On thin ice

Aren’t we all? A little risk-taking sharpens the senses. Still, there are senses, and then there is common sense. Where is this leading?

To Emerald Lake!

Yes, to Emerald Lake and another snowshoe trip! Only this time, it’s rife with danger…Stop reading now if you believe that, because it’s not true. I’m an old PlaidCamper, and I didn’t get this close to my half century by taking insane risks. Certainly not! Only the sane risks for me. Almost outdoorsmen are just that – almost. As in, I almost went over the edge there but didn’t because snowboarding slower than many walk is a safe way to navigate black runs. Common sense with an element of near danger; the perfect recipe for outdoor success and coming back another day? My younger self would have laughed at that. But I’m here and he isn’t, so who’s right now? (Am I really arguing with old young me?)

A natural snowshoe stadium

Back to Emerald Lake. On a monochrome Yoho afternoon, we went in search of a safely frozen lake offering big mountain views under leaden skies. Given the right conditions, Emerald Lake can be a natural snowshoe stadium. There had been plenty of recent snow, but sadly, due to ongoing unseasonable warmth, it didn’t quite work out.

For me, it is about trusting how deep down the lake is frozen. I evidently have trust issues. When your snowshoes sink slightly into deep snow, it’s all good. Crump, crump, crump, wonderful, let’s go! Away from the shoreline, when they continue to sink past the snow into a layer of melting ice, and the slush covers your boots, it’s less good. Call me cautious, but no thanks (don’t tell young me!) Ice should be frozen, weight bearing, and, let me think, solid.

Big mountain, small skiers

Out on the ice, you must listen to the voices, PlaidCamper. Especially the worst case scenario voice. At first thought, an undermining little creature, spinning annoying common sense words. He’ll whisper and weave an underwater nightmare where the mountain views aren’t as good from beneath the ice. Crack, splash, scrabble, scratch and tap. Yikes! Thank you, voices, and that’s enough of that. About turn and the shortest snowshoe trip ever, even if the cross country skiers are splush-gliding by with ease. (Splush?) Perhaps they were off season water skiers.

Avalanche chute

Needing to settle my jangled nerves and overactive imagination, we took a little turn along the shore, snapping big mountain views from a firmer footing, and wondering at the number of skiers blithely ignoring the avalanche warning signs posted across the front of an evident chute. I guess to each their own level of acceptable risk. Some must lead charmed lives, or possess conveniently underdeveloped fear centres.

Calming big mountain view

Virtually everything in life is a risk one way or another, and getting outdoors is no exception. There’s fun to be had in exploring your boundaries, and testing yourself in less forgiving environments. The best fun though, is in coming back, sharing your adventures, and telling trail tales to friends and family. Who knows, maybe they’ll want to join you next time? This post is like a message from the government of PlaidCamper:

Be safe, manage your risk, and be sure there is a next time!

Be safe, and come back!

Thanks for reading, and, as ever, please feel free to share a story or leave a comment – always appreciated!

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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...

25 thoughts on “On thin ice”

  1. This is not what I could do… but this is what makes me so excited… mountains, snow, and ice… I am at my desk reading and watching happily and with smiling face too. I enjoyed so much, it should be another wonderful experience for you. Thank you, have a nice and safety travels, love, nia


  2. Your adventures always make me happy. I cannot say that I’d be as willing to go on a frozen lake either. Usually the deeper I know it can be, the less likely I am to test the ice. I should probably listen to that inner voice and take some deeper risk as well as trust it, but she likes to see how up close and personal she can get with moose and bears so….sometimes I just have to shut her out. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend.


    1. It’s always a fine balance, isn’t it, on when to listen and when to ignore the inner voices. Gets a bit easier to know when to listen as I get older…
      Thanks for your kind words, and have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A few times I have gone out with people who said that they were experienced in the wild. I soon concluded that they had just been lucky. Keep that sixth sense working, Old Plaid Camper.


  4. Another refreshing story, threaded with humor, pc — great post. I like the young and old plaid campers and their differences; and of course your message in safety and sensing. And as always, your photos are breathtaking. I really like the perspective photo with the skiers and the mountain.


    1. Very happy to read that you enjoyed this one! Young PlaidCamper sure was a strange fellow – all the risks he’d take…
      The photo with the skiers and mountain was a bit of a bonus, because I always find it difficult to capture scale in pictures. (An additional bonus was they didn’t fall in!)
      Thanks, Jet, and I hope you have an enjoyable weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That little inner voice that whispers, “Don’t do it, stay safe” is the one we should all listen to. Love your beautiful photos of ice, snow, mountains, lakes, and trees. I would not mind venturing through that lovely country. Would take my husband Dave Daniel Boone with me though. He has taught me a lot about old Mother Nature. Good job staying safe Old Plaid Camper.


    1. You’re absolutely right, and I definitely listen to that voice far more than I used to! You and your husband would have great fun venturing through our mountain country – maybe one day…?
      Have a wonderful (and safe!) weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for taking us along on another fine outing in the beautiful mountains. The snowshoe madman willing to accept a reasonable risk in order to have fun and to expand experience is like the cross-country skiier madman I used to know– who’s older now and settling for the relative safety of the trout stream and the hiking trail. Because (as you say) the best fun is in coming back safely and sharing it all. So wonderful to be out in a place like Emerald Lake.


    1. Well put, Walt. A combination of relative safety and reasonable risk, but with a dash of the madman (one willing to report back!)
      Here’s to expanding experience a good while longer…


  7. Great story, wonderful photographs and I enjoyed your argument with your younger self. I have always enjoyed being outdoors in the winter, but the sound of ice cracking as you walk on a frozen lake has always bothered me and kept me walking along the shore.


  8. Great Blog and excellent pics. Quite an adventure! Thanks.

    On 26 February 2016 at 13:09, OldPlaidCamper wrote:

    > plaidcamper posted: “Aren’t we all? A little risk-taking sharpens the > senses. Still, there are senses, and then there is common sense. Where is > this leading? Yes, to Emerald Lake and another snowshoe trip! Only this > time, it’s rife with danger…Stop reading now if you bel” >


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