Trip Report – Snowshoeing above the Sea to Sky Gondola, January 26, 2018

Five with season passes needed to rent snowshoes and it was very fortuitous timing that pass-holders are entitled to 1 free snowshoe rental this month!

It had been exciting to see a Pacific Marten (Martes caurina, f. Martes americana ssp caurina, pine marten) in the Wonderland area the day before this outing and I’d followed the tracks to get a feel for his route. I was hoping that today we would find new tracks in the fresh snow – and we did! There was also evidence that a snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) had fled his predator with some giant leaps more than one metre apart. It looked to us that the hare had successfully escaped.

Questions arose:

  • Tracks were small for a snowshoe hare.
  • Stéphane Perron has seen some hares above the Gondola and they are brown, not white, in winter.
  • No other rabbit family species is known from this area/habitat/elevation.

Follow-up discoveries about snowshoe hares in North America:

  • Winter pelage of snowshoe hares in the Pacific Northwest tends to be brown where snow cover is not continuous throughout the winter.
  • Snowshoe hares are smallest in the Pacific Northwest compared to rest of their range.

For more details see e-Fauna and David Nagorsen’s research.

Carl spotted a small flock of birds which he was able to later confirm were likely kinglets. (Providing additional confirmation, two days earlier Golden-crowned Kinglets and Chestnut-backed Chickadees were spotted in the same general area by Kav, a Quest student.)

Thanks to the fun and lively participants: Family Rhonda, Steven and Tristan; first timer Peter Cooper; Carl and Leona

Judith

Photo above by Carl Halvorson: Tristan landing.