Following a successful Winter Wood Weekend (thanks to the wood crew!), Laura and Becky began preparing for Thanksgiving. Only snow flurries were forecast for mid-week, so we did not expect to wake up and find half a foot of snow outside on Wednesday morning – Rocky Mountain Escape had transformed into a Winter Wonderland once again!
Although it has been sunny during the day, the nights are cool and there are still traces of snow in shaded areas. The puddles on the trail are also very icy so we decided it was best to pick up our non-4×4 driving guests at the end of the trail, and for anyone that would say “4x4s don’t help in the snow and ice” why is it that vacation car rental companies in snowy climates (like this Iceland car rental company as an example) offer 4×4 options? They do help a little more than FWD or RWD cars or trucks. We were joined by two families from Grande Prairie and a couple from Edmonton for the weekend.
It was agreed during dinner that the scenic route to the viewpoint would be the best hike to suit everyone. The following morning, Becky set off with the group to guide her last hike of the summer and was looking forward to seeing how the Rock Lake valley had changed after the recent mix of weather. Our youngest guests stayed at the Escape for the day, taking a stroll down to the creek with their mum while Laura was in the cook house talking to the turkey who went into the oven as soon as breakfast was finished!!
While on the scenic route, the wild cranberries were looking ripe following numerous overnight freezes – of course, Becky invited our guests to try them and they served as a very nice trail snack.
The beaver pond had frozen and our young hikers enjoyed throwing sticks onto the ice to see how far they could slide. There were no further signs of wildlife activity apart from a few branches that had been scratched by elk antlers as we reached the meadow before the final viewpoint.
Although it was overcast, everyone enjoyed their lunch while looking at the stunning scenery – the only remains of snow are on the mountain peaks and they glistened in the distance. Becky then decided to take everyone down to Rock Lake to see the view from there.
Upon arriving back at the cabins, there was noticeable haze and ash in the sky. As Rock Lake was clear and it would be very unusual for the smoke from wildfires in BC to come down Munn Creek without affecting Rock Lake, Laura contacted the wildfire department. Out came a chopper to investigate, along with a very nice young man in a pickup. Turns out that there was a fire in Fort St. John, but no evidence of wildfire in the Willmore – we did not have to worry about the turkey burning!
For dinner we had pickle plates, turkey, two different stuffing, slow roasted vegetables, and mashed potatoes, along with giblet gravy and cranberry sauce. This was followed by a choice of pumpkin pie, chocolate brownie, cherry crumble and strawberry shortcake for dessert! It was a wonderful meal and everyone commented on how much they had eaten – we didn’t have to go as far as wheeling anyone to their cabin in the wheel barrow, though!! Our guests departed Monday morning after a fun and filling weekend, ending this year’s high season and ending Becky’s summer here at Rocky Mountain Escape.
We are thankful for our wonderful guests both past and present as it is you who make each hike special and memorable 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Trails…