We finally got around to snowshoeing this popular hiker’s loop of about 7.5 km on a Thursday afternoon in mid January, the day warm and sunny, the meadows gleaming pale orange through my brown-tinted sunglasses.
From Paddy’s Flat campground access road we got onto Riverview (brand new red marker at the start) and enjoyed an easy climb up and along the sunny bank of the Elbow, the river running noisily below us in the deep shadow of the canyon. At the prayer flags viewpoint we turned inland, clinked across Hwy. 66 and climbed to the junction with Elbow Valley trail in a meadow. Turning right, we followed recent foot prints all the way back to our vehicle (alarmingly deep in places; thank God we had snowshoes) past a snowman and up and down hills to Moose Mountain Road where we hit the crux — an icy wall of snow pushed up on the east side of the road by a grader. In shade we zigged down to the little creek, then in sunlight climbed to the top of hill 592389.
Coming down from the hill, I was lagging behind Tony, taking pics of the sun setting behind the hills, when I noticed a woman’s padded red glove on a tree to my left, obviously put there by someone who had found it on or near the trail. Then looking to the right I saw bits of a red something poking up from under the last snowfall in the meadow. Going over there, I pulled out a red padded parka with a fur lined hood that in its wet bedraggled state looked like hair at first glance, a red fleece jacket with a full-length zip, a very large red infinity scarf and the matching glove. I hung them on a tree branch, the parka dripping water, then hurried off to catch up with Tony near the turnoff to Paddy’s Flat I told him of my curious find and before I knew it we were trogging back up in the blue of the dusk for a further look around. I think Tony was looking for a body (I’m told that when people become severely hypothermic they shed their clothes) but we found nothing more.
On the drive home we discussed the facts as we saw it: 1. One doesn’t just mislay a whole set of good quality outdoor clothing. 2. Apart from the fleece, the clothes were not the garb of a bona fide hiker or snowshoer. 3. Why leave the clothes lying on the ground when there are convenient trees nearby. 4. Why were they left there and why had no one come back to collect them?
A couple of days later we reported the find to a conservation officer, who told us that no one has been reported missing in K Country. So that’s good. But the mystery remains…