Mountain hikes hard work but worthwhile

Wow. It’s the first word that comes to mind after hiking over 14 kms, plus vertically for 4 kms, to find yourself standing on top

Wow.

It’s the first word that comes to mind after hiking over 14 kms, plus vertically for 4 kms, to find yourself standing on top of a mountain.

That was the situation I found myself in the other weekend, when my girlfriend Lisa and I decided to get out of the City for a day and take a hike in Kananaskis country.

We had done a similar trip a few years ago in mid-October and it had snowed the day of making for a very wet hike.

Luckily, we decided to do this one before the recent snow and the weather held up, so Lisa and I decided that we would try a longer one. After a brief look at some of the maps of the area, we opted to try a hike that we figured would take about five hours. We had the time, and the sunny skies promised not to drop any blizzards on us anytime in the immediate future.

Feeling well-prepared and excited for an adventure, we began our trek along the shore of beautiful Barrier Lake. We stopped at Jewel Bay to take some pictures of the gorgeous landscape and have a bite to eat, and then turned off the trail that led along the lakeshore onto another forested trail a little higher on the mountain.

I know I have written about mountain hikes before, and it might seem like I do them fairly often. Truth is, I do them almost never, which is why I find them worthwhile writing material when it does happen. I’m not a greenhorn but I’m not a real experienced hiker either, which is why I may have been a little unprepared for this particular expedition.

Lisa and I knew that there would be a bit of a steep climb on this trail. We knew we would be climbing some 4 kms or more vertically. What we failed to realize was just exactly how high 4 kms is and how steep the face of a mountain can be.

This part of the hike became very challenging and after about three or four hours of continually walking upwards, we were starting to tire. The hike wasn’t as much fun anymore, it was mostly just a lot of hard, aggravating work. Exhausted and hungry – we had not eaten anything substantial in about six hours – we began to get a little grumpy.

Then, after about five hours of relentless climbing, it all became worthwhile. I realized that I could no longer see trail up ahead of us, but instead, blue sky. Lisa reasoned that we must have – finally – ended the climbing part of the hike, and could start our descent and go home.

Coming out of the wooded part of the trail, we found that not only had we nearly reached the end of our climb but we were standing on top of a mountain, literally.

The view stretched out for miles. We could see the tiny parking lot where we had started our journey, and the entirety of Barrier Lake, we could see miniature cars on the highway and watched in wonder as birds flew below us.

There are no words to accurately describe that kind of beauty. Both Lisa and I found ourselves at a loss for words, something that doesn’t happen to either of us very often. I found myself repeating the phrases “I can’t believe it,” “It’s just incredible,” and, of course, “Wow,” over and over again, trying to take in the sheer awesomeness of what I was seeing.

After dozens of pictures, we began the descent of our hike and that was no picnic either. As we had been warned, the trail was even steeper here than it had been on the way up. Finally, after more than seven hours of hiking, we made it back to my car. We were absolutely exhausted and a little grumpy again after the long and challenging hike down. But, all in all, it had been a great day. It’s an experience that everyone should have at least once. If you haven’t done it yet, get to it.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

Photo Courtesy: Echo Lacombe Association logo.
Lacombe City Council supports Echo Lacombe with location for pilot program

Echo Lacombe Association will run a pilot propgram on food rescue until November, 1, 2021

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday June 12th, 2021

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Most Read