Local Motion - New Brunswick

Welcome to Local Motion where we celebrate hiking, biking, camping, paddling, skiing, and exploring in Southern New Brunswick.

December 24, 2008

The Not so Hidden Valley.

In to the Hidden Valley twice more this week. I love showing it off to new people. Each time I get to relive my surprise when I first saw that mountainous rock and ice.

Saturday, December 20th.
With enough snow for traction the Connelly's and I were able to get deeper into the 3rd Side valley. Micheal found an iced up waterfall on the left branch above the cascades that I had never seen before. The waterfall was alive underneath its white icy skin. We stopped there to munch on our Christmas cookie ration and soak in that big old forest.

A trip to the Hidden Valley wouldn't be complete without a scramble up the 1st side valley. We walked up the drive stream bed and Bill lead us up some terrifying steep ice through the gully. The ice on the stream was just thin enough to kick foot holds into which was good, but then water started shooting out. The Hanging Pillar was there. But Bill was the only one wiry enough to scramble up to it's base.

Tuesday, December 24th.
By the time I returned with Joanna, Andrew, and my brother Peter, the snow was deep enough to ski in. Despite being Early in the morning on a holiday, spirits were high on the long uphill into the valley. We gave our attention to the 1st Side Valley (behind the Cabin) and worked our way up the somewhat dry river bed. At times up to our thighs in snow, we continued up the increasingly narrow stream valley. As we approached the cliffs we found a giant conical pile of snow that must have been funnelled down a rock chute. Like a miny avalanche! I swam my way through it unable to touch the stream bed below.

We continued up the streep rock passage listening to the water trickle below the ice. Up to our left hung the 15 foot ice Pillar. It must have been as big around as a barrell. We continued up on the iced stream bed until we found ourself in a narrow rock canyon. On one side 30 feet of thick white ice tumbled down into deep piled snow.

In here all sounds Stopped! All that remained was the electric hum of rushing blood and falling snow. It was a surprising juxtaposition to find myself between rock and ice. The permanence of rock, the transience of ice, and me in the middle. Yet we all grow and break down.
We slid back down the gullies on the frozen brook, laughing after leaps of faith that left us intact. Our early start was perfect. As we skied back to the car the snow began sticking like burdocks.

I'm glad the Hidden Valley is a little less hidden after this week. So much land like this to explore near Sussex. I've got some ideas about where to find the next hidden valley.

December 9, 2008

Pow' Days In November

Woke up this morning to P p p Powder! How is this possible it's only late November! I wolf down some breakfast, listen to CBC Radio's "Go", and dig around for my skis and boots which haven't been used since last March. The snow is falling fast and light. I decide to take over the snowy roads and head directly to a steep valley I know well from tobagganing.

Spending the last 4 months out West I heard talk upon talk of their premium white gold. BC'ers are addicted to their Powder. But from what I can tell I'm getting to enjoy the snow before they do this Season.

The snow is billowing around my knees as I cut through a big field on my way to the valley. It's a funny consistancy- weightless yet thick enough to keep me off the ground. I reach the trees and am suddenly in a twirling vortex of snow flakes. The blanketed spruce trees sag under the weight of snow.

I reach the valley from the top, look down at the creek, and let out a yell that echoes back at me. Hills always look steeper from the top. Which leads me to thinking "Should I go down this?" I laugh, thinking " Yes! If it's steep enough to make me think twice - then that's why I'm here!" Cross country skis are perfect for this landscape, light and fast for going miles plus 'exciting' on hills.

I kick off and immediatly start picking up uncontrollable speed on my old wooden skis. Careening through tufts of last summer's grass and hidden bumps I somehow to make it to the bottom. My heads buzzing and I'm laughing while my echo Woops around the steep valley.

I ride the hill two more times. Savouring the how the white rush in my head is so similar to the endless white hum of the falling snow. I can't believe I'm the only one out here. But I guess with so many hidden valleys and wooded hills to explore what are the chances of crossing paths?