Jumpingpound Trail - Winter
Date Walked: 7th March 2012
Distance: 7.7 miles (12.5km)
Actual Ascent: 1377 ft (420m)
Time Taken: 4 hours
After 3 consecutive days of snow (and much driveway shovelling) it was nice to see the familiar blue skies return. With some areas in the mountains getting 4 feet of snow I opted to stay close to home for this hike. Just 20 miles down the Trans-Canada Highway is the Sibbald Creek Trail (highway 68) that offers a number of hiking opportunities along its length.
I opted for the Jumpingpound Trail because it doesn't have too much ascent for snow-shoeing. On arrival at the entrance to the day use parking area the barrier was closed, fortunately the snow ploughs had created a small lay-by adjacent and as this is such a quiet road I joined the one car that was already there and got myself ready to go.
the downside of starting from the road is the additional hike along the entrance route to the car park first, it was interesting to see the footprints of the person in front of me without snow shoes sinking at least up to the knee with each step. I couldn't help but think it must be damn hard going.
I soon reached the trailhead and followed the footprints into the trees, even though it was still -6 degrees as the sun shone down the snow fell from the branches in large lumps making 'flump' noises as it hit the floor (and occasional expletives when it hit my head or went down my neck)
I was glad that the hiker in front got there before me, as on a number of occasions the path gave choices that would have required 'stop and check' though I still don't see the joy of hiking in deep snow over a prolonged distance, its OK to cross a short section of deep stuff but when its 3to 4 feet everywhere it's no fun without snowshoes
after a while the trail climbs and follows along a ridge at the side of Jumpingpound Creek with views opening up across the foothills and the constant 'flump' of snow throughout the forest.
I took this shot for the strange shaped tree in the centre of the frame, seems the branch from an adjacent tree fell to the floor then curved upward to the light before finally sprouting a direct straight top, it looked really odd and will no doubt be self defeating in time.
all of a sudden I emerged from the trees back at the roadside, my 'lead' had given up on hiking the deep snow and made a long slow arc back to the road then walked along it back to the car....dammit!!. I retraced my steps to the creekside and set off 'trail-breaking' crossing a marshy area (not marshy today obviously) with bright red new growth on the shrubs poking out of the snow.
once back in the trees beside the creek the trail is obvious as it's the only clear run through the forest, the path repeatedly drops back down to the creek and up again so often I lose count
after a while I find myself in another open area covered in new growth, I can see the creek to my left and plough on blazing a trail across the expanse of shrubs and open land, it is quite enjoyable bursting through the deep drifts and I stride along taking in the views
I was enjoying myself so much I actually overshot the spot where I should turn right, once I noticed I made the turn up to the road and walked along in the tree line beside the road looking for the path on the opposite side that is shown on my map. I passed the point where it was supposed to be and struggled to pinpoint it even with gps. I stopped on a barred gate for lunch and a cup of tea where I could take a little time to check the map in greater detail.
apparently the path was across the road directly in front of me running left to right along the hillside, I opted for the direct assault on the hillside and sure enough I found the trail cutting through the birch trees
once back on track I'm soon ascending through the trees again where I scatter a large herd of deer who must have been distracted to allow me to get so close, the trees thin out toward the hilltop and the views open up again
there are some large areas of birch trees along this section and I make a mental note to visit here in autumn as I'm sure the display will be worth it
there are some open fire breaks that really collect the snow and it feels good to break a trail across these untrodden gaps though the weight of the snowshoes is starting to tell as I ascend/descend and reascend along the trail.....I can see now why this is not listed as a snowshoe trail!
sometimes the trail is difficult to see
sometimes its impossible, but the beauty of snowshoes is that they allow you to break a trail almost anywhere
at this open space I took the obvious route to the left and headed up the white slope there, only to get tangled up in dense woodland and have to return before heading down to the right and picking up a gap that looked more like a trail. One of the downsides of snowshoes is that they are useless when you want to hack your way through trees!
after a final ascent and descent through the forest I emerged onto the roadside just a few hundred yards from my truck where I was glad to remove the snowshoes at last.
I had a great day at Jumpingpound and felt I had 'paid my dues' in breaking the trail, after all I have hiked many trails broken by other poor souls before me.