Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yamnuska -- March 9, 2008

The weather here has been ridiculously warm. While the eastern part of the country (and continent) suffer through countless snowstorms and arctic temperatures, we've hardly seen any snow and the thermometer has only dipped to the truly chilly for a handful of days.

When it does snow, it's usually thick wet late spring type snow, which causes problems on its own through avalanches. Even the warm weather has its price.

I didn't appreciate the weather until my trip to Winnipeg. I just kept thinking it would end eventually and we'd go back to the cold -- this nice weather was just a tease. A weekend in Winnipeg made me appreciate the gift of chinooks and the unseasonably warm weather. This past week it's been warmer here than in Arkansas.

It was with this renewed enthusiasm N and I picked Yamnuska as our Sunday hike. Enough with the make-do hikes until the weather improves! The sun is shining, the snow exists only in tiny little patches, if at all. To the mountains!

This is the Yamnuska that greeted us in the first week of March. It's hard to believe:

The snow did deepen on the way up, though still not as much as we had expected. The real danger was the ice. As long as the sun was hitting the snow, it was nice and slushy and posed no problem, but once the snow was in the shade, the path would get much slicker. Going up the mountain was mostly fine. Coming down a few hours later was the tricky part.

N spotted this tree about mid-way up. It had split twice in the same spot, allowing it to bend rather than break. The split looked old too... this tree has just kept on growing:

View of the Bow Valley, with the "heart-shaped" pond front and centre. The pond actually leads to a river and from other angles looks nothing like a heart, but this is always a nice shot, especially when frozen over. The view is unbeatable already:

The Rockies from Yamnuska. Again, shouldn't there be more snow in early March?

Near the treeline the snow deepened, but again, it was thick and slushy and actually much easier to navigate than the slicker stuff further down the mountain. Even here, near the top, the snow never really got knee-deep unless it had drifted:

At the top. Still little to no snow. Definitely colder though, thanks to the ever-present wind:

The hike down was, well, interesting with all the ice. It might be the first time it took longer to hike down Yamnuska than up. But to hike Yamnuska in March? Totally worth it.


Pixel-Pixie said...

Due to gloabal warming, we're losing a lot of the permanent ice and snow on our mountains here in East Africa - they say that soon, Kilimanjaro may lose its famous snow cap altogether. Apart from the great loss to the aesthetic beauty of the mountain, this will create turmoil for the countless thousands of people who rely on the springs fed from its slopes. My Kenya is the same - the Lewis Glacier which is the biggest glacier on the mountain is tiny compared with what it used to be.

I've been in the American Rockies, but never to the Canadian range (I visited the Andes in 2002 as well, which was awesome beyond my imagination)...I'm very excited as I'm planning to visit Canada for the first time in April - but on the other side from you - we have friends who have just moved to Nova Scotia so we'll be spending a week with them there.

Great blog, by the way, and thanks for joining my neighborhood on BlogCatalog too!

Best wishes,

Tanya (in Kenya)

Michelle said...

Western Canada has the same glacier global warming fears. You can travel just two hours north of here and see the glaciers retreating on a yearly basis. These glaciers feed fresh water to much of Canada, so this is a real fear. We also have a problem in that oil sand development in Northern Alberta takes a good deal of this fresh water.

A distant cousin of mine is in Africa right now and sent photos of her hike up Kilimanjaro -- they were absolutely stunning. That might be my ultimate hiking goal. It's absolutely beautiful country.

Enjoy your time in Canada, and thanks for visiting. You site is beautiful as well, and I look forward to continuing to read it!

Sandpiper said...

These are beautiful pictures. It has been a very strange winter. It's been fairly mild where I live in Connecticut, but all around us, it's been snowstorm after snowstorm. It does seem strange to think of parts of Canada as having so little snow. You'll probably have flowers before your southern neighbors.

Michelle said...

Thank you! There's definitely something odd going on weather-wise! Even going east only 10-15 minutes by plane, you can see the prairies going from brown to white... I'm sure other winters will make up for it! The birds are already coming back -- they must know something we don't!!