The “boss” of Pocaterra

by Bob Truman on December 10, 2015

in Kananaskis, PLPP(P Lougheed Park)

Post image for The “boss” of Pocaterra

As I crested the hill, I could see him, 30 metres ahead, defiant and fearless, blocking my path, standing directly on the tracks.

30 metres ahead, he was blocking the trail by standing on the tracks

30 metres ahead, he was blocking the trail by standing on the tracks(click for larger image)

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.

Another skier approaches and the "boss" retreats to the side of the trail

Another skier approaches and the “boss” retreats to the side of the trail

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.

Planning his attack from the side of the trail

Planning his attack from the side of the trail

With the blockade no longer in effect, I proceeded and engaged him at close quarters.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.

Simona and Cheeky at Pocaterra - Whiskey jack junction

Simona and Cheeky at Pocaterra – Whiskey jack junction

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.

Skiers at the Pocaterra - Lynx junction

Skiers at the Pocaterra – Lynx 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.

Pocaterra between Packers and Whiskey jack was pristine

Pocaterra between Packers and Whiskey jack was pristine

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.

It looks fantastic but the tracks were slick. On the left is the pre-flood Stroil trail, no longer groomed.

It looks fantastic but the tracks were slick. On the left is the pre-flood Stroil trail, no longer groomed.

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.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrea December 11, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Hi Bob,

What time were you at Wedge? I was there with my daughter and parents (four of us), just starting out and breaking trail around 11:30am. Was that us in your picture? ?

Andrea

That’s the time I was there. I expect that was you in the photo. -Bob

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2 Andrea December 12, 2015 at 8:52 am

Sorry we missed the chance to meet you! Another time, I’m sure!
Andrea

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3 HDK December 11, 2015 at 3:57 pm

I was fairly assaulted by that stupid bird last winter, assuming it’s the same one. Funny how such a little feller can send a person packing pronto. Stupid bird. Ribbon Creek tomorrow. Here’s hoping for a blue wax blue bird day. It sure is nice when there’s enough snow there. It feels like so much shorter a drive from the city.

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4 Wendy December 11, 2015 at 8:25 pm

I haven’t met the poor little bird yet, and I’m sure having him attack as you try to ski by must be very disconcerting, but let’s try to remember we are travelling through his backyard, uninvited. He’s just being a wild bird, poor thing. Can you imagine feeling threatened and having trespassers in your yard, day after day? It just might make you grumpy and want to chase after people too ?

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5 HDK December 14, 2015 at 8:11 am

My comment was meant to be tongue in cheek. Fail!
We went down to Hay Meadows on Saturday, and up to Troll Falls. Although the falls were cool (your own personal shower stall!), that whole area down there needs snow. If not, I guess it’s back to PLPP next weekend. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…

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6 Wendy December 14, 2015 at 8:38 am

Fair enough HDK, sometimes intent doesn’t come across all that well with email or text :). I just hope the poor little fellow doesn’t inadvertently get hurt or injured by a passing skier, that would be very sad.

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7 Ray P December 10, 2015 at 9:15 pm

I was watching for the grouse, but I never saw him. I figured maybe he had Thursday off. But I guess he works the afternoon shift.

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8 Stephen Vermeulen December 12, 2015 at 7:27 am

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered him before about 11:00, the few times I’ve met him were in the early afternoon.

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