Shane and I took our day off together, (one of us played hooky, but I'm not telling which) and drove up to Manning Park. Well, there was more to it than that. I got up at 6 (usual) and started cooking. I actually did breakfast, lunch and dinner before 8am! I put together a chili in the crock-pot and whipped up a noodle dish for lunch while breakfast (steel-cut oats) were simmering on the stove. We left, fully packed, at 9am.
The drive only took an hour and twenty minutes and along the way I oohed and aahed, as I do every time we drive out of the Valley. I can't believe I live here! It's so beautiful. The fog was heavy in parts and it made for a very dramatic exit. We drove straight up into the snow line, something we hadn't been expecting. I don't know why I thought it would be clear, it is November after all. The sun was starting to peak over the trees when we arrived in the parking lot along Lightning Lake.
We threw Butter out of the car (not actually) as soon as we stopped. We were so sick of his incessant whining! Seventy-five minutes of torture on my ear drums. The fresh snow sat calmly along the trail. Little footprints reminded us we weren't alone. Rabbits, dear and sprinting squirrels all joined us. Butter, dramatically attentive, followed every noise and scent like he was hunting for dinner, the temperature at minus two sure didn't have him stumped.
We stopped half way through our nine kilometers and snacked on a trail mix I put together, dried plums and cherries, (by me) raisins and toasted pecans, local hazelnuts and hand-shelled (by Shane's hands) walnuts. While we were stopped and scarfing we heard a noise like a jackhammer, or a machine gun if you will. We weren't to frightened but stood still curiously. We saw the little woodpecker drilling for lunch with an echo through the trees.
We crossed little bridges on our walk and slipped through the snow over rocks. Two and a half hours later and minus one dog's bandana we were back in the parking lot. The temperature was now two degrees but the sun was warm on our backs. We unfolded the blanket to sit on and ate our lunch while a group of greedy Whisky Jack's dropped nettles on us from above. Ginger-scallion noodles, apples and peanut butter and a cup of miraculously still luke-warm coffee.