I have a huge backlog of posts that I’m writing or at least have written notes for, and it’s hard to find the time that I want to devote to them to tell the story of the trip, to find the right photos, to create something I can re-read in years to come and remember that time. I find it especially frustrating when I’ve just got back from an amazing trip which I want to share and I just don’t have the energy to turn my thoughts into words.
So I’m shamelessly stealing/borrowing the Ultimate Coffee Date idea from Farrah over at fairyburger.com to allow me to dump some of my post-trip enthusiasm (or not) into a short post that summarizes where we are and what we’ve been up to over the last month or so. I’ll also set myself a time limit on writing these posts of one hour so I don’t make them too long, and I don’t spend too much time trying to make them perfect.
Welcome to the first edition of Being Outdoors!
If we were being outdoors today, I’d tell you all about our week-long trip to the South Chilcotins. And I could probably spend a week talking your ears off about it too! We had an absolutely incredible experience, taking a helicopter to a remote valley (that picked us up again a week later), and spending the next seven nights out in the backcountry of Big Creek Provincial Park. We explored the upper reaches of several valleys that came together in relatively gentle passes; we hiked through huge meadows brimming with wildflowers, with carpets of red paintbrush, yellow arnica, blue lupine, and pink willowherb; we had the wits scared out of us as nearby grouse and ptarmigan took off in an explosion of feathers; we stood with our mouths open at the jaw-dropping views from peaks; we waded frigid, glacier-fed creeks; we fended off hordes of hungry horse flies; we relished washing our feet and faces in mountain streams; we struggled through forest filled with fallen trees, through pathless willows and birch, over boot-sucking swamps, and somehow emerged with smiles on our faces. Most importantly we spent time just being, outdoors.
But best of all, we saw a mother grizzly bear and her two cubs from a very safe distance.
If we were being outdoors today, I’d also tell you all about our trip to the Egypt Lake area in Banff National Park back in July. Remember July? We hiked 100 km in 6 days over stunning mountain passes, took in many gorgeous lakes, and saw a ridiculous amount of flowers. (See my post on Instagram for an idea of the amount of paintbrush.) The scenery was mind-blowing, as it always is in the Rockies. Alas, we were also set upon by untold numbers of hungry mosquitoes. I don’t use bug spray (I really dislike the stuff) so I rely on a bug shirt or other jacket to protect myself. However, it was too hot to wear an extra layer most of the time, which meant I came home with dozens of itchy bites. Thankfully they only itch for 2-3 days and then I can forget I was ever a pincushion! Unlike our South Chilcotins trip, we saw a grand total of zero bears, though we did see some herds of elk near Lake Minnewanka.
If we were being outdoors today, I’d also tell you that I’m not ready for summer to be over. We had a long, cold spring here in Vancouver, and it was only in mid-July that the weather warmed up enough to feel like summer. As much as I like living here, six weeks of fine weather is just not acceptable! :-) During that time we did make it to Vancouver Island twice to spend some time relaxing. We have another trip to the Rockies coming up this month and we’re really looking forward to it – we’re returning to Lake O’Hara and I can’t wait. Maybe the larches will have started turning yellow? That would be a treat.
If we were being outdoors today, I’d also tell you that I’ve probably eaten too much ice cream this year. But – hey – you have to make the most of ice cream weather, right? Plus I have been cycling up the hill to UBC twice a week to work it off…
If we were being outdoors today, I suppose I’d tell you about our hike to Mount Elsay, which I just hit “Publish” on last week. That was an ordeal that simply couldn’t wait: the day after the hike I just had to spill the thoughts out of my head onto the page before the memories faded away. You know how the passage of time makes you forget how hard something was? Well I didn’t want to forget that! I had to get it written while I still “felt” the hike. Go check it out and see if the hike still appeals to you. Somewhere deep inside me is a desire to do it again – it’s very rare I finish a hike and never want to repeat it – but not for a while yet. In the meantime, you can find a much sunnier and more enthusiastic write-up of this hike on my friend Josy’s blog.
That about sums up the past few weeks from our end. Hope you all have a great September, and I’ll see you again in a month!