It started overcast today, and therefore warmer. By the time Ken, Sue and I reached P19 at Philippe at 11.30 am the sky had cleared, but at -14°C the conditions were positively balmy, and today it wasn’t so difficult to keep warm.
After yesterday’s exertions we were all happy to have a short, leisurely day….
Sue and Ken shot off into the distance.
Luckily they were distracted by this impressive wall of ice.
The Taylor Lake Loop – trail 55 – incorporates the ‘Taylor Lake Luge’ that has claimed quite a few tumbles between us, especially from me. Today it looked relatively benign as we herringboned up it in these still excellent snow conditions. This often tricky descent had encouraged today’s anti-clockwise approach, thereby avoiding that obstacle, and luckily we didn’t have to dodge any out-of-control-skiers flying at us from the opposite direction.
We soon passed a different type of ‘cabin’, the Taylor Lake Yurt. This is used by groups for overnight stays. It’s basically a reinforced tent with a wood burning stove inside.
Then we passed the old site of the Yurt – it gets moved occasionally to reduce stress on the environment – where a neat sign requests one to treat the breeding turtles with care.
The views up the lake were stunning today.
From here to Renaud the final 3km of trail 55 got busier as we approached the cabin. It was much quieter than Healey was last Sunday, but inevitably there were familiar faces, and we said hello to Dan and Thomas, who had arrived here via a back country trail.
A family arrived, the youngsters having been transported in the sleds seen here parked outside the cabin.
One of the thrush sized dinky red squirrels was busy noshing below the bird feeder.
When it saw me it dashed into a hole in the snow. It then peered out from a selection of many entrances, checking my movements.
There was a good selection of birds at this feeder – Chickadees (below), Downy Woodpeckers and Blue Jays, with a thrush sized female Pine Grosbeak (far below) biding its time in a nearby tree.
After the usual excellent toasted sandwiches, washed down with tea and accompanied by various other goodies, we enjoyed a gentle ski along the wide but busy track back to Philippe.
On the way we passed the site of Ken’s camping trip from over a week ago.
Wild camping is not permitted, so even for this winter bivouac Ken and his friends had to make a booking, and the site does have ‘thunder box’ toilets to avoid pollution.
Here’s Sue’s picture of Ken reposing on the site of his bivouac, as if in his bivvi bag.
Luckily she didn’t notice that behind her I’d lost my balance in the deep snow and was writhing around in a completely helpless state. It’s quite hard to do anything at all from a prone position in deep snow with skis pointing in all directions!
It took a while to warm up after that, but the parking lot, and the warmth of the Subaru, were soon reached.
A flock of Bohemian Waxwings was harvesting berries from the nearby trees, oblivious of human presence.
Today’s 13km ski took us from 11.30 to 14.00, including our 35 minute break at Renaud Cabin.
After a most leisurely afternoon (aren’t they all!), and in the absence of our Head Chef, we adjourned to the nearby burger palace known as The Works, for a pitcher of beer and a selection of burgers, which, as they weren’t as piping hot as they should have been, came FOC.
Bad news here for unattended children, though. A large sign proclaimed that they would be 'sold'!
It's nice to know that humour of this kind can still prevail in a public place....