Saturday, April 23, 2011

Snow is good for skiing, not so much for hiking

I got the jump on the long-weekend crowds at Sunshine this morning & managed a good nine runs around Goat's Eye before leaving just prior to eleven o'clock.  I must say that there was some smug satisfaction driving down the access road, having put in some tiring skiing while there are plenty of others still parking up.  I didn't have to queue for a lift once & mostly rode up by myself.  Skiing by yourself can be quite tiring as you don't have enforced rests & after two hours of the hardpack (bit of a change from the last few visits) my legs were actually aching a little.  Gorgeous day though (warm too):

Heading back to Canmore, the TransCanada was a gongshow going the opposite way (into Banff National Park) - comparatively I was passed by only one vehicle & passed none myself.  After a quick lunch, it was nice to walk through town & not battle the out-of-towners (read: Calgarians) to meet Megan & Finn for a little jaunt up Ha Ling.  It's the easiest hike of the peaks surrounding Canmore & I've done it a few times before.  In summer it's a breeze (unless the wind is more than a breeze & you lose your sunnies over the edge & don't make it to the top) & even at the start of February 2010 Megan & I made it to the top easily.  Today the trail up through the trees for the first hour was hard packed & quite easy going - less effort than having to negotiate rocks & roots in the summer.  Once we got out of the trees, we were wallowing in the snow up to our waists.  After trying to progress with the one walking pole we had (which eventually ended up stranded between us as I threw it rather poorly) & just sinking further & further and laughing more & more, we thought it best if we didn't bury Finn in snow.  So for the second time in a row, I've failed to summit Ha Ling.  It was a good hundred-odd minutes of getting outside & doing something, so I wasn't displeased.

You can just see the top of the retaining wall that is at the height of the summer trail - we were well over a metre above it.  Crazy to think we are halfway through spring.

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