I joined our hiking group for an aggressive hike today.  Well aggressive because it did require 200 meters of vertical climbing.  In the first 2 hours we climbed the equivalent of a 70 story building.  More than a bit of a puff.

Still what made this hike memorable was the weather conditions.  In the last couple of days a high pressure system came in bringing frigid weather from the north.  Crystal blue skies but when we started the hike -6 C.  We started in Cumberland and took the Perseverance trail up a high ridge which runs parallel to the Buggered Pig trail (you got to love the trail blazers that get to name them).  Cool but with the sunshine and no wind very  acceptable.

This is not your government maintained flat trail that you could push your Grandma up in a wheelchair, they are stream beds with loose rocks and roots.  After 40 minutes we came upon a century old logging road that we climbed for another hour.  But on this road I observed remarkable features.  Unlike the forest around that was still green, alongside the road the plants were flash frozen.  Earl, our experienced guide, told us this is a phenomena where super cooled air from high up on the mountain rolls down the road or valley flash freezing everything it touches

If you watched the movie Day After Tomorrow with Dennis Quaid  they tried to represent this condition with people frozen like statues.

So I took lots of pictures.  See Pic 1 of  some plants.  10 feet behind it in the woods the plants were still green and lush.

Then there was the Hoar Frost (see pic 2)  These are needle like angel hair, ice crystals. Zoom in on the picture to see the details.   I had seen this before but in small patches but nothing like this.  We hiked uphill through this stuff for an hour crunching away.  It seemed a sacrilege to destroy them.  I am not sure the picture does justice to the beauty of these crystals.  Eventually, as it warmed up they suddenly disappeared.

We turned off the road and skidded down a slope on a narrow Earl trail (believe me much more difficult than it sounds) to a viewpoint 600 feet overlooking Comox Lake the normal objective of this particular hike.  (see pic 3)

At any other time of the year this would have just been an exhausting hike with a nice view but the frozen features made it a special day.

Flash Frozen Hoar Frost IMG_1102