Or, "How To End Up Exhausted, Embarrassed And Frightened". The latter is what happened to me the other day. It was our own fault too. We'd both heard a lot about the Hollyburn Summit trail and decided to do it on Wednesday. We thought, based on the map and what the ticket seller said, that we'd have lots of time to do the trail and get back to the parking lot before the snowshoe trails closed for the day, some four hours after we arrived.
By the time we got to the top - and the last parts of the trail were "out of bounds" but a well marked access trail, which was incredibly steep and icy, it was probably after three thirty. I for one was tired enough by that point that I really didn't care that we'd made it to the top, but the view was absolutely incredible all around.
The problem was at that point, it was going to be getting dark very soon - the sky was already starting to change to sunset colours and we had to get down again. Thankfully, we made it through the worst part before the light really started to go, and all the way to the first of the two warming huts before we had to break out the flashlights.
Yes, we went prepared. Each of us always takes a pack with us when we go hiking or anything like that these days (most definitely for when we go snowshoeing). Flashlights, headlamps, snacks, water, dry socks and gloves etc, as well as any other useful things we think of. Going to add rope to the kit soon too. We always hope that we won't need any of the stuff we're carrying (other than snacks and water of course, which are nice when taking a break), but it's a good idea to have it.
And this last trip proved that to me very well. I am never going to go without at least a flashlight, and preferably, the full pack I've been taking with me lately.
Anyway, by the time we'd made it back to the regular snowshoe trails, I was into the state where I was just putting one foot in front of the other. At one point, when I dropped the lens-cover for my camera, I could hardly stand up again after I crouched to pick it up. Getting out of the car again, when we got home was pretty painful too.
But, it really does pay to go prepared, no matter how ridiculous it can seem, just in case. It's a habit I'm going to keep for sure - and probably keep adding more things to my kit too.