Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ups and Downs, Fears and Summits. . .

 A few weeks ago, we attempted this hike, but stopped about 20 minutes from the summit, when my fear of heights smashed me into a crying jag. We snuck up on the summit from a different route this time, a slightly longer route but one that bypassed a scary-to-me rocky outcropping I didn't want to climb again. May I admit how pleased I was to conquer this yesterday?
 Here's my man, horrifying me by standing too close to the edge (he's right, it doesn't actually drop off into infinity, but it feels like that to me. . .

 What stunning, stunning views, just a two-hour (tough!!) climb from the base, just three hours from our home (bike ride, boat ride, car ride. . . .)
 An elevation of 3300 hard-won feet, or 1023 metres. . . .Very well-maintained trail, a good proportion of it quite steep and demanding a certain agility. . . And I'm seriously thinking about picking up some poles to help out on the descent, which was tough on my knees. I do suspect, though, that I will be less sore in the coming days than I was a few weeks ago. On that hike down, I tensed up so much in my fearful state that I might as well have injected lactic acid directly into my legs. . . oh yeah, I guess I did. . .
All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about managing this climb and looking forward to searching out more of the same over the next year or two. I`m trying to vary my fitness routine to avoid injuries from too much concentration on running only.
 And there are so many interesting distractions to keep my mind of my strained limbs while we hike up. . . .
 I hadn`t seen Indian pipe (aka ghost plant or, more formally, Monotropa uniflora) for years, and we almost didn`t recognize it in this red incarnation (more used to seeing it in white)
 We also spotted foamflower, wild strawberries, yarrow. . . .and we surprised a pair of grouse, tried to figure out which small berry-eating mammal left a trail of scats along our path, and saw the remains of fir cones taken apart diligently, probably by a squirrel. . . .
 Part of the trail was along the logging road, and of course fireweed had happily colonized that cleared space.  . . .
 I suspect the red berries are elderberries, but by that point, I was too lazy to lose any ground going closer to check -- especially since we were heading down, and the berries were above me. . . .

But I knew exactly what these berries were -- huckleberries!!  Again, hadn`t bumped into these for years, the berries my kids would try to pick enough of for a pie, after stories Pater tells -- he claims that he`d pick them for his mom to make into the best pies he`s ever had. And then he hastily modifies to say . . the best pies he`d ever had until my blackberry pie. . . .

These berries had me looking around for bears. . . Paul was sure they`d stay off such a travelled trail; I wasn`t convinced.
 But I tried not to worry too much, and just followed the cheerful signs, especially since they were now directing us . . .
 DOWN the mountain. . . .
WAY DOWN. . . .

That was yesterday. Today we`re heading off to the mainland, getting ready to put some kilometres on the Honda. Road trip time, into the interior, right to the base of the Rockies. . . . not sure how much I`ll post, but you know I`ll try to check in when I can. And you know I always love your comments!

20 comments:

  1. Good for you!
    I don't like to climb, but I'll do it if I'm shamed into it. We still laugh, 40 years later, about one terrible climb in Squamish. I froze - like a pillar of salt. The Great Dane had to pry my fingers from the rock and carry me fireman-style downhill. I am ashamed - but at the time I was petrified!

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    1. Yes! So you know how I feel! That is such a great story! . . .to get myself down last time, I had to imagine that one of my kids or granddaughters was hurt and needed help. For myself, I would just have stayed there, paralyzed and crying.

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  2. That first photo is one for the ages. Good for you.

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  3. Brava! Monsieur loves the mountains. I'm terrified of climbing. Probably looking at the plants and signs is a good strategy to lose the worries. Have fun on the road trip!

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    1. It's tough when one partner has no fear and the other (me! You!) does. . . We found a good compromise in this second attempt, a different trail . . .

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  4. Good for you! The views are stunning and look well worth the effort. Very interesting flora, so different than here! Wild berries...yum!

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    1. Yes, and that ghost plant is particularly interesting, especially in its normal white iteration,

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  5. Superb! I'm not one for heights, either. Glad you found another route to the summit. A view well won.
    Have fun on the mainland!

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    1. Kept thinking of the bears in your recent photos , , , ,

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  6. I think it's funny that the WAY DOWN sign points to the side.
    Congratulations on mounting that summit! Well done. This is a great way to suck in those healing vibes of nature, for the soul and the body. I have a fear of bears too so whenever I would bike up Cypress Mt. I'd have a whistle around my neck - somehow I thought that would protect me.
    I hope you have a fun trip.

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    1. Bears AND cougars. . . I kept making noises throughout. Paul just laughed but only because he can run faster, right? And could let them have me as a distraction while he gets away. . .

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  7. What a gorgeous place! I do a lot of hiking, and I cannot recommend hiking poles enough. They are amazing on the descent, nice to have on the ascent, and have saved my butt (and knees) more than once. All the serious hikers I know use them!

    I'm looking forward to seeing more photos from your trips and hikes. Have fun on the road trip!

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    1. This is good to hear, Gauss, and thanks so much for commenting. We've been thinking about getting me some poles . . . A friend who hiked in Nepal a few years ago, a serious climber who'd previously scorned them a bit, said they were the only thing that saved her knees. And I like my knees . . .

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  8. I can't really fathom doing what you've done here. It is dizzying from the safety of my Canadian shield retreat. I commend you for pushing yourself beyond any psychological boundarythat has held you back. And why not -- at this stage of the game the horizon should widen.

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    1. You don't have so many mountains there, do you? Nor hills for that matter. . . They're right in my backyard, so yes, seems time to broaden my horizon to get myself into that landscape. Thanks!

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  9. Oh, more natural beauty! I know I'm a broken record but, srsly, you live amongst such beauty. And you take advantage of it which is so impressive.

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    1. We're trying to do more of that, yes, because we do recognize our good fortune.

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  10. Replies
    1. Nice to hear that from someone who climbs. . . and who lives in some stunning scenery also.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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