color.
I reached the Timber Harvesting Parking Lot and stopped for a few moments.  I wondered how much further to Forgetmenot Pond.  At this point I already hiked just over five kilometres which meant today would already be a ten kilometer day.  My legs already felt stretched but it was such a beautiful morning I wanted to make the most of it.   While taking a few moments here, I chatted with R.W. the biker, photographer, scrambler, adventurer.   He then went his way back and I carried on forward.  
The further down and further in I went, the more colorful and beautiful it became.  
This section of the road was easy hiking as you can tell it is bare.  I was able to make good time along here.  I captured a destination shot here just in case I decided to turn around at any point.  It was still early and I had not reached my turn-around time yet.  I had lots of food and beverage with me along with extra layers.  I continued on.
I reached the intersection and the barricade at the beginning of Powderface Road.  Turning left would get me to Forgetmenot Pond in a few minutes.  There had been some really recent snowmobile activity and day old ski activity. 
crossing the meadow towards the Pond with Powderface Ridge in the distance
Forgetmenot Pond
I have only ever been to Forgetmenot Pond when you can drive right up to it during the months of May to November.  The only sign of life by the Pond were old deer tracks and then very old wild mustang poop out by the parking lot.  This is special to be here on this day under these conditions with it looking like this.
Forgetmenot Pond
After about 20 minutes of admiring the scenery, taking photos and then snacking, I packed up and headed back to the road to continue stretching my legs.  My GPS showed just over ten kilometers to here so I knew what I had ahead of me.  Looking back at the pretty picture as I left.
a last look back
After the first flat section back, I then put my head down and  focused on getting to the top of the really really really long hill.  I arrived back at the Harvest Timbering Parking Lot.  I fueled up for the the last five kilometers.  My legs felt already stretched enough, (I really don't need them to be any longer).  With about 45 minutes left to go, the snow began.  It was light at first then built up to be heavy and on the damp side.  That didn't matter to me, I had the gear for it and my canvas was chalk full of color already anyway.  
Nearing the end I heard yelling off in the distance.  
Once around the corner I saw why all the yelling. 

While my plan was for something on the shorter side today, I felt quite fine with what I accomplished.  All that beach walking in Tofino last week must have kept my legs stretched more than I realized.  If I was a true artist, my originals would be like the canvas I walked into today.