Snow day! A hint of winter already?

Is it really winter already? No, not according to the calendar, but if you take a hike up high here in the Canadian Rockies, you don’t have to look too hard for a hint of winter (at almost any time of year!)

An early hint of winter
An early hint of winter

Mrs PlaidCamper was presenting at a health conference in Lake Louise last weekend, so I selflessly offered to drive her out there. Good of me I know, and nothing to do with the beautiful and crisp sunny day being forecast, or that I really wanted to hike up and behind Agnes Lake after our postponed attempt a little while back…

A good place to start...
A good place to start…

So while Dr. PlaidCamper entertained the academics, I entertained myself with a solo jaunt away from the scholarly and furrowed brows, and the big words I pretend to understand.

Armed with a stale cheese roll (tasty when you’re hungry), an energy bar (dry and chewy but better than the cheese roll), and a bar of habanero and sea salt chocolate (better by far than anything else in the backpack), I set off up the trail to Lake Agnes. Or is it Agnes Lake? Best do some research on that, and find out more about Agnes.

Heading up
Heading up

The day was about perfect for an uphill hike; too cold not to have a down jacket when standing still, yet sunny enough in and out of the trees to remove the jacket and get warmed up on the move. The icing on the weather cake was the light dusting of snow that had fallen in the early hours. Not a significant amount – barely a few mm – but it was cold enough to prevent it melting in the shade and remain on the ground as the day progressed and I gained trail height. The first winter hint.

Beautiful Louise!
Beautiful Louise!

The switchback trail is pretty short to Agnes, with only a couple of breaks in the trees to allow a view back down to Lake Louise, but those gaps do offer pleasant glimpses of the famed water.

Just shy of Agnes is Mirror Lake, and here was the second hint of winter that morning, an almost frozen mirror.

A frozen mirror
A frozen mirror
Will it be a severe winter? (I ask myself)
Will it be a severe winter? (I ask myself)

I was there at almost the same time a couple of years ago with my brother, and Mirror Lake wasn’t frozen then. Is an early frozen mirror a harbinger of a hard winter I asked? As nobody replied, and I felt a bit foolish talking out loud, I continued sheepishly up to Agnes. It had seemed a reasonable question…

Winter? Delightful!

Agnes was simply delightful! The third and best sign of winter, with an almost totally frozen surface, and light ripples in the snow covering the ice. Or light ripples in the ice covered by snow…

Lightly rippled
Lightly rippled

Honestly, my heart really did beat a little faster – and not just because of the chocolate reward I’d earned here – but for the sheer surprise and pleasure the pristine view provided. It is a beautiful little lake, yet I hadn’t expected it to be as wonderful as it was that morning. I brushed the snow from a rock and sat there, munching and smiling, and likely drooling wet crumbs of chocolate. A few other hikers were present, although none seemed to want to sit near me. I think I must have gotten some grit in my eye, the view did get a touch blurry there.

Agnes is a beauty
Agnes is a beauty

There is more to this wintry adventure, for I wasn’t done with the trail (and there is still that stale cheese roll), but I’ll save that for next time (it was a tale of desperation and thievery as the trail unfolded, let me tease you with that – although seriously, if you have plans of any sort next week, don’t change them!) A teary OldPlaidCamper seems quite enough for this go around. Clearly the cold really can get to a pair of old eyes…

DSCF1527Thanks for reading! As ever, please feel free to comment or share a wintry story, and keep your guy ropes secure.

To be continued...
To be continued…

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

29 thoughts on “Snow day! A hint of winter already?”

  1. Hello PlaidCamper – your happiness and enjoyment of the scenery shines through this prelude to winter post! The photos are absolutely beautiful – my favourite is – Heading Up.

    I look forward to the continuation of this post!


  2. Those mountains at Agnes are beautiful and think I will keep that in my itinerary for next year. Is that round hump above Mirror Lake called the beehive?I rode ahorse up to the teahouse many years ago. Like the last photo and the glimpse of Louise as you ar going up the trail-pleasant points of view.


    1. That’s a brave choice, riding up there! Some of the bridle trails are on the edge…I’d have to really trust the horse!
      It is the beehive, often you can get a great reflection in the lake.
      Happy you enjoyed this, and how wonderful you’ll be visiting and hiking out here soon!
      Enjoy your weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow – what an eyeful! Your hike was breathtaking, pc, thanks for taking us along. The meaning of the words “dusting of snow” really comes alive in your photos. I had numerous chuckles at your narrative, always a pleasure, and am truly glad that you got to get back to Agnes Lake (or is it Lake Agnes?). Looking forward to the tale of desperation and thievery…. 😀 PS – I liked every single one of your photos, but the one labeled “Beautiful Louise” is absolutely stunning.


    1. It was an eyeful, maybe even a teary one! So happy you enjoyed this tale of tears and chocolate – I had fun being there, and then fun again writing about it. (Bit worried I may have oversold part two…!)
      The colour of the water really is something to see, especially glimpsed through or over the trees.
      Thanks for your visits, they are always appreciated, and have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I hope the suspense isn’t too much! Part two won’t be quite as dramatic as I maybe made it out to be…
      Thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate it.
      Have a great weekend!


    1. We’ve moved around a fair bit, and enjoyed the places that were home for a while, but we truly appreciate this continent, and the little corner that is home for now. Fortunate indeed!
      Might have to do something about reducing expectations for the next leg – I’ve really oversold it! That’ll teach me something…
      Have a wonderful weekend!


  4. Beautiful pictures, as always! We had around 20 degrees in the sun today, so it didn’t feel too wintry, but it’s great to get a feel for what’s coming already 🙂

    My wintry story would be, that I once hiked up the highes Irish mountain – proud 1200 meter – but for some stupid reason we took the Devil’s Ladder and basically had to go up twice because we kept sliding down with a bunch of stones, but the view was so worth it!!!
    I was a bit scared of the way down, but guess what? There’s an easy route even 90 year old dudes take. It was the route I fell the most though. lol


  5. I heard that in Colorado all the roads that are going to close for the winter are closed now.

    My winter hiking story would be in State Forest State Park, in northern Colorado. We were one of the first hikers of the season for Ruby Jewel Trail. The staff i the visitor center had no idea if the trail is usable or if we would need snow shoes. We decided to try. First few miles were easy, either no snow at all or patches of thick snow in the areas with thicker forest, but in most places we could just get around the snow or walk on the frozen surface. Then we hit an area where we couldn’t get around anymore, and unlike in the previous snowy areas, the surface of the snow was in the sun, so it was soft and we kept sinking in it. We actually had to turn back because at the higher altitudes we kept getting stuck waist high in the snow (and we are both close to 6 feet).


    1. Good story! Too much of a workout without snowshoes, but you can say you were first out there the start of the season!
      Thanks for sharing, and I hope you’ve had an enjoyable weekend.


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