October 22, 2012 | Tips from Travellers >
Mount Washington Alpine Resort, Hiking
Find more information about Mount Washington Alpine Resort - Hiking
Mt. Washington, located on Vancouver Island, is renowned for fantastic skiing in the winter and remarkable hiking in the summer. But when we arrived in late October, it became immediately apparent that this was neither season.
As we left our car, a gust of bitterly cold wind sliced through my sweater. A skiff of snow covered the leaves, as if all the world had been dusted with icing sugar. The red leaves and golden grasses had now been dressed in a ghostly lace of frost. We set out along the trails of Paradise Meadows and saw very few people. The two or three hikers we passed were well bundled in rain gear, and kitted out with scarves, gloves, and bright red noses.
The temperature started cold, then warmed, then snow billowed around us, then the sun burned through the clouds and warmed our faces. The weather lurched from one extreme to another. We felt like we were standing on the middle of a teeter-totter, with one end in August and the other in December.
It was silent and beautiful. During summer and winter, the mountain can feel crowded with skiiers and hikers, but autumn provides a time for quiet reflection, when we can peer into the icy pools and admire the last crimson leaves. This season of transition reminds us of change, and you can almost feel the icy breath of Winter on your neck, creeping closer. When we stopped on the trail to take some footage, a chipmunk scurried up to my boot, placed its paws brazenly on my toes, and looked at me with suspicion. Why are you here, it seemed to say, when you could be home with a cup of hot chocolate in hand?
The answer is simple: I wouldn't want to miss this! The dramatic greys and silvers, the brooding forest, the eccentric shifts in the weather, all provide a breathtaking way to welcome the change of seasons.