Sunday, 19 February 2017

Night time boil-up

A few of us have been talking about doing a night time snowshoe trek and boil-up.  With the dump of 60 cms snow in the last week we had our opportunity.  So, Saturday at 7:00 pm Brian, Derrick, Hazen, Sherry, Sue and I met at Olivers Pond Road to put on our snowshoes.

We walked down narrow trails between trees heavily laden down with snow.

At this clearing the trek went to the left.

Making tracks through pure undisturbed snow.

Emerging from the narrow trail onto the lake with ...

... its wide open space.  Here we had it easy waking along snow beaten down by snowmobilers.

Regaining the shelter of the trees we decided on this spot to have our fire and boil-up.  Each of us brought a bundle of splits and other odds and ends of wood for our fire.

We had a well sheltered location out of the wind that was really quite comfortable.

Derrick brought his hi-tech "kettle" and suspended it above the fire as people waited anxiously for it to come to a rolling boil.

I'm not sure what Jake made of all this?

After about 30 minutes the fire melted down through the snow layer and finished our hot chocolate drinks we piled snow on the fire to extinguish it and marched back to the cars.

It was a super way to spend 2 and a half hours and take advantage of the opportunities that winter offers.  Thanks to everyone who shared the evening.  We'll have to do this again for sure!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Skiing Butterpot Park

Today, Tuesday, Brian, Hazen and I took advantage of the super weather and drove the ~20 kms to Butterpot Park to do some cross-country skiing.  The park is closed during the winter so we had to park the cars at the entrance to ski into the skiing area.

Past the kiosk where entrance fees are collected, when open, the land falls away down over some steep hills until we arrive at the beginning of the loop.  The trail follows the roadway between the campsites and was usually groomed to put in a skate-ski trail and a classic trail.  Due to budget cuts its no longer groomed so we had to break trail ourselves, taking turns.

The river where the loop begins was frozen over and covered with snow.

Looking down another river path.

We were at the lowest level in the park where there was no wind and brilliant sunshine.

Looking through the trees towards Butterpot Mountain in the distance.

On the backside of the park and slightly over halfway we stopped for lunch.  We used our skis to sweep the snow off and make room to sit down.

No sooner did we get our food out did a pair of Grey Jays descend on our lunch spot.  Not one bit bashful, they came right to the picnic table to take away our offerings.  In one case taking food right out of Hazen's hand.

We arrived back at the beginning of the loop and started to make our way out of the park climbing up the hills that were so easily skied down when we arrived.

Its not unusual to have rain and warm temperatures after we get a dump of snow.  We got our latest snowfall on Saturday past and tomorrow, Wednesday, we are expecting rain.  I'm glad we took advantage of the chance to get out on an absolutely beautiful day.  Thanks Brian and Hazen!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

More snow, secret location

Sunday night into Monday we got a 32 cm dump of snow.  It wasn't much fun shoveling the driveway but it made for great snowshoeing.

I mailed Hazen to see if he was interested and he was so we met to trek through some trails for a couple of hours.

The snow was accompanied by strong winds but where protected from the wind, it settled on the trees.

Not much calling for park benches this time of year.

We were the first on the trails stomping through virgin powder.

A picnic table shows the depth of new snow.

After two hours we had competed the loop and exited and walked back on snowshoes to the cars. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

A snowshoe trek in Bowring Park

Monday we got a dump of 22 cms of fresh snow.  Its beautiful and clean.  Tomorrow, Thursday, its going to be mild with rain and that will turn everything to crap.  So today I took my snowshoes to Bowring Park for a trek through the park.  The main trails were already beaten down by the heavy traffic but I did find some sweet powder to plod through.  The pix speak pretty well for themselves.

Looks like a spot for some whitewater fun!

The Caribou

The Weeping Willow.  How many kisses stolen under it in the heat of summer?

Everything was black and white except this bridge and the lady in the red coat.

Marshmellows in the tree branches.

Even Frosty has something to smile about.

Beautiful, clean, crisp air.  Awesome day!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Let there be lights

I know this is not a "hike" as such but more like a stroll through a wintery evening at Oxen Pond Botanic Garden which was lit up with some awesome light displays.

After going through reception the first feast for the eyes was this peacock.

Trees may have lost their leaves but the light display prettied up the naked branches.

From the reception center in the interpretation building there's a downhill walk to the main garden area in summer.  That was turned into a "Tunnel of Love" now.  I loved it!

Olaf was riding a moose.

Ice Queen Elsa was there too for the kids and ...

... Minions.

The limestone skree part of the garden was lit up with enough light to reflect off of the snow.

A comet?

After some 45 minutes in bitterly cold wind we retreated the way we came.

This as the first time the Garden put on this display.  They did an excellent job as it was truly a feast for the eyes and well worth braving the cold and crowds.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Get out the snowshoes

Yesterday, Tuesday, we got 15 cms of new snow.  Tomorrow we are getting more but a possibility of it changing to rain.  That will mess up the new powder.  So, today I decided to do my cardio outside after my workout at the gym.

I picked the Octagon Pond trail as it was between the gym and home.  The first part of the trail leading to the pond was chewed up by an ATV.  The town, who oversees the trail, seems to have a problem keeping these yahoos off the trail.

I hit the main trail at the bottom of the pond where there's a seating area.

The main trail was beaten down a bit but a side trail offered some sweet snowshoeing.  I left a trail of beaver tail impressions in the pure, white powder.

Sunlight glistened on the snow that settled gently on the fir tree branches.  It was -6C but no wind and hardly any other people on the trail.  It was a perfect day feeling so alive!

As the trail bent around the pond I looked out over the frozen expanse.  Today, December 14th the pond was lightly frozen over.  I paddled the pond on January 12th back in 2011 (yes, I checked Stardust's log book) when it was all open water.  I did that paddle not because it was exciting but it was one of those once n a blue moon occasions.  It doesn't usually stay open that long into the winter.

At one point I spotted a tree on the side of the trail decorated for Christmas.  I don't know it one person did this or numerous people donated an ornament but I thought how wonderful.  Its easy to get dismayed with all the car bombings, the massacre of civilians in Aleppo and the Donald but, you know, there are vastly more wonderful people in the world.  I thought this was one sign.

A close-up of some of the ornaments on the tree with the added effect of snow.

I stopped to hear the occasional bird.  There were also traces of rabbits.  It was very peaceful and serene except when ...

... I neared the end of the trail and the turnaround.  This used to be a nice little zigzag downhill part of the trail before they opened it up to build a new school.  I'm annoyed they didn't leave a buffer of trees to maintain the tranquility along the trail.

Ninety minutes of "exercise" and I was back at the car and totally contented and at peace.