Saturday, April 6, 2019

Boulder Pass Ptarmigan Lake April 6, 2019

A Saturday in April is the time to be sporting hiking boots and searching for, on the verge of green, meadows and snow-free slopes to pass hours playing in our playground. Instead, we went in search of where we could experience a snowshoe delight.  I put the idea out there and there was no hesitation whatsoever to head into Boulder Pass and on to Ptarmigan Lake.  This area was busy today, the busiest I have ever experienced either in spring, summer, autumn or winter.     
I had to bring my snowshoes back up from the basement and retrieve my winter poles.  My snow pants had been hung at the far end of the closet so I brought those back out too.  It rained and snowed on the drive out and then cleared up as we arrived and began to gear up.  We made quick time up the road, crossed the three down hill ski runs making sure to stay out of the way of boarders and skiers.      
 ski run looked clear so it was time to cross quickly
We reached the open meadows along the winter trail.  I still had my spikes on as there was a firm packed well beaten path and that allowed for easy, fast movement.  We had a grand view of Temple behind us and the way forward was beautiful.
 aiming for the winter trail between Ptarmigan and Redoubt
 a view behind us of Mount Temple with some of the Ten Peaks to the left
 We made our way by the boulder field.
 I kept looking back at the view.
We reached Boulder Pass and it quickly became very real that we were back, behind, beyond, a way out there, where it felt like a full on blizzardy winter day.  We got a glimpse of the mountains that stretch along making the back drop of Ptarmigan Lake.
 wind whipped snowscapes
The wind gusts were brutal but every now and then it was calm for a matter of enough seconds to capture one of a few destination shots.  That is Ptarmigan Lake below and behind me with Fossil Mountain to the far left and Heather Ridge to the right.  Both of these I have been on top off.  When I look at them I wonder was I really up there.
We found the spot where we would dine.  I finally put my snowshoes on because I stepped off the trail and sunk deep.  We opted to get down onto Ptarmigan Lake first and capture our photos before lunch.  It was cold, it was windy, it was a challenge to go without sunglasses for even 5 seconds.  We did what was needed to document our time here.  
 WOW!  What a place to be today!
We worked our way back up the hill from Ptarmigan Lake and aimed for that sheltered spot.  It was the perfect place to dine. We were in the sun, we were blocked from all wind and this was our view. Those little specks are people crossing the Lake. That's where we just were.
Our lunch lasted thirty minutes, we were so comfortable but we needed to get on with our day.  We departed with all our layers on because we knew as soon as we went around the corner we would be assaulted by the elements and we sure were.  Up another hill and then down a hill to where the "yoga boulder" is.  There would be no yoga poses performed today.
 view as we snowshoed through the meadow on the return trip
 This was now the view in front of us....
 .....but I always look back.  I had one last look back before heading into the narrow trail through the forest where we would cover a couple of kilometers.  We left the snowshoes on and noticed we were making great time.
Getting across the ski runs was uneventful and we then veered to the left to take the ski out down.  It was not totally uneventful but we got it over with and arrived back at the car.  The Boulder Pass and Ptarmigan Lake area was a great destination for today and we made the most of every second.   

You can notice in the track we made, we went in along the road but came out along the ski out.  There is a story to why we came down the ski out.  Neither of us knew we were not permitted to hike up the road until a truck stopped behind us, she waved to us to walk back to her and as we started to she backed up even more and waved at us to continue even further back to her.  We reached her.  From this point onward until she was finished with us, I felt so disappointed and bothered with the approach a Lake Louise Ski Hill Ski Patrol Employee would take to inform us we were not permitted to be on the road.  We explained what we were familiar with, what we had done in the past, and that we were sincerely not aware we were not allowed on the road.  We acknowledged we now know we were in the wrong and we told her we would never walk up the road again.   This did not bring her to ease up on what appeared she needed to make us aware off in a way which was borderline confrontational.  Her words were confusing, possibly you are permitted to walk up the road on weekdays but not on weekends.  It looked clear to me that the others I could see in her truck were uncomfortable.  I was truly disappointed that she chose that kind of approach to make as a representative of such a beautiful place.  I was not going to share this here but after sleeping on it, I decided I would to make others aware.      


  1. Oh no! What a dreadful way to have this spectacular day spoilt. oes this mean that even in summer you can't walk up the road? Surely they would have signs up to this affect.
    I'm not surprised you had to add this incident after your night's sleep.

    Aside from that I loved and am envious of this day. I recognised so many points, even under snow and especially the 'yoga rock'!

    1. Helen, I don't know what the rules are now, everything she had to say left me confused.


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