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With the blockade no longer in effect, I proceeded and engaged him at close quarters.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.
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? ?
That’s the time I was there. I expect that was you in the photo. -Bob
Sorry we missed the chance to meet you! Another time, I’m sure!
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.
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 ?
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…
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.
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.
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.