Combining forces with Great Divide Nature Tours our guests were met at the parking lot Monday morning by Joel Hagen, an incredibly knowledgeable and engaging individual, before starting their trek into the lodge. While trekking into the lodge they took advantage of the accessibility snowshoes provides for exploring the lesser known places; canyons, meadows hidden lakes all while catching Joel’s infectious enthusiasm for the intricacies of snow, creatures of the winter and life in the mountains in general.

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Coffee in front of the roaring fire or sitting on the couch at the picture window, the morning at O’Hara starts in a very civilized manner.

After a breakfast of fresh muffins, granola and our Chefs hot creation of the day lunches were packed and thermoses of tea loaded into our packs we headed up to Odaray plateau. During the summer months this area is off limits to the public as it has been designated as a Wildlife corridor. In the winter however, it is ours to explore. On the plateau vistas unfold, all while tramping through what seems like a silent cathedral with Buttresses of larch trees framing the view to the peaks around. As we moved through the forest gaining elevation the sound of a bird would stop Joel, and give others a chance to catch their breath, while he expounded the super heros which inhabit the area. Did you know that their are birds which have an enlarged hippocampus during the winter months to help them remember where they hid food during the summer, No Alzheimer for them ! How about the fact that all White Bark pines are completely dependent on the Clark’s Nutcraker to propagate their seeds be burying them in the best locations and at the the perfect germination depth of one beak! I think Joel could go on for ever, however we move on and climb up to Odaray Propsect, originally one of the 4 “Grandviews” at O’Hara. This was the favourite haunt of legendary O’Hara visitor Tommy Link and with a little sleuthing I uncover the memorial plaque placed here in recognition of his trail building and mapping skills. Rumour has it that the prospect was one of his favourite places to go and ponder all while stripped down starkers in the sun.

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With strong winds sculpting the snow into waves we don’t dwell long instead we take a meandering route at treeline through short cliff bands to a secluded grotto amongst the trees where we can enjoy our packed lunches and more tales from Joel. It is a great group to spend the day out on the trails with; interesting, funny and all accompanied by a plethora of stories and tales of their life; some taller than others. As we descend back towards the lodge we move through McArthur pass and a head into the “Tunnel of Love”, a secret rock grotto.

After an invigorating day out some people relax in front of the fire while noshing on Apres Ski goodies, while others head for the sauna and a cold beer and an optional roll in the snow. Another great meal from our Chef Henry and post dinner informal chat about Olympics, Retirement and “What would you go back to school for if you had the opportunity ?” rounded out the evening.

It was a great couple of days sharing meals, stories and snowshoeing. Join us next winter to experience the Magic of O’Hara!