April 23, 2017 Leave a comment
It’s officially spring now here in Kamloops, and all the snow has melted (which I honestly was beginning to believe would never happen!). You would not believe how fast the grass had changed to a bright emerald green, and how completely different the landscape looks, now that is not hidden my 2 meters of powder. So what have I been up to now that the weather’s warm?
Hunting Down the Rest of the Snow at McConnell Lake
Okay, so I found some more snow. Early in spring I went on a camping trip with the “adventure club” of my exchange university (who host some absolutely awesome activities- I also went skiing with them!). We drove a few hours out of Kamloops to where the trees still held a layer of snow- to stay overnight at a cute little place called McConnell Lake Cabin. The cabin was about an hour’s walk from the road, so we all donned our snowshoes and backpacks, and walked across the middle of the frozen lake to get there.
When we arrived we ate a lot of food and chocolate (to keep us warm, or course) and spent the day learning to chop wood like a true Canadian Lumberjack, build fires and cook “Bannock” (which wasn’t all to different from damper). And of course, we had a lot of wild snow fights.
We also spent a long part of the day building a quinzhee, which is much like a less sophisticated igloo, where you build a large mound of compounded snow, and then dig out the middle to create a house. After reassurances from the guides that quinzhees were a warm, insulated place to sleep at night, two friends and I vowed to sleep there that night, instead of the heated cabins provided. I definitely regretted that. The quinzhees were as cold as you would expect a mound of snow to be, and one by one each of us snuck out to sleep in the warm cabin with everyone else.
Hikes, Hikes, and More Hikes.
So the sun is finally shining in Kamloops and it’s time to take advantage of all of the mountains and hiking trails we had around us. I’ve been spending a lot of my weekends now going on long day hikes, and they all manage to end in breathtaking views of Kamloops and the rivers around it.
Roadtrip to Squamish!
A weekend or two ago, 4 friends and I head off on the notorious Coquihalla (the highway between Vancouver and Kamloops that stars on “highway Through Hell”) to a tiny town just north of Vancouver called Squamish. It was a beautiful drive, and we all spent it with our faces glued to the windows in awe of how the sharp mountains rise straight out of the ocean- something I’d never seen before. It was lucky I spent so much time taking in the view on the way there, because the icy drive home at 2am had me so terrified my eyes were glued shut the whole time.
While in Squamish we went on a famous “Sea to Summit” hike up to a mountain peak, which was the most intense workout I’ve ever had. My athletic friend spent the whole time encouraging me that the millions of steep stairs “will be worth it when you see the view from the top”. And the view from the peak of the mountain was just like heaven. No, not because it was so beautiful- but because we were faced by an impenetrable wall of white. Ironically, we had picked a very cloudy day to do the hike and could not see a single thing from the top. The hike was still fantastic, and on the way down we all took some time to appreciate the forest and the waterfall that followed us alongside the trail.
Some Familiar Faces
Over the last weekend my parents flew in to Canada to see me. It was absolutely fantastic getting to see them, and we spent the weekend at the animal wild life centre, and walking through a nearby national park.
The wildlife centre was awesome to see, as it had all the native grizzly bears, coyotes and cougars that we definitely didn’t want to see on our hikes. We also found out (to our surprise) that porcupines are actually nothing like echidnas. As the weekend ended, it was sad to say goodbye to them, but I’m still getting updates and photos from them as they tour around Canada.