Laugh a little. Adventure a lot!

Abbott Ridge {Glacier National Park}

Abbott Ridge {Glacier National Park}

Abbott Ridge

I love the September long weekend. LOVE.

After a full summer of adventure, fun, and more things to do than daylight … and there is A LOT of daylight up here in the subarctic in the summer … it is one of the last opportunities to do something outside without having to wear 14 layers and worry about frostbite.

Unfortunately my August gets an F.

The BC fires were incredible this year. With the second worst year of fires on record, our skies were full of smoke for most of the month. One morning after making coffee and waiting for the sun to rise, the sun wasn’t able to make it through the smoke and it stayed dark for nearly the whole day.

It felt apocalyptic as I drove to work in the greenish sky which seemed to threaten tornadoes and the end of the world.

But it was just smoke.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday I filled with hope as I watched the forecast, smoke forecast, webcams, and anything else that I could use to glean information about the current smoke situation.

The mountains were calling, but I couldn’t see them through the smoke.

And I also prefer to be able to breathe while outdoors.

So after three weeks of incredible smoke and false starts, including driving for an hour and then turning back due to the smoke rolling in, I was so happy to see blue skies when the long weekend rolled around.

Mountains here we come!

I live in Edmonton, which is close-ish to the mountains, but far enough away that it is a bit of an ordeal to get there in a weekend and have some quality time.

Needless to say, doing Whistler in a weekend, even a long one, is ridiculous. Although I did have that on the table for about 47 minutes on Thursday night as I was looking at smoke, weather, and all the options.

Finally, we settled (AKA Speedy talked some sense into me) on going to Golden for the weekend and enjoying Glacier and Revelstoke Parks – after all, they are lesser known, stunning, and far enough away to warrant a jaunt on a long weekend.

Jade Lake, Sir Donald, Abbott Ridge, and Perley Rock and many others were on my list of hikes to check off.

The car was partially packed up Thursday night and a list of all the remaining items to pack was left on my kitchen counter – I was ready to take the weekend by storm. All I had between me and adventure was that pesky full day of work and a few last-minute consulting client requests which made getting to work by 7 am impossible.

Home at 4:27 and out the door at 4:59.

We hit the open road, *ahem*, clogged up Highway 2. Apparently a motorhome somehow caught on fire while on the highway. The result? A parking lot.

As I traversed through the back roads of Nisku in an effort to skirt the angry drivers on the QE2, all I could think about was my inefficiency earlier that morning. If only I had gotten up at 5;00 instead of 5:45.

Making it to Banff at 10:45 pm meant setting up the tent in the dark.

Usually campsites have a flat spot for your tent, a picnic table, and a medium rock for pounding in tent pegs.

What was missing you ask?

The rock.

While Speedy fished out the tarp and started putting up the tent, I swept the area for a pounding rock. After not finding anything larger than the size of a golf ball, I started to stealthily go through the extremely full campground and look for a pounding rock to steal. I found an RV that seemed to be sleeping, so I stole their football sized rock. It was so large that it took two hands to carry back to our site.

The pegs went in with one massive pound. What can I say? I know how to steal the right kind of rocks to get things done.

They also bent with one massive pound.

Finding sleep in the 4 degree weather and a midnight rainstorm was harder than I expected, but the 8:00 am breakfast and Starbucks made me human again.

We were glad to be on the road to Glacier before everyone else woke up.

As we left Banff, the clouds rolled in. It was fine with me. A day of mountains and gorgeous clouds is about as perfect of a day as can be in my world. I love clouds nearly as much as mountains.

Then the smoke started to roll in.

The farther west we drove, the smoggier and smokier it became and we contemplated turning around and going to Emerald Lake for the day.

While discussing our options, we passed a semi truck newly on fire on the highway.

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park Canada
Nothing quite like passing a truck newly on fire. Apparently the brake stuck and started on fire. The drive disconnected the rig from the trailer to save it and then we all watched it burn…

As the heat threatened to overtake our car while driving by, it became obvious from the stacked up cars going east that our day was now in Glacier, which was fine with both of us. After all, it isn’t an easy place to get to and the hiking is first-rate.

Glacier is such a unique place. The history of this little gem is surprising. A century ago the CPR railroad went right through the park which resulted in a climbing mecca for Europeans. Pictures of men and women climbing in their suits and dresses and then dining in a ritzy hotel at the foot of the park litter the area. All that is left now are mossy remnants and paths forged by the first explorers.

The hikes in Glacier are anything but flat. In a park of some of the steepest mountains in the areas, the hikes match the mountains. But the climb is worth the result.

Glacier National Park
Almost to the top! A bit more elevation and another kilometer to get around the back side of the summit and find the top.

Standing on top of a mountain and looking over a sea of mountains under your feet is otherworldly and something that is distinctly unique to Glacier.

As we made our way to the top, the views kept getting less and less and by the time we were ready to head to the bottom, the view was nearly hidden due to the smoke which was continuing to roll in at a rapid rate.

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park Canada
It is always nice when the trail unfolds into a gorgeous alpine meadow.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park Canada
It is always fun to linger at the top.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park Canada
Feeling on top of the world!

Happy to have been able to have seen it before completely obstructed, we headed back to the car and to Golden in search of a massive dinner which turned out to be a burger with a crumbly gluten-free bun which was consumed in about 3 minutes.

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park Canada
I was as hungry as a Grizzly!

Have you been to Glacier in Canada? What hikes have you done? Askulkan Valley is another must do, at least in my opinion!



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