When winter comes and snow blankets the high country, we head up into the hills and Lodgepole Lake is good spot for a day of snowshoeing. In the Kamloops area we have to drive high enough to find enough snow to make it worthwhile, but the roads to the higher areas have to be plowed and there has to be somewhere to park. The third requirement is some open space to stomp in a trail. The Chuwhels Mountain Road is kept open and there is parking at the Lodgepole Lake Recreation Site. From the start, there are usually some tracks already started. We usually follow the main road west, then we veer over onto an open pond continuing southwest toward Melba Lake.
The forest can be thick and difficult at this elevation so we use the ponds and creeks as corridors.
From the ponds and lakes we look for a route up through replanted cutclocks. In a decade these will grow in as the trees mature.
There are a number of OHV (summer motorcycle) trails in the area too, and we can follow these although the actual single tracks are hidden by the snow.
The more recently harvested-replanted cutblocks have smaller trees offering open views of the hills and the skies above.
The route goes southwest and the low winter sun is a welcome sight.
Since we have been in this area many times, we know how to connect ponds to spur roads. We use open cutblocks as traverses where we can, but at times we have to wind through the forest or over creeks. There was some open water on Walloper Creek.
Much of the route back to the start is provided by two spur roads. There are some flagged short routes near Lodgepole Lake for a short snowshoeing day. Our longer (9km) loop would be harder to follow after a deep snowfall, but we have stomped it in (10 people in a line) quite well for anyone who wants to try it.
By combining stomped-in tracks, spur roads, ponds, creeks, and cutblock traverses, the Lodgepole Lake area provides a lot of terrain for backwoods snowshoeing.
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