Saturday, October 16, 2010
i woke up this morning to crisp blue skies, and knew i wanted to go to the mountains. a chest cough and stuffed nose seemed to preclude any real exertion, so i planned for a sub alpine walk instead. a half hour's drive and i was at the local ski hill, which also offers easy access to the east side of strathcona provincial park. paradise meadows is the start of trails into the remote backcountry, but also has some shorter loop trails to explore the sub alpine environment. i obviously wasn't the only one with this idea on a gorgeous october day, as the parking lot was packed. i rarely venture up to this little corner except when the hills are blanketed with white and i'm ready to strap on my snowboard, but i was happily rewarded with beautiful fall colours across the meadows. i always forget that it's here, that within such a short drive i can go from sea level to over 1,100 m (3,600 ft), without all the legwork (although there are days for that too).
even with the sun shining bright, it was colder up in the mountains, and any spot not yet touched by the light showed a dust of frost. a skim of ice across the small lakes and creeks reminded me that winter is just around the corner, and it won't be long at all until there is snow up there and not just on the higher peaks.
i explored up the trails to battleship lake and back, wishing in fact that my chest wasn't aching, and that i'd brought more suitable hiking clothes and a snack, so that i could venture further into the alpine. but today wasn't the day for that, and that was okay.
on my way back i paused at a bridge to change camera lenses, and sure enough, a couple of whiskeyjacks (grey jays) came to visit. they abandoned me quickly upon realizing i had no food to share, but it always enchants me how comfortable they are moving well within reach of my hands, hoping to sneak a treat. there were other small birds flitting through the trees, and many squirrels trilling away as i moved along.
now home again with the light fading, i think it's time for another warm mug of tea, and to curl up on the couch with my stitching.