First backcountry ski of the season | Fog below

Hollyburn Ridge Raven

Hollyburn Ridge Raven,
originally uploaded by Robert Ballantyne.

We played hooky on Friday, took our skis, and headed for Hollyburn Ridge. It is very early in the season and because there is not a thick snowpack the small trees are still visible or have formed hard-to-ski bumps.

Vancouver and the whole Salish Sea was lost in cold damp blanket of fog. Because of an inversion, up on Hollyburn Ridge above 300 metres it was a mild sunny day. Here, we were sitting on the 1st bench above the nordic runs. I didn’t have a camera… this picture of a raven recycling an apple core was sent to me by Diane & Tormod.


3 Responses to “First backcountry ski of the season | Fog below”

  1. 1 Taffy February 8, 2009 at 4:49 am

    Hi Robert
    Looking at your friend’s wonderful picture of that Raven high above Vancouver, it reminds me of a very similar scene looking down on Llyn Tegid a few days ago, when there was a magnificent inversion running all the way up the valley from Llanuwchllyn to Corwen. Like you on that occasion I did not have my camera, but standing there in the snow up on the Berwyn and looking down the mountain through the pine forest to the inversion hanging over Llyn Tegid, it could almost be the same place! A friend came to stay with us a few years back and said that Snowdonia looks like Canada on a small scale. We are both so lucky to live in such beautiful country.

  2. 2 Robert February 10, 2009 at 5:51 am

    Hi Taffy. I’m glad you are blogging again — I enjoyed your recent entries.

    On Sunday one of those ravens arrived hoping for a crumb to eat.

    Suddenly the cell phone in my pack rang. (Actually, I don’t own a cell, but my wife handed me hers in case she might think of some errands for me. Reception was poor up there, and I was unable to make a connection. But it did burble. We have never installed cute ringtones, so it was the standard cell burble…) While I was fishing in my pack for this wretched machine, I heard this strange clicking-purring sound. I looked around, and the raven, who was only a couple of meters away, was facing me and producing the sound. His feathers were all fluffed out, his crest was up, and with each guttural purr he’d dip his head and raise his wings. He hopped all around us repeating this performance. My companion said that he was imitating the cell phone. His phrasing had the same rhythm and duration as the phone, but at a much lower pitch.

  3. 3 Taffy February 10, 2009 at 6:58 am

    The winged ones are just so amazing. I was up in the forest and stopped for a brew. A buzzard, our welsh eagles,landed on a fir heavy with snow, not more than 50 yards away. He had a rodent of some sort which he had brought for lunch. All the time I cooked up my ramen noodles and my green tea, this fellow tucked into his lunch and only when I shouldered my back did he fly away. Sometimes I am in the forest and the buzzards are flying above the tops of the canopy. They call with their eagle like whistle and I call back to them, my imitating them. They always call back and sometimes will follow me as I walk. The winged ones certainly are special.

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