On Sunday my family packed our truck with snacks, loaded two ATV’s (4 wheel drive offroad vehicles) on the trailer, and drove three hours into the mountains. Our goal was to ATV, then hike to a glacial lake up above the treeline in the northern Rocky Mountains.
The road to get there is bumpy, and three hours feels like a long time. It was well after lunch before we were able to start the offroad and hiking part of the trip.
We were well prepared. Dressed for the cool weather up in the alpine, sturdy shoes, armed with insect repellent, sunscreen, water and snacks, camera batteries charged. We knew the hiking portion of the trail was less than 3 kilometres (2 miles). And yet, once we started hiking, it was easy to question our ability to achieve our goal. The trail immediately started climbing, and it never really stopped. As the elevation increased, we found ourselves tiring with only a few steps, and the loudest sound was our breathing as we worked to scale the ridge.
If we stopped, the insects attacked, mosquitoes swarming in a visible cloud. At one point, we lost the trail, and had to backtrack through slushy late-spring high-altitude snow to find the trail marker.
Then, the trees began to grow shorter, and as the vegetation changed, we knew we were close. Emerging from the trees, we crested the ridge and instead of gasping for breath, we gasped in awe at the panoramic mountain scene spread before us. From every angle was a new aspect of majesty and beauty.
Walking along the ridge, it was funny to look back and see, far below, the tiny truck and trailer parked at the trailhead. Had we really come so far? And the mountain itself, maybe it wasn’t really that steep. At eye level with mountains all around, the effort we’d made to scale our peak didn’t seem as remarkable.
Reflecting on our journey today, I see parallels, as I so often do, in my own artistic journey.
In the beginning, the goal seems overpowering and unattainable. You want to climb HOW high? And the journey, once started, is dense and confusing. You only see a few steps in front of you, and you press on, focusing on just making it to the next break in the trees. When you stop, maybe to pause and catch your breath, maybe due to interruptions and obstacles to move around, doubts and fears swarm like so many mosquitoes.
If you are faithful, and patient, and willing to keep going, one day the trees will start to thin out, and the obstacles might appear a little smaller. As you reach your goal, it’s easy to forget the hard work, the pain and struggle it took to get there. Maybe you don’t even think to pause and look back at how far you’ve come; there’s always another peak a little higher, just ahead.
Be patient. The journey IS long, and the way IS hard sometimes. You might not be sure you have what it takes. Be faithful, take one step at a time, and when the land starts to level out, don’t forget to stop and savor the heights you stand on before stepping toward the next peak just ahead.
If you’re an adventurous sort and want to explore some of the wilderness of BC’s backcountry, we highly recommend hiking to Bootski Lake, southwest of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia. We researched our trip to Bootski Lake using the links below:
Beautiful Drone/Aerial Video Footage of Bootski Lake by Above Tumbler Ridge
Concise Information from Tumbler Ridge.ca web site
Trail Information & GPS Coordinates
Very Detailed Trail Directions, Description & Photos from ihikebc.com
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