WINTER: One of Extremes

In a word . . . unusual. Extreme Weather – We were terribly warm in January, which can usually be our coldest month. Then came February and I learned a new term – Polar Vortex. We used to just call it an Arctic Cold Front, but a Polar Vortex sounds much more exciting and sexy. Usually, we can get C-O-L-D for a couple of nights and then warm back up to our typical winter temperatures of -20 C at night and -10 C during the day. Perfect winter conditions. Not in February. Back-to-back COLD fronts hit us and put us … Continue reading

Spring is . . . for the birds

Rotten snow.  Ice.  Mud.  Bloomin’ willows.  And the occasional spring snowstorm to dump half a foot (now over a foot!) of wet, heavy snow.  Time to put away the skis, snowshoes, ski-doo and snowblower . . . and bring out the rubber boots. The only redeeming quality about Springtime in the Rockies is the annual return of our migratory songbirds.  The Juncos returned about 3 weeks ago, followed closely by the Chipping Sparrows.  Heard, but not yet seen, is a Varied Thrush with his distinctive bell-tone song.  A lone Starling stayed for 3 days before the resident Gray Jays got … Continue reading

First snowshoe of the season

With guests arriving on Friday for a weekend get-away, I made the trip into civilization on Thursday to pick up fresh supplies.  Lots of wildlife were out and about that day, including several grouse, a group of Mule Deer, a few White-tailed Deer and two Golden Eagles slumming with the ravens on a road kill. The temperature was exceptionally mild for the weekend, and Cheryl and Paul were keen to try a short snowshoe trek.  So, down to Rock Lake where the ‘shoeing would be relatively easy, and on to the flat terrain around the Equestrian Overflow, Jackson Creek and … Continue reading

Oh man – do we have SNOW!!

The end of October brought a dump of snow!  Always appreciated and I do love snow . . .but, oh my achin’ back. I’ve been shoveling and blowing snow for the past two days, along with trying to get a snow-track in for our 3-km trail.  The snow blower works just fine . . .until we get above -5C.  Then the blower just pushes snow, and it’s faster to shovel. The Snow Buntings and Pine Grosbeaks are back and delightful to watch (no, these aren’t my photos – courtesy Google Image Search). It’s a town day tomorrow, with guests coming … Continue reading

Sticking Snow

No, not the kind that gloms onto your gloves and toque, making you wish your eyeglasses were equipped with windshield wipers . . . First “sticking” snow means snow that will stick around until spring. I have been laid low with a nasty flu bug, courtesy of the Thanksgiving Weekend, the past two weeks.  Anyone know what the saying ‘Under The Weather’ means?  Everyone knows what it feels like to be so sick even your eyelashes hurt, but . . .where did that saying come from?  I’ve been “under-the-covers” [shaking with chills and fever], “under-nourished” [who the heck feels like … Continue reading

Scenic Winter Route To The Viewpoint

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 … Continue reading

Flat Walks at Rock Lake

It’s been a glorious week of dry sunny weather which has made up for the wet summer. The autumn leaves are starting to fall and the nights are getting cooler. There have been some wonderful changes in scenery in the last two weeks. The viewpoint over the Rock Lake valley has changed from the lush green of summer to the oranges of fall. As summer draws to an end, the volunteers start to realise that the end of their stay at Rocky Mountain Escape draws nearer. It’s been Susan’s last week; she’s due to leave on Wednesday and Becky is leaving … Continue reading

We Only Hike In The Fall……

No, wait!! We hike year round, but Indian Summer brings fair weather  and makes ELEVATION HIKES (Laura’s favourite) soooooo pleasurable! A couple of days after their Hoff Ridge adventure, Laura and Becky took our guests, Mick and Brenda, up the Alpine Meadow. They had done the Viewpoint the previous day and were ready for a much more challenging hike –  the weather was great…. so why not!! This was the first time any of us had ventured to the meadow since the video cameras had been put up in August, so we were looking forward to seeing if there had been … Continue reading

RIDGE WALKING

Clear skies and the promise of fair weather . . . guests keen to tackle a challenging hike . . .where else but the Hoff Ridge?? Undaunted by the previous day’s snowfall, cool morning temperature and periodic gusts of wind at the cabins, our four intrepid 2-legged hikers (Laura, Becky, Emily and Ralph) and our faithful 4-legged companions (Molly and Leo) prepared for the Hoff Ridge hike shortly after breakfast. Rain gear? . . . . .Check Warm, layered clothing? . . . . . Uh, Ralph, do you have long pants to wear?  Says Ralph “I always hike in … Continue reading

Wild Berries, Bear Scat and Bum-Sliding

We’ve had mostly a fair-weather week – HOT some days with a couple of late afternoon/evening thunder storms just to keep things lively. Both the Alpine Meadow and the Scenic Route to the Viewpoint were favorite hikes over the past week.  The once-abundant wildflowers on the Alpine Meadow are mostly in seed now, although the Monk’s Hood, Cinquefoil (Potentilla) and Gentian are still out.  Wild strawberries are in full fruit – and such a welcome excuse to stop and catch your breath on the way up!  The way down on the avalanche chute is (relatively) easy . . . as long … Continue reading