And we found it! Lots of it!
A week ago we took a few days off from work in search of the elusive white stuff. Stuck in a perpetual Edmonton shoulder season (of course before this week’s blast of winter!) we headed for the high mountains of Yoho National Park.
We began our trip with a short afternoon ski at one of our favourite spots-Pocaterra in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. With seemingly endless groomed trails nestled in the Kananaskis it was a great way to stretch our legs after a long car ride.
Then in was back to Canmore where we spent the night at the Boswell Cabin, an Alpine Club of Canada hut just outside the town. The large hut is split into two sections, each section with it’s own kitchen, bathroom and 2 bedrooms. We were lucky enough to have one whole section to ourselves for the night.
Up early the next morning we made our way to the Lake O’Hara parking lot, just east of the town of Field in Yoho Park. Lake O`Hara is a beautiful alpine lake nestled in the Rockies surrounded by such impressive peaks as Mt. Victoria and Mt. Lefroy. In the summer it`s an 11km hike or shuttle bus ride up to the lake with visitors staying in the campsite, huts, cabins or the rustic yet majestic Lake O`Hara Lodge. The lake is then the jumping off point for numerous day hikes and backcountry trips. In the winter the cabins and lodge are boarded up and the lake and surrounding area become peaceful and quiet under a blanket of snow. At this time, the only way up is to ski or snowshoe the 11km to the lake and stay at the Elizabeth Parker hut, another Alpine Club of Canada hut located 1 km further from the lake.
We began the ski with a chilly wind in our faces but soon warmed up as we steadily skied our way up…and up and up. The skies cleared and we moved ourselves uphill taking in the amazing views all around us.
On our way up we passed at least 12 people heading back to the parking lot. Knowing the popularity of the hut we thought for sure we would be sharing the space with another group or two. We arrived at the cabin hungry and happy. For the occasion we had hauled up the ingredients for deluxe hot chocolate given to us as a Christmas gift from Houston’s cousin Domi. This included a ziploc bag full of good quality chocolate from the chocolate store Domi works at in Toronto, spices, 1/2 a litre of milk and 1 cup of cream-not exactly lightweight backpacking!
We settled in front of the roaring wood stove content with books and our hot chocolate. And as the sun began to set, we soon realized we were the only ones that would be staying in this cozy little cabin that night-lucky us!
The next morning we headed back down, a speedy descent loosing all the altitude we had gained the previous day. It snowed all the way, covering our previous tracks and allowing us to ski through the soft powdery snow.
A great weekend to soak up the winter we were missing!