Saturday, November 24, 2018

Fox Lake Snowshoe November 24, 2018

November is my favourite time of year to snowshoe into Fox Lake.  There is always an abundance of new untouched white gold.  The x-c ski trails are not set yet and there are no skiers to speak off. This means we can travel somewhat freely along certain sections of the route.  We can own the trails and own "our" lake.  I have snowshoed to Fox Lake many times and never once have we shared the lake with others.  Today was prime time to strap on our snowshoes and go on an adventure to Fox Lake.
On Friday I watched the snow fall continuously once it started.  That ignited my anticipation for a great day ahead.  This morning it was still snowing and the drive to meet my friends was a bit nerve racking.  Reports were saying it is not user friendly out there.  My anticipation for a great day was waining.  My friend who would be driving us to the trailhead was gung-ho and was saying let's go.  The closer we got to our start spot, the more my excitement grew.   This was our view as we moved up along the trail.   
view along the Fox Creek Trail
Fox Creek & Mount Fox
We arrived at the picnic table and took a break to snack.  
It was at this point where we met the first two skiers of the day.  
We had a pleasant chat and then we went on our way. 
We snowshoed for a few minutes after leaving the picnic table and then veered off at the pole spot.  We went up slope a bit and snowshoed through a different meadowy area than what I have done on prior trips here.  My gung-ho friend who earlier said let's go now once again said let's go this way and he was keen to break trail for us.  We arrived at the border.
sign pointing us in the right direction
We arrived at Fox Lake as clouds were dancing around and then lifting.  We found a spot to settle down to dine.  This was the view I had.  We were in the sun and happy to have no wind.  I donned all my layers so was quite comfortable.    
tea time
After lunch it was time to warm up again and burn off a little of our recent fuel intake.  
I always enjoy running in the snow.
I asked my friends if they would play with me and they were on board.  
my destination shot
feeling quite at home at Fox Lake
We expressed our love for this day!
 When all of the lake business was complete, we packed up and said so long.  
 the view back as we worked our way back to the kiosk
Instead of returning the way we came once we reached the kiosk and border we aimed straight.  By going straight through the opening we were following what we believed was the border between Alberta and British Columbia.  There were ribboned trees to follow and bushwhacking was necessary in spots.  This was a suggestion by my gung-ho friend and we became gung-ho too.  We followed along as once again he broke the trail for us.  There were a few signs along this opening and this is one of them.  Seeing one like this was a first for me.
We came out onto a trail then followed it to the hydroline and the arch way that welcomes you to the Elk Valley in British Columbia.  I was here many years ago, long before the arch was built.  It was a beautiful piece of art full of carvings.
 These are just a few of the carvings.
We still had a way to go and time was passing.  We followed the hydroline where we saw two more skiers.  That was it, we saw only four x-c skiers all day. The light at this time of day was pretty and this was an amazing view to finish up with before taking care of business and getting ourselves back to the car before dark.
The reasons listed at the beginning of my story for picking this time of year to snowshoe to Fox Lake all held true.  While the distance we traveled and the elevation we gained was not grand, I did end up feeling pleasantly depleted.  I secured some quiet moments during the drive home to remember how thankful I am for what I am able to experience in life.  

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Elbow Lake Desolation Flats November 17, 2018

 A Winter Wonderland is what we wanted!  After yesterday's all day snowfall I was for certain our hearts would be content somewhere up in the Highwood Pass area.  I knew we would not cover lots of ground as we have been investing our time capturing beautiful photographs.  These adventures and scenery have all been firsts for my friend.  Hiking up to Elbow Lake, along the Big Elbow Trail then visiting around the wide open Flats area would give us an eyeful of winter wonderland.                          
There was much more snow than I expected.  We could have worn snowshoes but donned microspikes instead.  I figured we could move more freely and quickly in them.  There was a trail for us to hike in as others had snowshoed here on prior days. 

We arrived at Elbow Lake before the sun came over the mountains.  The scenery was dark blueish greyish without ant kind of cloud at all and I still cannot take nice photos under those conditions.  I like the section at the end of the Lake as you cross over into the Wildlands.                              
We slowed our pace even more waiting for the sun to come up.  As it appeared through the trees it lit up the snowflakes in front of the mountain.
We reached the wide open Flats where Tombstone Mountain seemed so close that we could almost reach out and touch it.  We take many destination shots.  My friend put her own twist on the jumping shots.

Our lunch location was down by the river which afforded us some shelter and offered up a prime time view.  Lunch was not long, we wanted to get back up and out there to enjoy more of the winter wonderland.
After filling our bellies it was time to go back to filling our eyes.  We began the hike back knowing it would take some time.



Elbow Lake was much more photogenic now with the afternoon light.  We skirted around the opposite side and meandered along the shore and through the Campground.  A fellow was setting up camp for the night in the spot that was my home away from home for two nights in July.  



We made the most of every meadowy area and savoured every last second before heading into the trees for the last downhill stretch.  The sun was going down and we were now ready to call it a day.        
With the many sighs and yawns throughout the drive home, one could tell we were pleasantly depleted with our hearts content.  We were high on life and that about sums it up.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Barrier Lake Lookout November 15, 2018

When my friend came to visit me for a hiking holiday this past August, the timing could not have been worse.  We were engulfed in smoke from the wild fires for her entire visit.  Even though conditions were terrible, we still hiked and one we did was up to the Lookout above Barrier Lake.  We could see nothing, no Lakes, no mountains, no nothing!  Today we completed a re-do hike up to the Barrier Lake Lookout.

The forecast looked decent so we knew we would be afforded vistas.  We also knew we better get up there sooner rather than later as a stormy system was on the way. The hike across the dam was fine, no wind, it felt warm and we could see.

The switchback section was where we just made it a job to get it over with.  At the first open spot where we could see the lake I felt I already proved to my friend that yes there are views from up here.  In August, we could not see Barrier Lake down below.

We made it to the Lookout to see no one was home which of course was expected.  We took over the place and made it ours.  When no one is home we can go up on the deck to dine.  We picked the side with the least amount of wind.  We dined on sandwiches, salad and snacks and that hot tea.  
After our lunch break we then took care of the most important summit business and that was to secure our shots.  Just like when we snowshoed up to Chester Lake the other day, my friend was right in there having fun embracing the snow and every second.

We carefully made our way back down to the Viewpoint and then back down to the Lake.  The wind picked up and it was a bitter experience out in the open.  One last look back and one more photo then we got to the other side of the dam as quick as possible.
I am happy there were views today.  My hopes were for some blue in the sky and a bit of sunshine yet my friend found happiness in what we had.  In truth, happiness is in the heart, and we both loved today's adventure!