Today it started snowing. Well technically during the night. The roads were a bit whiter until we pulled on the the main highway leaving Banff behind as we headed for Yoho National Park. The snow clouds were still around but there was just a gentle snowfall. It was very pretty to look at but very cold to be in.
We headed to a trailhead leading to Sherbrooke Lake. We pulled off the highway and into a parking lot for a roadside “rustic” motel/lodge hybrid that looked like it would be the perfect setting for a murder mystery. Apparently the trailhead was at the edge of the woods in the back of the parking lot. Like I said. A perfect setting for a murder mystery.
Cory and I bundled up with pretty much every base layer and jacket we brought since it was below freezing out.
Since it was a wet snow, I decided not to take my pack because my camera isn’t weather sealed. Even though I had a rain cover for my pack, I knew I wouldn’t be getting my camera out so I opted to not carry the extra weight.
We were suited up and Cory already had his pack on when he asked if I had the car keys. Nope. I noticed he was giving his pockets a thorough pat down. Never a good sign. He couldn’t find them. I knew he didn’t give them to me but just in case, I checked my pockets – all 12 of them in various layers. Nope. Nothing. He had already checked the car, so I checked behind him, just in case. Nothing.
Annoyed, he took his pack off and started taking off his layers to check them one by one. Nope. This was getting ridiculous. Obviously we had to have the keys because we had just pulled into the parking lot. At this point – a solid 10 minutes of looking in, I’m checking under the car, around the car and then I hear – “Found them.” Apparently Cory had set them down in the back up top behind the headrest which we didn’t see as we checked the seats, floorboards and all the low places.
Once Cory relayered, we set off into the woods for Sherbrooke Lake.
This was supposed to be an “easy” hike. I think Cory and I will always have differing opinions on that. But this one was supposed to be short so when I realized I was hungry and didn’t have my pack aka my granola bar when we left, I figured I would be alright because Cory would have one I could steal when we got to the lake.
I guess I didn’t realize just how much more energy you use when you hike in snow. Uphill. Cory kept saying we should almost be at the fork which is the halfway point. Only it never comes. And I’m overheating because I guess you CAN wear too many layers. So I ploppeddown in the snow to cool off, unzip my jackets and try not to think about how hungry I am. Cory being the gentleman that he is, joined me.
Cory is also concerned about how far the trail actually is because from his research, we should have already been at the halfway point by now. And the trail is steeper than his research led him to believe. So he decides, we will keep going to the fork and then we can turn around. It’s cute when he says this but we all know he’s not going to spend a day hiking and not get to some sort of water or at least vantage point to take a picture. Still, I’m hot, tired and hungry in a snow storm. So I’d be ok if we did turn around.
Once we make it to the fork in the road, Cory, per usual, is waiting for me to catch up. A couple (the only people we see all day on the trail) is coming out and so he asks them how far away the lake is. They said we are about halfway there but it levels out. I see a glimmer in Cory’s eye. I know we are going to see that lake.
And we do. We keep going. And the trail did even out – but just far enough where you feel like you can’t turn around when it starts to climb again. So we keep going uphill then down then finally, finally! We get to the lake! I have never been so excited about a granola bar – I mean a lake.
But alas, Cory didn’t have a granola bar. And I immediately know I’m going to be riding the struggle bus on the hike back. I try to play it cool though and Cory starts setting up for his shot.
This lake was already covered in snow and the mountain backdrop looked more like a gradient with all the clouds and snowfall. It was really beautiful.
We even saw a real snowflake – like an actual snowflake shaped snowflake. I had never seen one in real life before.
Once Cory was finished, he started packing up and I was super thankful I didn’t bring my camera. His was wet basically as soon as he pulled it out of his bag from the snow so I knew I wouldn’t have been able to shoot on mine. That did make me feel better as we headed back towards the car.
Unfortunately, I was hangry, tired and now cold. I was mad at myself because I kept taking pictures on my phone and didn’t leave myself enough time to properly warm them up before we left (which I usually do). So they were already feeling like pins and needles. Cory showed me some tricks to try and get the blood flowing again but I think they were too far gone.
One of the most rewarding things about hiking with Cory is he knows everything. One of the most frustrating things about hiking with Cory is he knows everything. I’m sure the opposite is true for him. He likes teaching me but at the same time I know nothing and struggle to take care of myself – too many layers, not enough layers, eating enough calories, drinking enough water, keeping my fingers warm etc etc. I’m basically like a small child on the trail – tantrums and all. I usually end up having an emotional breakdown on any longer hike we do.
The hike back is when I started deteriorating. I trip a lot. In every day life. So on ground covered in snow that is sometimes flat and sometimes rocky but you can’t tell the difference because it’s covered in snow and then adding ice to some or all of those occasions. Well. I feel like I need to slow down even more and I have to concentrate a lot more which becomes exhausting.
But what do I see when I do manage to look up? I either see Cory “looking at ” or “feeling” leaves or trees when I know he’s just waiting (or using his peripheral vision to look) for me without trying to be so obvious. Or I see Cory prancing along in front of me as if we were running through a meadow on a sunny day. It’s very endearing and cute when my spirits are high but very annoying and frustrating when I am ready to be done and also when I know I could – in fact – be done if I could go that quickly. And today that struggle was especially real.
At this point, I’m hot and on the verge of sweating in a snowstorm and yet my fingers feel like they are being pricked by a thousand needles. I know the last section is going to be steep, downhill and covered in snow and ice and I am NOT looking forward to it. In my head I just assume I will be slipping and sliding the whole way down.
I know Cory is getting frustrated with me because I keep going slower and slower and I’m getting angrier and angrier. He keeps asking if I want to take break but I tell him I just want to keep going. He tries to make me stop but after I’m probably a bit too stubborn, he has had enough and eventually, he takes off at his normal speed leaving me behind. Before I know it I’m alone, in the woods, covered in snow with no one in sight. And everything feels a million times worse because I’M SO HUNGRY.
I sit down, use my handwarmers to try and warm up my hands or at least minimize the needle pricks. And feel all the feelings. At this point, nothing I’m thinking or feeling emotionally is true or can be trusted. So I force myself up, continue on and eventually see Cory waiting for me. He wants to talk but I know if I stop, I’m not going to start again so we keep hiking after I tell him we can talk at the car but not until I eat something (because my travel rule).
Eventually, I lost a few tears, my hands warmed up and we did make it to the car. And in the end, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed or felt. But I didn’t realize that until after I inhaled a protein bar and some coffee and nestled into those heated seats in the toaster. Life was good again and we headed back to the cabin to call it a day as far as hiking was concerned.
After we unloaded everything, Cory realized he couldn’t find the car keys again. But we knew that it had to be somewhere in the house and we were too tired to look for them so we decided to do it later – which of course we forgot about.
That night we went out for dessert to Beavertails. It was like fastfood but for dessert with no seating. Their dessert is basically flattened fried dough – much in the form of a beaver’s tail – topped with way too many sweets. Cory got one with half cinnamon and half vanilla I think. I got one with half maple syrup (because Canada) and half chocolate peanut butter. We also got a corndog (or whatever the beaver name is for it) because it turns out, I eat a lot more when I travel than Cory realized. Or maybe just in general.
We took everything back to the cabin, watched some netflix then called it a night. Tomorrow we would be heading to another national park – weather permitting.