Simple Snowshoe around Lake Helen Mackenzie

In Activity, Clubs, Family, Island Mountain Ramblers, Regional Districts, Snowshoeing, Strathcona Regional District by ExploringtonLeave a Comment

Another beautiful day in the low alpine. On Saturday, January 30th, I led a small group of Island Mountain Ramblers, along with a special guest, on a trip through Paradise Meadows to Lake Helen Mackenzie and back. We had fine weather: a little sunshine, some light snow, and a clear view along our route.

Hiking Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Park, Battleship Loop

In late 2015, I built a pulk sled to use on my ski and snowshoe adventures. Its purpose is to carry gear and my little guy, Hemingway. Since building the sled I’ve made a number of modifications, attempting to improve performance. Hemi was in tow today as we made our way from Raven Lodge.

We left shortly after 10:00 am; we were in no hurry for this simple snowshoe to the lake and back. On our way to the lake, we followed the summer route from the lodge. Though the route is commonly traveled, the conditions vary. On this day, the route had icy patches with a few areas sloping off the booted track downhill. Unfortunately, the sled performed poorly in these short sections as I have yet to install stabilizing fins, or a skeg.

Helen Mackenzie – Battleship Lake route Map

Total distance: 8.4 km
Starting Elevation: 1072 m
Maximum Elevation: 1165 m
Total Elevation Gain: 214 m
Total Time: 4 hours

As we passed these sloping sections, the sled slid downhill. The main problem is not the sliding, but the tendency for the sled to flip. Mostly, careful navigation and teamwork prevented any issues. My friend, Shawn, corrected the sled and we carried on. However, on one particularly steep slope, the sled slipped off and rolled over.  For a little guy that has a limited vocabulary, Hemingway was incredibly patient. Frankly, I can’t believe that he only cried at the rollover! Who likes having their face mashed into the snow?

Hiking Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Park, Battleship Loop
Just chilling out
Hiking Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Park, Battleship Loop
Making adjustments

We arrived at the lake before noon and enjoyed a standing lunch. As is often the case, we shared the lake with another group. Hemingway enjoyed his lunch, along with some hot chocolate. But mostly, he loved the experience of the whiskey jacks! They landed on each of us. We tempted the birds to land in his hand but Hemingway was too overcome with delight and ate the bait himself! He was lucky enough to have the birds land on his head once or twice, otherwise the big birds avoided him.

Hiking Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Park, Battleship Loop
We passed the building, who can tell me what this building is?
Hiking Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Park, Battleship Loop
Shawn walking parallel a water course, on our way back to Raven Lodge

We made our way back toward Raven Lodge via the Battleship Lake route. The return route was a much better experience. Hemi fell asleep, missing the best part of the day: open wide track with quick up and downs. I wanted to wake him up, but it was also great to scoot along our track knowing that he was comfortably snoozing in the sled.

We arrived back at the lodge by 3:00 pm. Before we hit the lodge for refreshments, we sent Hemi on a sledding adventure down a short hill. We think he liked it… you be the judge.

After today I see the importance for the stabilizing fins or skeg. I’ll be installing them soon.

***update: I installed the fins and will be testing them soon!

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