From the parking lot, I could see the creek flowing at a rapid rate so I knew that a lot of snow is melting higher up but I wanted to see where the snowline was so I decided to hike the Flower Ridge Trail in Strathcona Park. I knew there would still be lots of snow in the forest somewhere since the shaded forest protects it from melting fast.
The days have been quite mild lately but the mornings still feel cold at 7*C. At least my fingers were cold and it took about an hour of hiking before they finally warmed up. I had brought mitts but felt too lazy to get them out of my pack; I just didn't feel like stopping.
The Flower Ridge Trail is quite steep but I felt pretty good physically on this hike since I had dropped the weight of my pack contents by leaving out my big tripod and heavy camera. Instead I just brought along a mini table top tripod no more than 6 inches high and a video camcorder which is way lighter. My pack felt quite light although it did put some strain on my back since those muscles have not been conditioned to heavy weight and exercise.
Not far along the trail, there are pools of water where a small creek comes down through the forest. There is also quite a bit of fallen trees; typical debris from the winter wind storms. Most are easy to get over but the tangle of branches makes it a challenge of not getting poked and being tripped.
The sounds of birds seem to be more prevalent around the lower reaches of the forested mountain than higher up. I just like to stop and listen to them. I noticed that the same birds are found in Elk Falls Park since their vocalization is exactly the same. I also heard grouse on a couple of occasions. It's very hard to pinpoint where the sound is coming from as it seems to be in different directions. Hiking up the trail, I didn't see this camouflaged grouse near the trail until it flew away when I got fairly close.
I actually made good time hiking up to the small creek in the forest. The creek is fed by an underground spring which percolates up through a small hole in the ground. Even during the driest and hottest summer of last year, there is always water here which is a good thing because there isn't any other water source until near the ridge. About 20 minutes up from this water source, I encountered snow in big patches. The trail disappeared underneath and without any GPS waypoints to guide me, I headed back down to the creek.
I boiled some water for coffee and ate my lunch. It was starting to get quite cool in the shade and the sun was mostly blocked by the trees so after I ate I found a nice sunny spot in the woods and warmed up nicely. I stayed in that one spot and listened to a grouse and only moved when the sun shifted and disappeared. There is a limited viewpoint at this area and I can see the bare area where the Myra Falls Mine is located. The zoom on this video cam is really good.
The video clip is unedited and the small tripod is too low on the ground. I wish there was a better wide angle on this video cam. The snow looks kind of bluish in the clip because of the shade and lack of light so I was adjusting the white balance while filming to make it look warmer and more natural. I could have edited the film but sometimes I get too lazy. Besides, I don't have any skills for filming and editing but I couldn't care less.
When I was hiking back down the trail, I noticed the temperature difference going from cool to warm and pretty soon I was sweating a lot. So far there hasn't been any mosquitoes around as they can be quite miserable.
The afternoon turned out to be a nice sunny day with the temperature reaching a high of 18*C. I drove to one of my favorite spots which I can access the waters of Buttle Lake and soaked the sweat off of me. The water was very chilly.