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2024-05-13 at 08:34 - comment by aqua toque

Haha. The skier in those pics is my ex-wife wearing the Bolivian yak herder toque she had at the time.

I've been aqua toque since I was 3.

2024-05-12 at 21:11 - comment by Mike W

aqua toque - Fantastic photos! I take it that purple was the most fashionable colour back then. When did your aqua makeover happen?

2024-05-12 at 14:32 - comment by HenryL

Great back country trip Mike.

I'm glad that I didn't encounter those footprints.

What scares me about the 320.035 badger count is the .035. Those are the bodyless vampires that go almost undetected.

2024-05-12 at 13:39 - comment by aqua toque

The advances being made in badger detection technology these days are encouraging. In the not too distant future watch for wearable badger meters. Much like avalanche transceivers they will soon be standard personal equipment in the backcountry. Demand will most likely exceed that of avalanche airbags (which look funny when deployed).

Mike, your trip report inspired me to search back in the archives for pics of a dirtbag backcountry skier thing my (then) wife and I did into the Bryant Creek shed…pardon me…the Bryant Creek Shelter…(did I say shed?)

It was way back in Feb '05. Those were happier times (before the invasion of the owl people). From the shelter we did a day trip to Owl Lake then over Marvel Pass then down to Marvel Lake and back to base.

If I may be so bold I would like to use the comments section of your TR to share some memories from that day...

The shelter was resplendent back then!

On the route to Owl Lake. Oh indeed, there were tribulations but as I recall none that were cause for a dramatic narrative poem.

Approaching Owl Lake.

Beyond and high above Owl Lake we got this awesome view of Wonder Pass.

Then dropped down to Marvel Pass and the far end of Marvel Lake with a rather large mountain for a backdrop.

Marvel Lake. Yeah, it's long and flat.

2024-05-12 at 08:50 - comment by SkierRoger

Thanks for an entertaining read on this sunny Sunday morning, Mike. Your transportation to the “ancient land of giant predators” caught my attention and I have it on my list for next season.

Glad to hear you made it out of there alive!

2024-05-11 at 14:22 - comment by Mike W

aqua toque - If I had been delirious, how do you explain the snow prints!? I consider myself fortunate that I didn't run into any Owl People. I don't know if I could have handled seeing them turn their heads 180° around!

We've all heard about wildlife cams attached to trees. But I've never seen a badger meter before. It was attached to a shed at Owl Lake. In case you can't see the detail in the photo, it had detected 302.035 badgers so far!

2024-05-11 at 09:23 - comment by aqua toque

Mike, you were clearly quite delerious...eloquent yet delerious.

And Good God man, were you not aware that there are OWL PEOPLE in there as well?!

cabin, Cabin, CABIN! (Part 2)

Report Submitted by Mike W
(trip) Date: Sunday Apr 28, 2024

Submitted: Saturday May 11, 2024 at 01:45


Me on my Sporten Explorer 64 "Cabin" Edition skin skis


After lunch, I skied the Marvel Lake loop, not suspecting what trials awaited me later that afternoon. The trail was easy to follow through the dense trees. Despite there being no ski tracks to follow in, the snow was surprisingly firm, sinking in only to boot top at most. Unfortunately, the sky had completed clouded over, making the view of Marvel Lake somewhat less than marvelous.

Total distance: 40.40 Km

Trail to Marvel Lake

Marvel Lake

On my way back I stopped at the Owl Lake trail junction, wondering whether I should ski to Owl Lake and back or head straight to the car. It was already well into the afternoon, it had started to snow, and Owl Lake was 7km return with about 200m of climbing. Based on my ski to Marvel Lake, I figured it would take about 1.5 hours. So off I went, blissfully ignorant of the life-changing experience I was about to endure.

Owl Lake Trail junction

The snow was much softer than the Marvel Lake trail, and soon I was breaking trail about 15cm deep. The wind picked up and it snowed harder. I did my best to follow the trail, but was unsuccessful. The trees were neither so dense that there's nowhere to go except on the trail, nor so sparse that there's no need to follow a trail. I kept getting dead-ended by dense trees or convoluted terrain. The snow turned into a blizzard. I felt a huge weariness take hold of me and I was transported to an ancient land of giant predators:

Midway upon the journey of our day
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.

So bitter is it, death is little more;
But of the good to treat, which there I found,
Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
So full was I of slumber at the moment
In which I had abandoned the true way.

And lo! almost where the ascent began,
A MONSTROUS BADGER light and swift exceedingly,
Which with a spotted skin was covered o'er!

And never moved she from before my face,
Nay, rather did impede so much my way,
That many times I to return had turned.

The hour of time, and the delicious season;
But not so much, that did not give me fear
A VELOCIRAPTOR's aspect which appeared to me.

He seemed as if against me he were coming
With head uplifted, and with ravenous hunger,
So that it seemed the air was afraid of him;

After what seemed like many hours, I arrived at Owl Lake, barely visible in the continuing storm.

Owl Lake

I convinced myself that it was just a dream, but as I returned to the Bryant Creek trail I found evidence that my nightmare had been all too real:

Track of the dreaded Taxidea Taxus Horribilis, the long extinct Giant Badger


I quickened my pace to get as far away from that hellish place and back to the Bryant Creek trail which I followed without further incident back to the car. Dear Reader, should you ignore my warning to stay well away from the Owl Lake trail, then "abandon all hope, ye who enter here"!

The route, except for the Watridge Lake trail beyond the right edge of the map

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