Thursday, February 28, 2019

High Rockies Trail PLPP February 28, 2019

As the weeks pass I look forward to Thursdays more and more.  When I first opened my front door this morning and witnessed an amazing sunrise show, I was ever more excited for the day.  While I knew we were heading off to the far end of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, I was not sure what route we would snowshoe along.  I went prepared with an open mind ready to take on what would be decided upon.  
 I arrived at our meeting spot and once again admired the sky.
On our way to Elk Pass Parking Lot in PLPP, the option of doing a one way snowshoe from the Elk Pass Lot to the Pocaterra Hut was put out there, along with another shorter easier ideas.  I was game for the bigger one way as this route was new to me so I threw out a few questions.  Confirmation came back, we would be three keeners taking on this route today.  Our hope was there would not be a great amount of tiring trail breaking.  We found the start of the trail and then went on our way.

  We followed the signs for the Hike Rockies winter snowshoe route. 
We were fortunate others had been along this route days prior which meant no difficult trail breaking.  I realized how lucky we were for this when I stepped off trail into the untouched powder and sunk up over my knees. Fortunate too were we for having some blue sky and mountain scene teases.
We worked our way through the Boulton Creek Campground.  
My mind wandered to days just a few months down the road when camping season will begin.  
 The meadow sections were so pretty!  
We took turns leading the way.  We had a great pace going and already knew we would have enough time to get to our destination to catch our ride.  After noon we found a bench off the trail where we settled down to dine.  We noticed a few flurries flurring down off and on yet there was still a bit of blue further north.  
Our route today was such a peaceful place to be.  There were no others.  We did see lots of recent moose tracks from either early today or late yesterday. I hoped we would see one but today the moose were elusive.  We continued along eventually joining up with a X-C Ski track.
We snowshoed through the Elkwood Campground where once again my mind wandered off to days of camping.  When that time comes there will be none of this.  It would be an interesting sight to be here when that snow slides.   By now it was fully overcast and flurring heavier.  The build up here would only get bigger.  
We arrived at Pocaterra Hut with a bit of time to spare before meeting up with our ride.  We lined up our short snowshoes along side the tall X-C Skis then went inside to gear down and to snack up.  Shortly there after our ride arrived and we were on our way home.

I am thankful for today and to have been able to share this snowshoe with the two others.  
As I did leading up to today, I am now already looking forward to next Thursday.    

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Great Divide at Lake Louise X-C Ski Feb 24, 2019

It feels like a confession when I state "It has been 45 days since I last was out for a whirl on my X-C Skis."  With lots of free days this winter, my intentions were to ski more often but that has not been happening for one reason or another but mainly due to not having user friendly road conditions to get to the tracks.  Then seeing clear dry all the way to Lake Louise with no snow in the forecast, yet crazy cold,  I figured I gotta get this done.  I can handle crazy cold!  

Today I skied the Great Divide all the way and crossed over into British Columbia to have lunch at the shelter.  It was quiet and I saw no other skiers of any kind until I was on the return trip and half way back.  In total I saw 7 others.  I was beginning to wonder where was everyone!    

It did snow last night and the newly set tracks had new snow in them.  Someone did go before me until the turn off down Telemark (I am quite positive I know that was A. who I saw here back in early January.  So beyond those first 10 minutes or so, I had to break track to the shelter.  When all was said and done, I was tired.  

The sun shone down into the shelter which made for a comfortable lunch break.  I captured my destination shots and then climbed up that big hill and skied back in the track I already broke.  

I was happy to have this over with.  Then as if that was not enough,  I drove up to Lake Louise and walked it from one end to the other and back again.  It was glorious and sunny and pretty.  I did call it a day though when I arrived back at my car.  

I was done like dinner and actually by now it was dinner time.  Winter days at Lake Louise are always great!

in the track and ready to go

the big hill down to the Great Divide is just around the corner
on the Alberta side of the border
on the British Columbia side
the shelter

I took a little detour on the way back to capture some beauty.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Johnson Lake to Lake Minniwanka February 21, 2019

I have snowshoed around Johnson Lake, I have meandered throughout Cascade Ponds, I have driven down the road through Bankhead and I have explored all around Lake Minniwanka but never all in one day on my feet from beginning to end, until today!  It never crossed my mind to do this as a snowshoe trek, no one ever talked about it, I didn't even know there was a route to follow, until today!  

It was a perfect discovery day.  Thank you to the fellow at the back in this photo, him and a few others broke trail on Tuesday the entire way and it made our job that much easier.  There were a few centimetres of new snow on top of their track which was light & fluffy and oh so white.  
The route followed along a ridge high above the highway with views of Cascade Mountain through the trees every now and then.  The new snow still sat on the branches which just adds to the beauty.
 blue sky blanket of white
As we rounded the corner at the edge of the ridge we could see Cascade Ponds for below us.  
That was our lunch destination, we just had to get there.   
 To get there we descended the narrow trail which had a steep drop off to our left.  
After popping out of the forest we snowshoed across one of the Cascade Ponds to the picnic tables on the other side.  We settled in under the sunshine and stayed for about thirty minutes.  I savoured my chamomile tea, ham & cheese in a multi-grain cibatta bun with a light spread of mustard, multi-grain square chips, all washed down a big swig of water mixed with lemon gatorade.
I needed to capture some kind of shot of msyself  to add to my photo collection for the day.  This was an attempt at that jump I do but there was so much snow I could not get lift off.  I'll take this. Somehow I got the snow to swirl.
It was time now to move on down the road.  We found our way out of Cascade Ponds and over to where the winter road closure is and we snowshoed our way along Bankhead area for a few kilometers.  Once again, we were thankful for the people who broke trail on Tuesday.
 view along the way
We reached the intersection of where the people x-c ski off towards Cascade Valley.  For a few seconds I wished I was on my skis, it looked absolutely divine and those coming back from their ski looked delighted with their day.
Once back the Minniwanka parking lot we had a little time before departing so I geared down then headed off towards Lake Minniwanka for some photography fun.  The Lake was frozen everywhere and snow covered.
Around the corner near where the red chairs are, a few Inukshuks made of ice chunks were drawing people in.  Of course, I made my way over there.  As you can see this one is life size. They presented great photo opportunities.
 The line up!
I got kissed!  See it at bottom right!
 To capture this photo it took getting down and being one with the ground.
I followed a few others out to the boat dock in the middle of the lake.  
On the way back I watched this puppy and its human.  It seemed like the pup was in training.  It just wanted to go and its human was trying to go.  The pup was being patient.  I wondered, who is really in training here!

This was our snowshoe route from Johnson Lake to Lake Minniwanka.

Today was full of fun with great wandering!
This was truly a snowshoeing delight!
Thank you for today!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Glenbow Ranch February 18, 2019

With the new snow from yesterday and the cold forecast with sunshine for this morning, I knew it would be a sparkly and glittery day out there.  I wanted to get somewhere somehow but I needed to safely make it to a main road first.  The snow is not scary, the cold is not scary, what is scary is the first six minutes of driving from my front door to that main road.  I white knuckled it then breathed a sigh of relief when I reached the clear dry pavement.

It was like summer sailing on the 1A out to Glenbow Ranch.  Being the Family Day Long Week I knew the road down to the Ranch and the Parking Lot would be very user friendly.  I donned all my layers and braced against the cold to enjoy fresh air, exercise and great scenery.  This was the view from the trail head, it was sparkly & glittery already.
I broke trail in over the ankle new fallen snow from the kiosk on the other side of the tracks all the way down to the Bow River.  The last time I was here the river was fast flowing.  I am glad I ventured down here today because as it begins to warm up it will not be a safe place to be.  The ice had broken up and was pushed up to form sculptures of a sort.
vehicle speeding along on the train track
it looks like distracted driving to me when I look inside
I stopped at the picnic table for some tea and a snack and watched this halo form. 
At first it was a sundog and then the full circle developed.   
it was cold & frosty
there was glitter & sparkle
delicate & tough
Beauty was abound today but up on top of Yodel was a performance of peak perfection.   

I made sure to cover 10 kms, 
always ending with a big uphill out here at Glenbow Ranch
 and a big smile too!