The meeting place at Billy’s restaurant was deserted at 9:30 on Sunday and I was about to leave when a couple showed up from half way between Princeton and Merritt. I was going to go on my own, anyway, so I was pleasantly surprised to get two participants! We arrived at the longhouse and low and behold another guest from Merritt and local member Rod showed up. Well, now we were an organized group for snowshoeing!
We started up the hill under a blue sky, with tremendous views of the Similkameen Valley, as far as Nickel Plate mine and Apex mountain. Entering the trees, we noticed how the dripping snow off the branches had frozen overnight onto the ground, not a good condition for ski-ing. We soon gained the Ridge, and we were amazed at the scenery towards the Three Brothers from the top of the first rocky outcrop .
There was a slight crust on the undisturbed snow and yet even so we saw mouse tracks in addition to lots of deer. A couple of snowshoe hare tracks but no lynx tracks that I found a few days before. It must have moved on. We crossed the ski trails at the top of “Fence Fun” where I had removed a small deadfall tree the previous day and continued through the few giant standing Douglas fir and crossed the “2010” trail. Here the snowshoe trail had been flagged away from the ski trail to avoid any conflicts. We followed the flagging through thick natural “regenerated” growth to the bottom of the draw. I remember when this area was logged over 20 years ago; all the trees were tiny and too close together. We emerged into the draw and broke trail in almost 2ft. of powder, up the steep slope open slope and across the “Burn Road “ski trail. Again following the flagging uphill through the powder, we finally emerged into the snow covered “meadow” which is mostly slabs of solid basalt that doesn’t allow the growth of trees.
The picnic table was cleared, a roaring fire was lit, and sat around and told fascinating tales of accidents and parasailing. You should have been there!
On our return trip we saw a couple of deer running away, and a few mountain chickadees and nuthatches. On the way back we took the “Owen” trail after Fence Fun that led through the intermediate ski-hill and onto the old “Bunny Hill”. From our vantage point on top of the old ski hill we were amazed to see the parking lot absolutely full and the cabin and toboggan hill overflowing with people out enjoying the beautiful warm day. We are so lucky to live in such an amazing area with outdoor recreation for everyone.
Submitted: John Henry