Monday we decided to go and snowshoe up to the Yoho Pass, as we had done a days practice on the flat, so we would be awsum! We were late leaving, as Dale had a phone call at 10am, then we were just plain slack in getting going.
We rugged up super warm, as it was.. cold out. Which is not new. I had a thin and thick icebreaker, my foofy (which is my name for my feather down jacket), and my new windbreaker. Plus a couple of layers on the bottom, a balaclava, hat and scarf, gloves, snow pants, snowboard boots. We drove up to the lake, and strapped everything on, including our snowboards to our packs, and then we started off (if we were walking up a hill, the very best way to get back down, is snowboarding!).
It was warm and pleasant on the lake, with the sun shining down. We took a route along a trail, where the topo map said there was a bridge, but it took ages and was uphill, and we didn’t find it, and decided we were heading too far up the wrong hill, so we walked/slid down the side of the valley, and trekked across the snow till we found the x country ski trails, and followed those for a bit. We found tracks of some animal.. at the time we thought perhaps a coyote, but in hindsight I think perhaps a bobcat? But I’m not entirely sure.
We found a cute river, and eventually reached the end of the lake, then started the long slow uphill. It was interesting, but hard work: you have to lift your feet up high, as you sink into the snow slightly, and you also have to lift your feet as you are climbing a hill. You can’t walk straight up a slope, as you mostly just slide down again, so you have to zig zag. Steep slopes are hard, and you have to make sure you don’t stand on your own snowshoes, because if you do, you will trip yourself up, fall over, and then end up crawling over the last little bit of ledge, as it is easier than trying to get your snowshoes under you to stand (I only did that twice).
It was fun though, and the day was sunny. We practiced picking routes out of avalanche danger; the avalanche danger was low, it hadn’t snowed in a week and a half. We picked our way up, and ended up eating lunch about 3pm on top of an outcropping of rocks. We hadn’t made it to the pass, but we had chosen that as the furtherset point we were going to go, as we still had to get down (which would be quick, re boarding), and walk back across the lake before it got too dark.
It was, literally, the prettiest place I have ever eaten lunch. We were on a bluff, blanketed softly in a poofy cloud of rainbow sparkled snow, and the snow was marred only by squirrel prints (for a while, then I had a run around). We were surrounded on all sides by jagged mountains and cliffs, some with snow, some with bare rock, and the lower slopes all lined with velvety green trees. Behind us was a frozen waterfall, and in front of us was the perfect flat of the frozen Emerald Lake. It was warm and sunny (as it could be). It was quiet and wonderful, and the sky was big and blue overhead.
Lunch was egg sandwiches, and hot noodles, then after lunch was running around, chasing squirrel prints, and ruining all the perfectly smooth snow. No one had been where we were, for at least a few weeks. It was great. Lots of people cross country ski around the lake, and the flat bits around the lake, but not many venture up into the hills.
We strapped our boards on, and got some amazing back country freshies, and the zoom down took maybe 5 minutes (compared to the up, which must have been 2 hours), but it was the best, and a ridiculous improvement on walking down the hill.
We reached the bottom, and made it to the lake as the sun was going down. Dusk is neat with snow everywhere; snow reflected the light left in the sky, and the whole place kinda glowed, and we walked back over the lake to the cars in the the clear dusk light, and it was amazing.
Our feet were very sore by the time we got back to the car, but we were happy tired, and headed home to the warm.