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The day started out at a chilled 4 degrees here at the lodge and the snow was coming down hard. Beth and I had planned to go snowshoeing up the Flattop Mountain trail, but this being her first time on snowshoes and with the conditions as they were, we decided to take the less strenuous trail to Mills Lake.
We took our time getting ready and were at the trail head at about 8 am. My thermometer said it was 2 below zero so we were very well bundled. Luckily it wasn't very windy....yet.
We followed the gentle trail for about half of a mile until we reached the junction with one of the winter trails that leads deeper into Glacier Gorge, bypassing Alberta Falls. This is a beautiful trail that mixes both the stunning views the Gorge has to offer, and the quiet solitude of dense sub-alpine forest. Beth really enjoyed the snowshoes. We had stomped up to Dream Lake earlier in the week without them, so she was very grateful for the help they give in the deep powder.
It was one of those days that you dream about...a lot of fresh powder on the ground, snow falling, but not too hard, very few people, and an entire day to play in the mountains. We took advantage of or surroundings by exploring many nooks and crannies along the trail, taking a few pictures and just enjoying our time in the park together. Before too long, we were at the Mills/Loch junction in the heart of Glacier Gorge. We decided on Mills Lake since Beth had been to the Loch last Spring, and never to Mills.
So huffing and puffing up the trail we spotted a six legged rabbit that had to be the size of a small calf. It was devouring some sort of small woodland creature with antlers, so we hurried along and left it alone. We later asked a park ranger what that animal could have been, she just said it was probably "Puffy." No, not the infamous hip hop sensation who now calls himself "the Diddy," but a crazy pirate rabbit that lost it's parrot and is furious.
As we neared Mills Lake, the snow got quite a bit deeper and the wind really picked up. It was pretty trying for Beth, having never been in that environment before. With a wind chill of close to -50, and ice and snow pelting our faces, I figured that we would opt to turn around far before Mills Lake. But we kept on pushing and sooner than later, we were there. It was intense but beautiful. We took a few pictures and quickly turned our backs to the ferocious wind and headed back to the trail head.
It was a fantastic descent, with a lot of glissading, a few spills, but more fun than you could imagine! The scenery was incredible, the weather interesting, and the hike was perfect. We topped it off with a great lunch and a beer at The Other Side Restaurant, then headed home.
Hopefully I'll be doing another summit next week, or in the very near future.....so keep an eye out.
|But, until then....|
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