When was the last time you spent the day in the snow?
I don’t mean stuck in your car dreading your drive home, I mean a day playing in the snow. If your answer is ‘when I was a kid’, you should be ashamed of yourself!
I have always loved winter, but it seems the snowy days are few and far between now. When I was a kid… haha but seriously, when I was a kid we had way more snow. I remember my mom telling me when she was a kid they had way more snow than we had. I couldn’t figure out why, but I started to realize as I got older, she was correct. And now they call it climate change. But this post isn’t about the lack of snow or climate change, it’s about two awesome days on two snowy mountains.
Mount Seymour – Hiking Dog Mountain
The last time I hiked this trail was March 3rd, 2015. There wasn’t a drop of snow on the trail. I kid you not. It was bizarre, but so was the lack of winter in Vancouver.
I checked the weather forecast before I headed up in the morning, and they called for cloudy with sunny periods. Umm, perfect! I made sure to pack my microspikes as I assumed there would be slippery sections. They turned out to be an invaluable piece of equipment.
When I arrived at the top of the mountain it was lightly snowing. The parking lot was pretty empty so parking was a breeze, and so, I set off on my adventure.
The trails were nicely packed with snow in the center from all the snowshoers that use the trail but was loose and deep as soon as you stepped away from the center.
The trees were heavy with snow and looked amazing. I must have stopped a zillion times to take pics and just look up at their branches from underneath. There is something so unique and amazing about the alpine branches. They have to be strong to hold all that snow.
After taking a wrong turn at first lake ( the sign said winter trail so I followed it then had to double back), I continued on my way past the lake and through the forest again.
Once I made it to the lookout, I knew that it would be socked in, but I was strangely ok with that. As I approached the clearing I heard two familiar caws from the resident ravens mingled in with the chirping of the Whiskey Jacks.
I love spending time alone in nature, and spending it in the forest full of snow is otherworldly. As I drove down the hill that night, the sky turned the most amazing colours for the perfect ending to a perfect day. I stopped for a few quick shots, and drove home with a big grin on my face.
Sea to Sky Gondola
Let’s just start off by saying ‘if you haven’t been.. go!‘Last time I was there was the summer. It was a hot 35c (95F for my American friends). The sun was out and the views were amazing. Fast forward to December 19, 2015. The bottom of the gondola was rainy, but we knew things would change as soon as we reached the summit. Halfway up the mountain, the rain turned to snow and the trees became white. By the time we got to the top it was a winter wonderland like I have never seen. Stepping off the gondola, you were hit in the face but the smell of snow. And yes, it does have a smell.
We made our way over to the Sky Pilot suspension bridge and were shocked to see it was empty. The chances of getting an empty bridge during peak season are slim to none, and hot damn we had the entire thing to ourselves and it was snowing!
A quick jaunt through the Spirit trail which is all decorated like a candy cane forest will land you back at the lodge. They had a nice fire going so you could stand around and warm up a bit while enjoying the snow. There were now views of the ocean since it was very socked in, but it made for a perfect backdrop for the snowy trees.
After drying our gloves off at the fire, we then took the-the Panorama Trail and made our way through the forest to the viewpoint. Which again.. was just a giant white out, but it made for some incredible photos.
Back to the lodge for a quick warm up and a few final shots before we headed down the gondola, into the rain below.
Overall it was an amazing day with amazing friends.
What I packed for my hike in the snow
As a photographer my pack is a bit heavier than most due to camera equipment, but some of the basics still apply.
- shutter release
- hand warmers
- small emergency kit ( knife, band-aids, glowstick, flint/lighter, dryer lint( easy to light),emergency blanket)
What I wore for my hike in the snow
- three underlayers all made of moisture wicking materials
- fleece tights
- Thermoball jacket
- toque ( beanie/hat)
- waterproof hiking boots
- Kahtoola microspikes