Had the privilege to go hiking with Ashley from Manitoba and Kevin and Ashley from Scotland. They let me take them into the backcountry for a hike. Hiking is just about done for the season with snow coming on, but it’s the only day we could all get off from the resort.
It was -14°c in the shade when we started out. Kevin and Ashley from Scotland said that is a cold day back home. Ashley from Manitoba, on the other hand, didn’t bat an eye.
We had about a foot of snow to start that stuck festively to the boughs of the trees. We climbed quickly on a broken trail, catching a glimpse of a moose where the path opened into a meadow. Unlucky for us it didn’t stick around.
The rise kept us warm. We marvelled at the rock cliffs catching the sun and cheered each other on to reach the warmth. Finally after a bit of a slog we reached the edge of the timber. The sun didn’t disappoint.
We stopped for a few pictures and admired the view and discussed our plans to go to a small lake in a basin to the west, or head up higher. The lake seemed out of the question. Breaking trail in the snow while losing elevation seemed counterintuitive. On the other hand, the ridge, with the wind hardening or blowing the snow off the rocks, seemed not so bad, although steep.
We slogged for awhile in the deep snow until we were finally out of the trees and walking became much easier. I encouraged my young companions to lead the way as I knew I was holding them up.
We rustled a flock of Snow Buntings, not yet entirely white. They flew overhead giving us a thrill with their small chirps. Ashley said, she thought at first they were falling leaves but realized there was no trees.
A quick snack and some photos up top and we were on our way back down. If it were me alone I would have backtracked on the same way we came. But they are young, and apt to take the road less travelled, so why go back over familiar territory.
Instead we dropped off the ridge into a steep draw directly above where we parked the truck. It was knee deep snow on the shady side that would have been better tackled with skis. We hopped, skipped, slid and waded our way back to the truck, boots full of snow, happy for the sunny day.
Very fine day.