Well, not exactly lolling about. We were going to go on a snowshoe trip with the local club today. But water took priority – and rightly so. So, while Simon drove to Nelson to, hopefully, buy more Liqui-Fire, I headed up the Red Mountain trail with the aim of getting to the top.
And I go sooo close. A number of things stopped me and I suspect the cold was number one. While the forecast was for warmer weather, that counts for nothing when you gain major elevation. You can feel the air getting colder. My fingers, two hours after getting back, are still blue (literally!). My toes are freezing. I can’t get them warm. At least, not yet.
But, back to the snowshoe. I ran into Oswald, a neighbour who lives near the trail. He was heading up on his snowmobile as far as he could, then skiing the ridge. Great – I had a good track to follow – so much less work. For some reason, I didn’t have great energy today – stress perhaps? Maybe. But I wasn’t about to turn around.
I got to the viewpoint in two hours and forged ahead, following Oswald’s tracks. Finally, I saw his machine parked at the edge of the avalanche chute. I kept going – two more switchbacks and there: all I could see was Oswald’s ski tracks heading up across the chute. Oh, what the hell! I contemplated hiking the road the rest of the way but there was no track – may as well head into the chute.
That’s where things got interesting. Steep? Oh boy! Happily, Oswald was switchbacking up but the higher I went, the tighter the switches and the narrower the track until I periodically felt one snowshoe sliding – a slip would be not so good. Then I had to put one shoe in front of the other – it was that narrow. There was the ridge – so close I could taste it. Maybe another twenty minutes to the top? Thirty? But would I be able to get back down on my snowshoes? Safely?
I thought about it and decided to head back and try the road – there was time. I got there after a careful descent and headed out only to have the road dead-end within minutes. Right! Oswald had said he’d drive the snowmobile to the end of the road. Duh!
At that point, I didn’t have the heart for a second attempt – decided to leave it for another day, but probably not next week because of a warming trend and high avalanche risk.
Six hours after setting out, I got back home. No water because the Nelson stores didn’t have Liqui-Fire so it’s back to Nakusp tomorrow. The good news is that we received a gift of three weeks worth of really good dry wood from our neighbour. Simon spent most of the afternoon chainsawing it and it’s heating the house up beautifully. He also hauled enough buckets of water to keep us going until tomorrow, at which point he feels assured we will have water. I think he’s right.
So that’s it. We are both quite stinky. The laundry needs doing. But we have enough water for toilets and dishes. I am going to cook a nice dinner. We are going to play Scrabble and have a happy evening.
I am feeling moderately fierce.
I am very glad I went up the mountain today.
I worked my body hard. It’s the first time I’ve needed electrolytes in the winter – in fact, the first time in more than half a year. This hike was rigorous.
Next hike on Wednesday with the club – a ridge snowshoe! Excited!
And today is my day off from the work I have set for myself. Not to mention I am ahead on that score.