Hiking in Prince George in November has never been considered “Shoulder Season”, but with the changing climate, the conditions for venturing up to Viking Ridge couldn’t have been better.
The sun was just peaking through the canopy of the magnificent Tree Giants found in this interior rain forest, providing us with enough light to start early. There wasn’t much snow to begin with, and then we reached the distinct point where we knew the trail was about to change.
The snow began to deepen as we reached Caribou Meadows. Looking up towards the ridge, the sun greeted us and began to burn off the dense fog. It was peaceful. The recent snowfall proved to us we were the only ones on the adventure that morning with no fresh tracks to be found beyond those created by area wildlife.
Crossing the meadow, we started to get a better view of the real adventure we were about to have. We reached the creek crossing, and doing so with 4 feet of snow on each side posed to have its own fun challenge as to not soak our boots into the ice cold water.
It was at this point, the uphill became more challenging. We start our ascent towards the ridge line, stopping in at snow covered frozen lake to take in the surreal beauty Mother Nature was providing us with that day.
How truly lucky we are to have something so wondrous in our own back yard.
Up we go. No tracks in sight to see the best line to take. It was one step forward and three feet of sinking every other step. The wind on the ridge was noticeably increasing. We are getting above the clouds and can look back and see how far we have come. Our bodies begin to feel the wear of trudging through thick snow, but every foot up meant another foot closer to the almighty ridge.
As we make the final approach to the top, we are fully above the clouds with the sun shining on us. The clouds look like a blanket covering the Earth. Distant mountain ranges can be seen. The meadows we were once standing in looking up are behind us. And then, we see the tell tale sign that we have made it to Viking Ridge – the first Inukshuk of those who have been here before us.