Talk about being behind in writing! After summer ended, things got crazy busy with work, school and time with my boy. Now to Re-cap . . a few trips from summer 2017!
Summer was anything but dull. It was quite. . . unreal. It’s crazy to think that I grew up here and haven’t been around to many of these places I was fortunate enough to visit this summer. I’m not even sure where to start, it all happened so fast and now, its summer 2018! I had all these posts written out separately, and so much detail, but they’ve been lost 😥
The places I went this summer, blew my mind. The things I experienced, I’ve always watched other people do, and always said “I wish”. This time, I got to do them myself!
I started climbing back in January, 2017, just bouldering because I had not taken my belay test since, WAY back in 2009. It was definitely time for a refresher, and to find someone to go with! Luckily, in March, a friend and I signed up to take the course together and after that – we climbed indoors for a few months. As we climbed more, we met more people and therefore had more options of people to go with.
Honestly, I thought I would be climbing indoors for the first year, learning as much as I could, gaining better skills, becoming stronger, but that plan changed quickly. In July, 2017, I had a friend eager to get me on some rock. I am surprised, with how much I expressed the lack of confidence in myself – they had plenty! I can’t believe I let them convince me to climb the things and go the places I did this summer. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for a thing. That summer was a whole lot of things, exciting, full of experiences and lessons, full of fears, and tears, frustration, self doubt, cuts and bruises, smiles, laughs, gaining that confidence back, and memories. Here are some photos and stories of the many things I experienced.
CANADA DAY LONG WEEKEND July 2017
Bears Hump: We made it into Waterton and hiked up Bears Hump, where we hung out and chatted with other people at the top. A beautiful spot to look out. My friend wanted to get me climbing but I was not mentally ready or prepared to outdoor climb anything!
Cameron Lake: A nice winding road up to this lake, with a FULL parking lot. The Mountain across the lake, reminded me of Rawson Lake in a way. It was beautiful!
Red Rock Canyon:
This place was SO much fun. This was our last adventure spot for the day in Waterton. We started off by walking straight down into the Canyon. Sheer red, was all I saw and with the green trees and bushes – the colors were unreal. I was in absolute awe of this place.
As we kept on walking up through the canyon, the walls got higher.
There were a ton of people walking up and down the canyon and I was surprised at how many kids were as well. The water was FREEZING and I was doing my best to climb along the sides of the canyon walls. That didn’t end up lasting too long. We came across some people who told us there was a slide like rock and we had to check it out. Still trying to avoid the water, my friend then pulls me in and. . . that was that. I was literally frozen to the bone. It was again, so beautiful and fun. Eventually we ended up climbing up and out – one of the walls, in sandals.
Waterfall: I cannot for the life of me, remember the name of this waterfall, but it is right in Waterton. We decided to, on this hot scorching day, to grab a small pack of beer and sit down by the water and relax for a bit.
Waterton did not disappoint.
We had so much fun, we decided to meet up again the next day and head up the Ice fields parkway, to Jasper. Another place I had not yet been.
Surprisingly, up early and off to the Parkway. Stopping everywhere along the way. I cant remember the name of this lake, but sure was stunning and offered a completely still reflection in the early morning.
This lake is SO close to the highway, that you’d be crazy to NOT stop here. Everyone goes to the lookout, fenced off on the pathway, but we kept on for a few more minutes and came to have this spot to ourselves, with an even BETTER view. While we were up here, we met two women who were eager to get out hiking more. I believe they said this was one of their first hikes. We were so stoked to give them a list of places to check out on their way back to Calgary. I hope they had a chance to check some of them out.
Once we got to Jasper, I was surprised with my first outdoor rappel, and second climb over the fast moving river, beside a road where everyone could see, and it felt pretty exposed – being over the water. Not things that I am really a fan of, wind and water! But, I did it and was so stoked.
After that we came back down, and head over to Maligne lake. I was able to see a ton of Mountain Sheep and a Bear! For someone who lives in Alberta, I never see wild life.
NO! I absolutely did NOT get out of the car and I would hands down, tell someone to get back into their car and stop being SILLY! It was a quick drive by photo because I didn’t want to bother this guy.
I loved Jasper, it wasn’t over crowded and was nice and small. I cannot wait to go back for another weekend full of all sorts of adventures. I would love to Kayak the lake, camp along the lake, and hike the other side. At the end of our day in Jasper, we sat on the dock and enjoyed some beers while the sun went down over the mountains and the lake. I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things I wanted to do when I come back to this place.
Even along the Parkway highway, SO much to see, and even more to see. Two days was NOT even close to enough time up there.
Finally, another popular place crossed off the list. Man, this weekend was full of firsts! First time being to so many new places, and outdoor climbing! wow!
It really blows my mind every time I see a new lake in Alberta. The colors are unbelievable! They are so perfect, more than perfect! We rented a canoe for a few hours and paddled around. Found a nice spot to sit across the lake and enjoyed the sun, water and the views. A little wind down before we had to head back to reality for the work week.
REVELSTOKE July 2017
Revelstoke, you got my stoke up HIGH! What a place! Again, holy! HOW have I not been here before? *Shakes head*
We headed out on a Friday after work and I had no idea where we were going. As we drove out, we made a stop at Takakkaw Falls, as of course, I’ve never seen or heard of them before! I was taken away the second we curved around the road and they appeared in my site! The second largest falls in western Canada, and once I learned that they were climbable, I said in that moment – I will climb that one day! That was my climbing goal. Thinking it would be . . a year or two at least away as I had some major fears to overcome.
As we kept driving, we came through Golden, BC and that’s where I started to notice the smoke from the forest fires. The smoke from the fires covered the sun in such a way, making the sunset beautiful. Little did we know, that was only the start to the summer fires and the sun and sky were about to disappear for the summer.
We rolled into Revelstoke around dinner time and just in time to catch some local live music. Outdoors, local and live, I love music and that was a great evening of live music. We ended up getting dinner at this sweet little pub, and then explored some of the town. The sunsets in Revelstoke did not disappoint, but really – when does a sunset in the mountains ever disappoint?
Clearly I am a newb climber at this point because when I was told we were going to Water World, I was kind of…. expecting water slides. *shrugs shoulders* and from this day on, I questioned everything. haha, route names are the ODDEST but the best! And climbing lingo, and jokes? HA don’t even get me started.
We arrive on the side of the highway to – WATER WORLD! haha. It was a short hike in, which is always nice and there we were! On this cliff, straight down – the lake. We were lucky to catch up with some other groups who had just done a few of the routes around us and ask for some advice. We picked a route and we were off! *Note – I was told this route was a 5..8-5.9 and id be totally fine*
My first multi pitch was about to happen! I was starting to freak out. Its hot as HELL out here, and I have to climb with a pack because it has my water and I’m terrified of heat stroke, which happens easy to me. Again, I’m probably just making everything worse that it needs to be. We rap down, and then the last little bit down to the lake was a ladder. We climbed down that and decided to go swimming for a bit. We could see other people climbing as we looked back at the cliff, and the water cooled me off and loosened me up. It was go time.
My partner leads, of course and I start to freak out again. I cant – completely remember all of the climb, two or three pitches but I do remember being QUITE freaked out. It was soooo hot. I did make it to the top and I was exhausted! I was exhausted, scared, stressed, but also so happy, satisfied, and pumped up!
That was enough for one day and I was happy, happy it was done! haha. As soon as I came up over the edge, my partner says “oh hey, your first multi pitch was a 5.10! hahahaha”
After all my panicking and worry, I wanted to push him off the edge so badly, as he knew it from the start and tricked me! Trust was going out the window fast haha. After our climb, we headed out to find a nice spot to take a post climb dip. It was much needed on that scorcher of a day! In the evening, we sat by the lake, had some supper – thank goodness for Jetboil and mountain house meals, and chatted with an elderly couple from Reveltstoke. They had a lot of life advice for us and enjoyed hearing our stories as well.
Day 3 – The drive in
This trip really just had me dive into climbing outdoors.. tested me mentally and physically. I know some people might think I am silly and being a wuss but I don’t care. This was my first multi pitch and… third time climbing outside. My first time was a few quick rips up Sunshine slabs crag, and the second was that quick spot by the river in Jasper. Those were both quick evening climbs. This trip felt like a huge test and challenge. Water World was insane for me! What an experience!
On our next day, the smoke was rolling in and it was hard on the nose and the chest. We headed to the “Drive In” for some cragging before we hit the road back to reality… again. These trips have me questioning what I want my reality to be! haha, can I run away with my son and become a wilderness woman? Can we run away together?
When we got to the Crag, there was a group already there and we all started chatting right away. There was a girl leading her first route ever, there was another girl who was stuck on a route for ever but the support and encouragement of her friends, helped push her to the top. It was a really good vibe and they shared that with us. There was a route my partner was eyeing up and he told me to do it. I said absolutely not! Firstly, my body was so sore from the day before, as I am not used to this kind of work out an I was not going to be good enough for an 11! I just started climbing, I cant do that, you crazy?! BUT, everyone was encouraging me to go for it, so I did. Those people were so kind and provided beta the entire route. It was so helpful and again, I shocked myself. So many times when I just wanted to call it quits and thought I could just slip off easily and give up. Nope, I powered through and it was THE BEST feeling ever. My first 11 ever, and outdoors! who am I?
The other group ended up leaving, and we stayed for a little longer. There was a very interesting corner with a crack that had caught my eye, and I REALLY wanted to climb it. So my partner went first and gave me some tips on how to use the corner and the crack. Then it was my turn and at that moment, I think I fell in love with cracks and corners. haha. Corners in the gym were a favorite of mine, so I was stoked for it out here and I think this route, I repeated 3 or 4 times! what a way to end a weekend!
VALLEY VIEW – Cascade mtn July 2017
It was a quick rip out to Cascade mountain after work one evening. I think I left the office at 2:30 so we could head out and make use of the sun setting later. I was told that I needed to get a longer multi pitch in because there was a plan for an even longer one, two weeks after this. BUT noooooo, they were not going to tell me what it was just yet. We slogged our way up to the route and got ourselves ready to climb. I actually really enjoyed this climb and remained somewhat calm throughout the whole thing. It was a calm and cool evening, no wind, and I knew I could do it. I just needed to chill the hell out! I was even calm when we had to rap down in the dark. NOT a fan of even hiking in that dark. I am absolutely blind at night and already clumsy, so this had me a bit nervous. I kept telling myself that sure I could freak out at anything but what good would that do to me or my partner? I could do this, I could handle it and we had to come down one way or another. I wanted to climb, I wanted to do all of this. Because I can! We made it down and back to the car and I stopped in the middle of the road, pitch black and looked up at the perfectly clear sky. Stars, stars and more stars. What an afternoon and evening well spent.
A good climb and more experiences to add to the books.