Saturday, March 7, 2009


As I am writing this, the wind is howling outside.
When driving into the yard around 5.30 pm things had been blown about.
Jane and I have had that before; we are enjoying the power of the elements in the mountains, only to find out that back home it was actually worse.

At 8.15 am I ski to Jane’s. We load up the skies and take her car to the head of the trail. What I didn’t know; is that the trap line is active and Jane has asked the 93 year old elder, who runs it, permission to use the cabin by the lake.
We both don’t know though, what the condition of the trail will be, so she takes her short skies, with skins and I actually took my regular ones.

We see the start of the trail, but in the gravel pit it soon disappears. Again we know we are on it, as we are not sinking in too deep. I loose it, Jane finds it..
Once in the forest, the trail (skidoo tracks) is obvious. Jane regrets not having faster skies, but I am happy, because now I can keep up with her.
As the crow flies it is about 8 km to the lake. The trail going up gradually along a creek.
We both didn’t bring a watch, which is totally ok, neither of us has to be back a certain time.
We come onto the ridge with open views of the creek bed below. No mountains though, it is cloudy today, and starts snowing a bit. Higher an d higher we climb, jane with her skins walks straight up, where I at times take off my skies to walk.
Snowing more, but softly. Looking up along the ridge, it looks like we will come to the top of the world, in reality disappearing in the cloud.
As we are heading for the valley of brides, a name I have given it. Here we enter the ridge of dwarfs, hillsides full of miniature, gnarled aspen, probably very old trees.
Snowing harder and we are entering a open forest with big tall spruce. To stay in the spirit, I guess these are the grooms. Their dark shapes softened by the fresh snow.
We go through another thicker forest, turning west. Because of the weather, we only see the trees close by, which makes us notice them more. Now the big Spruce are getting dramatic shapes. Many of the tops blown of long time ago, has them grown a more rounded top.

Now it is snowing big flakes, wet ones.
Through a willow dip, we start entering the valley of brides. Ah, they are wearing veils, all that snow.
They are beautiful.
Here the trail starts disappearing once in a while, we mark some places (as we like to make it back). We never really loose it though.
The valley narrows, we are in between two steep mountains now. Only the one on the right visible at times.

Jane is way ahead of me now. Suddenly she reappears coming my way. We just ski into each other and hug. We both share this tremendous love for the wild. I am very grateful, to have her as a friend. She likes to go ahead to the cabin, close to the lake.
That is totally fine by me, I figure it’s only another hour.
Going straight into the wind, the snow stinging our faces,
But it’s at the most –10C, which feels warm to us Northerners.

When she takes off;
She disturbs a flock of Ptarmigan.
Pure white birds flying in all directions.

At times her tracks are already snowed in, but the trail is visible enough here, a white line through buck brush. As I am starting to feel tired.
Suddenly there is the cabin, I could have sworn, I still be half an hour.

The cabin, a gift from God. The people owning it put a lot of love in it.
We make a fire in the woodstove, hang our moist clothes, eat and relax.
The journal says that the trapper was here 3 days ago. Jane leaves a note too.

We split some kindling, bring in some wood to replace what we used, and leave the place as we found it. Thanks!

While inside, the sun actually tries to come out.
Not successful, but now we see the surrounding mountains. Shaneinbaw’s top still shrouded in clouds.
On the way back we get a glimpse of the lake behind us, we never really went there, no need.

The wind in our back! We get pushed by it and truly fly at times. Our ski tracks mostly snowed in, but the trail itself easier to see.
Snow blowing around us. Swirling around ‘the brides’, whirlwinds and flurries and all those good things. It is a wonderful sight.
Going around the mountain , turning east, we ski in total calm, while the wind still howls and the snow blows. It is like skiing in a dream.
The drifts getting bigger, but very soft.
Turning South, the trail goes down steeper. I take a dive several times. No comparison to water, this is all soft and lovely.
I am proud of my own skills though, knowing how to curve down the hill, this slightly winding path. Flying past big trees. Enough control, to be able to fall when one would come too close.
Ah…. only too soon we reach the road.
Thanks for a glorious day!


RachelW said...

The trapline would have troubled me immensely. I couldn't get beyond that fact and settle into the tale of your journey. Great pictures, in your next post.

jozien said...

Dear Rachel, i understand what you are saying. Jane and I talked about it yesterday. But the people owning this line are true stewards of the land.

Sue said...

You have to be careful... I would be worried taking trips like that! I guess you learn how to take care of yourself out there. But I would still worry. I'm a worry wart.