Reflection Lakes Snow Camp

Reflection Lakes Snow Camp

We arrived at 8:30 to Longmire. We would pick up our overnight permit there with the rangers. Somebody in our party was to loan out a bear cannister. The idea was to have everything ready and ride to Narada Falls parking lot at 9:00. The time they open up the gates for the road to Paradise.

It was a short hike. When we saw the route we were kind of disappointed. After all we'd be driving for longer than we'd be hiking.

One night before, when we were packing we realized how grateful we were for its short length. With packs weighing 32 lbs and 41 lbs, snowshoeing over soft snow warmed up by March's sun with zero clouds; the short hike ended up being perfect and tiring.

We decided to camp on the north shores of Reflection Lakes. On the south side there is a road and the Wonderland Trail, which should've made for perfect camping spots. However one of the winter's magic is the ability to go wherever you want without disturbing plants/soil. We opted to camp on the northern shores; where untouched powder stretched as far as the eye can see.

As soon as we arrived, we proceeded to have lunch in order to set up camp. It turns out that setting up camp in the snow is a much more arduous task than it is during the summer.

I stomped a big square while Karla finished up her breakfast. That alone took me about 15-20 minutes.

Then we proceeded to put down our tent on the snow, dig 4 big holes for the 4 main/primary stake points. We didn't have snow stakes yet, so we did away with some makeshift ones: I brought a bunch of grocery store plastic bags; I filled them with snow, made the holes for them, buried them, and tied some paracord to the handles. That paracord was tied to the tent's 4 corners. It felt a bit finicky, but it worked.

The rest of the guylines were tied to regular stakes buried in a deadman fashion.

Sample of a deadman anchor

We stomped heavily over our anchors and tugged on the lines to test for strength until we were happy with the results.

Karla dug up a well on our vestibule. These serve two purposes:

  • Cold air sinks into it, keeping the tent a bit warmer.
  • It allows you to sit on your tent comfortably when you set to put up your boots!

She got a bit excited with the well and over-dug it. Later on she corrected by building a step that worked out great; while we left a shovel outside to serve as a handrail to step up.

After this we went on to build some emergency snow shelters. These can be handy if we ever end up being stranded and/or on unexpected bad weather when we're not prepared with overnight gear.

Snow Trench

We also built a little shelte on a tree well, but there's ni picture of that one.

We spent the afternoon walking. Heading towards Louise Lake, then back; and again with the whole group. There was something magical on the views close to the sunset.

We cooked dinner, ate it on the vestibule, and then played some cards inside the tent.

We were having a peaceful night until Karla mentioned how those forecasted wind gusts never arrived... They weren't too bad as we were sheltered with trees, but definitely got to hear them the second after she spoke up! :)

That day/morning it was overcast and we saw chances of rain and/or snow. The avalanche forecast was low on all mountain levels and aspects.

It took us about 1.5 hours to pack up camp and have breakfast. Melting snow for drinking water and cooking is incredibly time-consuming! I thought the white gas stove just was slow to heat, until I boiled water in the morning and it came to a boil VERY quickly. In average it took us about 20 minutes to melt 1L of water from snow.

It was a great overnight!