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


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.


Just Posted

Generals run away in third to win 5-2 over Ft. Sask

Lacombe looking for the four-game sweep in Ft. Sask on Sunday

Community invited to check out local Toastmasters’ group

New members are sought for the Club to continue past March

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr talks tourism opportunities at Chamber lunch

Stakeholders must take advantage of the Lacombe region’s many selling points

Alberta judge cleared in case where sex assault victim was shackled, jailed

Judicial council: Judge Raymond Bodnarek acted on Crown’s advice, tried to minimize victim’s hardship

Breton/Thorsby RCMP investigate theft of boat

RCMP say stolen jet boat and trailer valued at approximately $80,000

WATCH: Red Deer celebrates one year out from 2019 Canada Games

Community gathers at Great Chief Park to commemorate Games milestone

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Three-car pile-up on Northstar Drive and 58th Street

No injuries reported at Thursday afternoon incident

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

Team Canada’s Dave Duncan apologizes after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

Duncan, his wife Maja and Canadian technical coach William Raine detained by South Korean police

Sask. school shooter to be sentenced as adult

The man was just shy of his 18th birthday when he killed four people and injured seven others

Most Read