Into the Wild Divide SOBO: Section C Part 1: 108 km
“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
August 25 – ZERO
Happy anniversary Dan! Chilling in Jasper…driving the Icefields Parkway…dinner at Great Divide Lodge. Very fitting.
August 26 – km 552 – 515 (37 km)
Today felt like a turning point in my hiker identity out here. We’ve been hiking for a while now, and I got fairly comfortable with this life right from the start – minus the snowy first three weeks. Having done a long thru-hike before definitely helped me feel strong, capable, and confident in my ability to do one again, albeit more rugged and challenging. But I have spent a lot of time out here being uptight and anxious…kind of expecting the worst case scenario to be creeping around the next switch-back. But today, something clicked; I feel at ease and at peace.
We’ve got this. Like, for real. Not a maybe, or a I-sure-hope-so, but a dang right! I know things can happen that are out of our control, and if God-forbid we were forced off the trail for some reason, I would bow out gracefully if need be. But as far as our commitment and desire to finish…it feels in the bag. We’re on day 85 (or somewhere around there) and we have less than three weeks to go.
So today, I relax my way up the thousand metre climb up Good Sir Pass – a bit of an oxymoron, but true in my circumstances. But in all honestly, I sweat my butt off on the climb, but I did so feeling strong and HAPPY.
We are both so thrilled to be out here, it almost hurts! The mountain air makes us feel alive and high on endorphins – we talk about our future, all bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed. All this time in the backcountry gives us so much clarity and renewed passion for life, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for this crazy duo!
We planned to camp on the pass, but the combination of no water in the dried up ponds, along with our keenness to hike today, we decide to press on. Strangely, we both feel overly energetic, so we decide to take advantage of the enthusiasm in our step.
We roll into Helmet Falls campground around 6:30, having completed 37 kilometres. There are people everywhere, and although we have always loved the solitude of the wild, we have also (more recently) grown to appreciate seeing people getting out here and truly seeing nature. Canada’s wilderness is our national treasure – let’s protect it, and experience it!
August 27 – km 515-478 (37 km)
We break camp early, as usual, and try to be quiet as not to disturb the 30-40 people asleep in their tents.
Another hot, sunny, gorgeous day on the GDT. We hike up and over several passes today, and before long, we’re sweaty! The sun is blazing, but it feels so good to be moving, even if I am melting. We see nobody before 10:00 in the morning, and then the hoards appear, hiking along one of Canada’s most popular Rocky Mountain hikes – The Rock Wall in Banff. It’s popular for good reason, boasting the most incredibly high mountains that tower in a neat, repetitive line…a literal wall of rock.
We are both stunned at how easy the walking is here. Last time though, pretty much exactly two months ago, most of this terrain was covered in snow. We made painfully slow progress in our snow-shoes, with the prospect of completely a yo-yo hike of e GDT feeling less and less attainable. We CRAWLED. That feels like eons ago! I’m so glad we persevered and kept heart, knowing that the snow couldn’t last all summer.
Eventually we find ourselves at Floe Lake, the most popular campsite on the trail. We don’t have a reservation because we’re off our schedule for this hike, and the campground is huge, but packed. So we press on, knowing it will be another big day.
The WILD BERRIES! I was dragging my paws through them all day, but especially this evening. They were a God-send, as it was getting late, I was getting hungry, and we don’t want a hangry Fox!! No no no! There were wild raspberries everywhere, and despite our best efforts to keep moving, we lagged. The blueberries were just the right amount of ripeness as well. I must have ate a heaping bowlful of berries. Delish!
August 28 – km 478-450 (28 km)
My tummy is all kind of rumbly this morning; I may have overdid it on the fruit yesterday. So. Worth. It.
Obviously that passed, and we’re good to go! We don’t plan to hike too far today, so we’re a lot more relaxed. Our breaks get a little longer, and we take more pictures and video than usual. I wish we could always hike this chill!
Our lunch is over an hour long, complete with coffee, and a swim for Dan in Haiduke Lake. He swears it wasn’t too cold, but my feet told me otherwise, so I sat this one out.
We camp roughly 6 kilometres shy of Sunshine Ski Resort, with the intention of hitting their restaurant in the morning for coffee, and staying for lunch as well. As we are settling into our cozy beds, two owls starts wooing around the tent in the twilight. They weave here and there, completely unconcerned with our presence, giving us a spectacular show. I am near tears. I can’t handle this beauty…these blessings…it’s so beautiful, I could die!
Thank you God…Mother Nature…animals of the forest and the air, for blessing me with your presence. I. Can’t. Even!