canada general snow trip reports

Running into Assiniboine – A Winter September Wonderland

A few months before my Mum came to visit, I checked in with the Assiniboine Lodge folks to see if there was any availability in the Naiset Huts in the weeks she would be staying with us. There was – but there were only two nights left. So we booked them, and hoped for good weather.

Based on the other weather we had while she was here, it could have been much worse. But it was far from perfect.

While she and the now 4-year old boy flew in by helicopter, Alex and I ran in together from Sunshine Village.

At least it had stopped snowing – mostly. And it was fairly warm, there was barely a breeze, and it was quite a novelty to actually get out for a run with Alex for once.

As we ran towards Citadel Pass, the snow got deeper and deeper. The larches looked miserable under a heavy load of snow on their green needles. As it warmed up, snow on the trail turned into enormous puddles. I was tremendously pleased that I’d remembered to wear my goretex socks – my feet were toasty and warm, despite the occasional drenching in snow melt.

As we dropped down from Citadel Pass though, we quickly lost elevation, and snow.

The transition back into summer was joyous – we didn’t know who had killed the White Witch, but were pleased that someone had finally gotten around to it.

Also, we were excited to actually be running the high trail above the Porcupine Campground for once, instead of having to drop all the way down into the valley, before climbing all the way back out again.

The Valley of the Rocks always seems to last longer than you’d expect. Although we did spend most of the run marvelling at how quickly we were arriving at places. Our pace was four or five times faster than we could travel with small child in tow. Distances that would have taken us an hour or more with him were only taking 15 or 20 minutes, which was continually amazing.

In no time at all we were running our squelchy footed selves along the final stretch of trail from Lake Og to Assiniboine Lodge – where we found the grandmother and boy, who had enjoyed a non-eventful helicopter ride, and had just been for a walk down to Lake Magog which had been rapidly aborted when a bear was sighted wandering along above the lakeshore.

What luxury, to travel here without a heavy pack to carry! How bourgeois, to pay a helicopter to carry our things to a mountain hut!

Most miraculous of all, my legs were still holding up after the epic weekend I’d just put them through. Hurrah!

Distance: 27km
Elevation gain: ~1100m

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