This is the trail that Dave and I are on all the time, most weeks several times – up from the trailhead at the corner of Anderson and Ship Creek Road, Port Alberni, up Copper Mountain. But this week, we’ve had so much snow! Dave was working day shifts, so I got out exploring for several days with the dogs – some days in my regular trail runners, some days in my Salomon Snowcross shoes (they have spike, great for gripping in slippery conditions), and some days by snowshoe!
On Monday of last week, I headed out on the trails up the hill from here, in my regular trail runners. That was the day that I saw the cougar tracks. A few days later, Dave headed out in the morning with the dogs. He told me that the running conditions were good – but by the time that I headed out, late afternoon in the same day, the soft snow had crisped over and frozen on top, making it impossible to run. Our old tracks were icy and irregular, angular and begging me to twist an ankle. Trying to run in the “fresh” snow was even worse – I couldn’t predict which of my footstep would float above that crispy snow, and which would fall 6″ or more through. So that “run turned into a hike.
Well, every day, in spite of the forecasts, more snow kept falling. So the day after that frozen-out run, I headed upon our usual trail from the parking lot at the south end of Anderson with the dogs. The elevation there is only 50 m above our house, and at our house it was kind of on the edge between snowing and raining. But over there, there was lots of snow on the ground and it was still snowing!
So the dogs and I headed up along the gravel road that connects to the Spur 10 logging road, but cut off on the new, steep trail that connects up with out usual trail up the hill. (I took that route so I could gain most of my elevation through the clearcut, rather than through the forest – to maximize the amount of snow, since I was travelling in snowshoe).
From there we headed up the trail that Dave and I call “the shortcut.” It is actually a logging road, along the south flank of the ridge – so it gets more sun in winter that the forested and north-facing usual trails. Since it was Sunday, I hoped that there had been no traffic on it. It turns out that a snow plow had gone up and down it, but the median still had enough snow on it that I could go up it without removing my snowshoes.
Then we continued up our usual route. A few hikers had passed through in the snow, cutting down the Follinsbee Creek route – but from there on, it was clean snow. Woohoo, I decided to go all the way to the lookout! We might becoming down in the dark, but with that amount ofsnowon the ground, visibility wouldn’t really be an issue.
I thought that Tank (the 12 lb Yorkshire Terrier) might konk out – but that little guy is so stubborn and determined. He and Xhosa took off, chasing a deer, on the way up. They were so trashed when they finally came back to me- but I was not going to alter my route because of their lack of judgement. On the way back down, they took off after a deer again – and when they returned, Tank was missing his little (expensive) jacket. After all the snowfall that day and the next day, Dave and I are going to have to wait a while before we have any hope of venturing cross-country and finding that little rattie dogs clothing!
Anyway, hope you enjoy the pix. Whether hiking in the snow (the cougar tracks day) or snowshoeing (this day) or running in the snow (the following day, in my Salomon Snowcross shoes, with about 12″ of powder on the ground but no camera with me) – getting out in the snow is great cross-training for ultramarathoners and endurance athletes!