Backcountry Christmas At Elk Lakes Hut

2011-12 Elk Lakes

Hello all,

I received the honor of writing the very first trip report for this year. We consisted of Steve, Kelly, Debbie, Jeff, John, David, Pat, Don, Marie and myself, Deb, and a surprise visitor to the hut Saturday evening. We all met at the Ribbon Creek hostel on Friday evening and had small visit before retiring for the night.

We woke about 7ish and from what I understand a wee bit late. All was good though with everyone being very efficient and ready to leave by about 8:30. When we got to staging area the wind was ferocious and I was really second guessing why I wanted to do this, but once we were in the trees and moving all was well. We met a group of girls on the path out who had stayed in the hut on Friday and told us they had nice but chilly evening.

We arrived intact at the hut in the early afternoon and had something to eat and some hot tea. Kelly and I chose to stay and keep the fire stoked and melt snow while the others skiied to Elk Lake.

When they got back we had our appetizers and all said they were much too full to eat any supper. I must make note here of the homemade crackers that Pat served to us… so good. To go along there were a couple different kinds of cheese, spicy jam, crackers and ham sausage. We waited for a fashionably late supper and it was fabulous, turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, coleslaw and two different kinds of cookies for dessert.

As we were relaxing with nice conversation, that’s when our surprise visitor showed up… Santa! I’m thinking he must be just practicing for the big event and saw the smoke from our fire and decided to stop in. Also thinking, he doesn’t go anywhere without a gift for everyone so we all got to open an early Christmas present. We had lots of laughs and if you really would like to know what we received, you’ll have to ask the people involved, I really don’t wish to spoil any good stories to be shared.

After cleaning up and a bit more visiting, bed was a welcome sight, such good food, fresh air, exercise and good company makes for a restful sleep. We had a couple of good souls who kept the fire stoked in the night so we were all cozy and warm. Many thanks again for that.

Sunday morning was overcast and snowing but not cold for our ski out. I sure couldn’t remember all the downhill coming in to cause all the uphill going out. We crossed paths with a large group of kids (ages approximately 9-12) and a few adults who were with the Canmore Cross Country Ski Group (I think). Anyway there must have been around 40 kids and they had so much energy and vitality it was good to see. They pushed off at the top of a hill and that was the last I saw of them. (side note: some of them were the lucky recipients of the rest of Kelly’s cookies). We took skins off here and the downhill part was great, now I know why I went on this trip.

I never fell and according to Don, then, wasn’t trying hard enough. Guess I’ll have to come back next year on this trip and try a little harder. We met at the parking lot and decided to meet up at Tim’s in Cochrane for final goodbye. All in all, very nice trip, thank you to all for such an enjoyable experience, would go with you all in again in a heartbeat.