Snowshoe to Skoki

The holidays were getting close and to celebrate the run up to Christmas myself and a friend decided to snowshoe out to Skoki lodge. It is about 11 km to the lodge and because neither one of us are skilled in the skiing department we thought it best to stick with the shoes. After an early start, a bus to Lake Louise, a gondola up and a ski lift down we were ready to rock n roll! After five minutes I was already dreaming of the roaring fire I would be sitting in front of in around 5 hours time! The forecast was for snow and the skies were cloudy but after an hour or so the clouds gave way to clear skies.

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We decided not to venture over to the Halfway Hut but kept on going, scheduling another break for when we reached Boulder Pass. As it was the first day of the lodge opening we were the first people out so were cutting the trail ourselves. Until the supply snowmobile arrived and went ahead, giving us a nice flat surface to follow from Boulder Pass onwards.

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After Boulder Pass we reached a long flat section of trail, Ptarmigan Lake. This section lasted what seemed forever as the white stretched out for what seemed miles. We were headed for Deception Pass which runs in between the two mountains to the left in the photograph above. I have no concept of how long it took us to get through this pass, I only remember relief when the top was reached and it was downhill 4 km to the lodge!

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The top of Deception Pass! It was all plain sailing from here! After an amazing walk downhill surrounded by the most beautiful scenery and perfect white snow stretching as far as we could see, we stumbled across the lodge. Built in the 1930s as one of the country’s first commercial ski lodges, Skoki has no running water or electricity. But it was still warm and luxurious after a 5 hour hike.

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Once inside we were treated to an delicious spread of cheese, crackers, muffins and soup, all home made! There was also a constant supply of hot tea and coffee on the old style stove.

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It really was like we had stepped into a fairytale and was very relaxing being away from the modern world.

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Guests enjoy the fire and Lucy the dog enjoys one of the many comfy sofas littered with comfy pillows and blankets. As darkness closed in the candles and lamps were lit and really gave an old world atmosphere.

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When it was time for dinner, I was not disappointed. Everything in the lodge is home made and we enjoyed delicious lamb chops, with fresh baked bread and marinated vegetables. Breakfast didn’t disappoint either, cheese scones, bacon wrapped baked eggs and cranberry porridge! Lunch was a do-it-yourself spread of thick cut meats, cheese, sliced bread, baked goods and trail mix.

Leaving the lodge to facecloth the cold and the dreaded Deception Pass was something I wasn’t looking forward to at this point. But the time came and we were off again. It had been snowing the entire evening which meant that every bit of trail we had cut the day before had been completely covered by a good few inches of fresh powdery snow, which made for a bit of a tougher trek. The 4 km downhill the day before were now uphill and the true meaning of Deception Pass became apparent. Every time we though we were at the top, which was often, we still had quite a distance to go.

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Trudging up, the scenery was breath taking, a blanket of white as far as the eye could see but finally we made it to the top and ate our sandwiches.

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Finally we came upon Boulder Pass once more and could see the ski lift! In the middle of the photograph below, the straight lines cuts in amongst the trees, that’s where we were headed!

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And we made it in an impressive four hours and something- neither one of us had any inclination of time which gave such a feeling of freedom. But we knew we had to get back before the ski lift closed and we did. And that was Skoki, a lovely two days in a lovely place. I thoroughly recommend paying a visit, on skis if you can as you’ll get there much quicker but don’t forget to stop and take in the surrounding scenery. Beautiful.

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