Dakota Ridge Snowshoe Day – March 31, 2012

What a day! This is the last official weekend of the season at Dakota Ridge, so I made the most of it. Peace and quiet…no phones, no email, no human contact for a couple of hours.

Thanks to my friends at Alpha Adventures for worry free transportation & equipment. No need for my own 4×4 or chains…just let Trevor do the driving. It is even better at the end of the day…when you’ve had a full workout and just want to relax….just let Trevor do the driving. : )
Conditions were fabulous when we arrived: 45cm (1.5ft) new snow in the last 2 days and the sun was trying to peak through the clouds. I took off for the Eastern Trail where views of the North Shore Mountains can be seen. Unfortunately it was too cloudy. I could see the ocean, but no views of the neighboring mountains.

In previous trips, I had always been with small groups. I usually just followed the group without thinking about where we were going. Today I was on my own. It is incredible how quiet a snow covered forest is. But when you stop and really listen, there are birds and the sound of fresh snow falling from the trees. I was very happy with how well the trails are marked. Just as I passed a marker, I could always see the next trail marker in the distance. Even though I was walking in fresh powder and “breaking trail” through much of the hike, I never felt at risk of being lost.

Dakota Ridge has 8km of marked snowshoe trails. I hiked the Eastern Loop and then the far Northern Loop. 2 full hours of pure peacefulness. About halfway in, it started to snow. Very light flurries that seemed perfectly appropriate given all the fresh powder. Then it really started snowing. Anyone heading out tomorrow will have an excellent fresh snow experience.

At sea level, it was another of those grey days with long periods of drizzle. 1,200 meters up the mountain, it was a winter wonderland. Even though there were a number of people skiing, snowshoeing & tobogganing, I saw only 2 people on my entire 2 hour hike. 1 at the very beginning and 1 at the very end. The rest of the time I had the place to myself…alone with my thoughts and with nature. Back at the warming hut I caught up with friends who had been skiing, and we shared stories of the day. So sad to have another winter season end, but I will sleep well tonight and enjoy the memories until next season.
Alpha Adventures will continue guided treks as long as the snow lasts, but officially the season ends tomorrow. Get up there if you have the chance!