Well, we finally made it out to the mountains yesterday. We were trying to figure on the last time we were out, and narrowed it down to the Banff Mountain Book Festival in early November last year. We both agreed that was far too long ago!
We recently bought Kirstin a set of backcountry snowshoes. They hadn't seen the light of day since the day we bought them, that is, until yesterday.
We made a trip out to Chester Lake yesterday in hopes of finding peace and quiet, and LOTS OF SNOW! All of these were found, including 15cm of new snow. The trail was fairly packed for most of the way up, but once we found an opening off the main trail we headed off in search of fresh powder. What we found was beautiful! It's one thing to slug up a trail where you snowshoes sit above the height of the snow. It is another thing to have them sink a foot under the fresh powder and know that another three feet of snow lies beneath this.
It took us about two hours to get to the lake, including many stops for pictures :) Once there, we crossed and headed up the snow wall behind the lake. The snow was very soft and we found it quite difficult to climb the fifty degree slope with three foot long "boots" on. We didn't make it all way up to the valley behind the lake, just as well, since that is avalanche territory. Part way up we found a very nice walled in hole around a huge rock on the slope. This became our place to eat lunch and drink our tea! Oh yes, we packed in our stove and boiled just enough water to have two very warm and very tasty cups of Early Grey tea! Was so nice to have that warm us up from the inside out!
After a short break, we started to head down. I thought it might be easier to head down with no snowshoes on, so I started down. Only a few steps down the mountain I broke through the crust of snow and went down five feet into the snow. Time for snowshoes to go back on!
Once down to the lake it was a rather quick trip out of the valley, as most of it was downhill. Good conversation and speed kept us going, for both of us were getting tired, and Kirstin was dealing with a hip that was acting up.
A quick trip to Banff for our traditional meal (Old Spaghetti Factory), a stop in at Monods to look at packs for Kirstin, and we were on our way home!