Thursday, January 10, 2008

On top of a windswept mountain

I hadn't been up to Grouse Mountain in a few weeks, what with Christmas break and all, so it was a huge surprise to see that about a meter of snow had fallen in that time.  The terrain and conditions to which I was used to had disappeared.  Replaced were the big trees with just tree tops and rock outcroppings with snow drifts.  Add to this 150 snowshoers (the largest group that Grouse had had before last night was 75) and some near whiteout conditions at the beginning and it had the makings of an epic night.

Sonja joined us this time and I think that her experience encompassed the evening perfectly.  Excited to be up on the mountain and surrounded by snow, but no visibility.  Then wondering why she had come as we stood around shivering in the cold for about 25 minutes trying to register and get snowshoes for this unheard of number of people.  And then experiencing a wave of quiet hatred for the mountain as it just keep going up and up and up (and then it got steeper).  However, as it always is, and was for me this evening as well, the saving grace was the downhill run in deep, soft, luscious powder.  Laughing uproariously we cruised down the steep mountain, unafraid of falling as the snow would softly comfort us.

It turned out to be a little crazy last night, but everyone got back to the snowshoe hut with a smile on their face, and that is the key.  A little colder for wear, but with a good strength workout behind us, we sipped hot chocolate (ok, I had two) and laughed the other guides, before heading home in the driving rain that awaited us at the base of the mountain.


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