–submitted by Matthew Lettington
The forecast held true for our scheduled Family/Novice snowshoe trip for the winter 2016/2017 season. The skies were darkened by overcast skies air temperature hovered just below freezing, and there was hardly any falling snow. overcast skies and the air was slightly below zero, on the Island Mountain Ramblers first Family/Novice snowshoe trip of the 2016/2017 winter.
Earlier this year there were a few good snowfalls but considerable rainfall in October and November washed most of that away and until recently hasn’t yielded great conditions for snowshoeing. I scheduled this trip a while back hoping to get a good beginner/novice snowshoe trip to Lake Helen Mackenzie but right up to a week before I worried that it would be nothing more than a tromp through the mud!
As luck would have it the recent dump of more than a metre of snow created enough depth and the cold temperatures have created a strong crust on the snow. These conditions, in conjunction with the fact that the resort hasn’t opened for the season, created an ideal day for our trip.
Eleven of us rendezvoused in the parking lot at Raven Lodge. We prepared in the cold late morning temperature, ten of us in snowshoes and Hemingway in his pulk. Immediately from the parking lot we fount a well-packed track that led us wide of the normal summer route, on the way to the Helen Mackenzie.
We stopped at the lake to eat our lunch with gray jays. As we ate we watched the waves on the lake lap against the narrow band of ice forming a rim around the lake. A cold breeze washed past us as we enjoyed our lunch. It was good to watch Hemingway wander around, even if it was annoying to see him snack on everyone’s lunch.
It was a special trip one of the members. We had a guest on the trip, she is just eleven years old. It was her first snowshoe experience but more important, this was her first time seeing snow! It was perfect conditions for her and she managed the 8 kilometres extraordinarily well. Way to go!
As a final note, I owe a big thank you to Adam for taking up the reins and helping me with my pulk. Without your help, I’m sure the sled would have tipped many times.