Sunday, February 16, 2020

Powderface Pass February 16, 2020

Oh where to go on the Sunday of the Family Day long weekend?  I had a picky list of what I want for this day and that means there would not be a multitude of options to pick from.  I want a short drive, I want minimal traffic, I want no crowds, I want nice weather, I want great scenery, I want a packed trail, I want I want I want!  After all that pickiness, I came up with Powderface Pass as my destination.  Watch what you ask for, it may come true!  Well, it did!  I got all that I wanted!  
I arrived at the closed gate near Elbow Falls early but I was not the only one out for the early start today.  I wondered where all those parked in front of me would be.  I geared up and spiked past the gate to the entrance for the Powderface Creek Trail.  Ah Ha no one else has been through here this morning.  My marks were the first in the bit of fresh snow.

The trail section through the forest was pretty this time around as the snow covered up the mess of downed needles and twigs.  It was vibrantly white which is what I want for winter.  I liked the kind of clouds that were filling up the morning sky.
a perfect tree on its own but the snow & clouds add a pretty frame
At the junction I passed right on by the PrairieLink sign and aimed for Powderface Pass which was still about four kilometres and a few hundred meters of gain away.  The trail was packed but not as much so as the Creek trail.  I spiked on while the moon was still up!
I made sure to stay on the packed trail which was very narrow.  
One step to the side and I would be up to my thigh in snow.  
The forecast did say for cold out here and this is my proof that it was!
I took a moment to look back!
While it has been years since I ventured up to Powderface Pass, I did recognize when I was near my destination.  Before coming out into the open I braced for a wild wind which did whip up at times.  I was delighted to arrive at The Pass and have this view.
The ground was covered in snow that was wind blown and rock solid.  
I broke through the crusty snow and made my way up to the little rocky ridge.  I got what I wanted, no crowds, in fact I owned it.  I got great scenery with the whole stretch of Nihahi Ridge behind me and Banded Peak under my arm.  Powderface Ridge looked inviting but that was not for me today.
Being at places like this fills me with joy and I just had to express that!  
It was crazy windy up here!  I set up for my tea pouring shot but each time I began to pour, the wind died down to being non existent.   That meant I had lots of tea to sip and savour paired with my roasted turkey on rye sandwich, fig cookies and a few multigrain rounds.
That's Prairie Mountain in the middle and behind that is Calgary.  
I like the look of the wind swept ridge. 
It appears so rough, rugged and desolate making me feel like I am so far out there.  
I only hiked about eight kilometres and around 550 metres of gain, give or take,  to get here.  
After investing a significant amount of time enjoying Powderface Pass, I packed up and began the descent.  Once away from the Pass I stopped to shed some layers and captured this one last photo.  It was quite warm by now, the snow was getting softer, it remained amazing.
It was not until I arrived back at the PrairieLink junction that I met others.  They were veering off onto the Link.  I continued along with a spring in my step in the soft snow spiking my way back out to route 66, back out to civilization,  back out to where the Sunday of the Family Day long weekend was full of hustle & bustle, back out to reality.

All that pickiness paid off and Powerface Pass was perfect!  

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