As I crested the hill, I could see him, 30 metres ahead, defiant and fearless, blocking my path, standing directly on the tracks.
It appeared to me that his tactic was a full-out frontal assault on any invader. He was protecting his territory from enemies and was willing to engage in a direct attack.
As I was planning my counter-offensive, I had to keep in mind his air superiority. I decided I would shoot him multiple times…with my camera.
Suddenly, in the distance, an unexpected ally approached from the other side. Having no desire to fight this battle on two fronts, he hastily retreated to the side of the trail, perhaps planning an ambush as I tried to go past.
With the blockade no longer in effect, I proceeded and engaged him at close quarters. I took many photos while he pranced around in the deep snow. He pecked a couple times at my pole to let me know who was boss, and I hurried away.
This was the first time I’ve encountered this spruce grouse. I imagine it’s because I’m always descending Pocaterra and going quite fast. Now that I know where he patrols, I’ll be keeping an eye out.
On my way out to PLPP I stopped at the Ribbon creek parking lot. There was about 4 cm of new snow on the trail. It must have fallen after the rain because it appeared to be nice, powdery snow. The temperature was -4°C. I will include a photo in the gallery.
Further along, at Wedge pond, there was close to 6 cm of new snow. Again, it was good-quality snow, and some skiers had just started out and were breaking trail. I will include a photo.
Ray’s trip report is exactly what I was going to say. I skied the same route, Pocaterra hut to Lookout junction, except three hours later. It was snowing lightly at Pocaterra hut at 4 pm. A couple cm of new snow would improve conditions on the lower section of Pocaterra. It was fabulous past the Packers junction.
In the gallery, I will be posting photos of Packers, Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, and Lookout.
I’ll repost Ray’s report and add a few photos:
Hut to Lynx jct – snow was probably wet when trackset, and had quite an icy feel to it. Fast downhills, poor grip on uphills, noisy on the corners. Lots of needles stirred into the trackset.
Lynx to Packers – much better. Less icy, more of a packed-snow feel. Still a few needles, not bothersome.
Packers to Whiskey Jack and Lookout Jcts – pristine conditions; fabulous; skier’s heaven. Just the way it should be.
Temperature -6C at the start; -6C at turnaround; -4C at the end. No wind.
If a couple of cms of cold snow would fall on the north end of PLPP, it would make the whole trail great.
I would like to add that it’s very icy on the sidewalks and around the hut. You can skirt some of the icy parts by walking on the snow, but be careful.