This photo – I took it two years ago when Simon and I hiked the Iceline Trail – and to think that tomorrow morning I’m setting out to do it again, but this time with the added thrill of 5 days in Yoho and all sort of other explorations there.

It would be much nicer if it could be Simon and I again. I love Simon and I love hiking with him.

We’ll do it again together. Just not this time.

So – today I have spent time prepping. My first backpack of the season so going carefully through all my “stuff” – tent, new sleeping bag, clothes, food, emergency stuff – on and on – and trying to keep my pack as light as humanly possible.

Today I walked with the dogs and thought long and hard about purpose. This has been coming up a lot for me lately. partly because I am getting older and my life has changed drastically and I am questioning purpose all over again. Partly it’s because I want to expand my understanding of it.

Mostly I think that because my life has changed so much I have to evolve new strategies to meet my purpose.

A lot of thoughts about this today. I plan on letting it sit with me in Yoho over the next several days. I know I’ll have a chance to spend time alone in the mountains – always good answers there. I can almost feel those answers waiting for me – so close.

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Again – thanks to Peter for the two photos today.

Yesterday’s hike up Mount Gimli – epically wonderful! The close encounter with the goats was, for me, essentially spiritual. When I can connect with another being, I feel – hmmm – words – what can describe that feeling? I think bliss is part of it but even more so – a certain rightness – it feels like this is the way it should be. I connect to trees, and certainly goats and birds and butterflies and so many creatures (chickens, dogs….)

This connection with creatures from another species is generally so much easier than with someone from my own ilk. People are often so guarded – so careful – animals and plants are simply what they are – all there – beautiful souls.

And so yesterday was a great day in the alpine.

Summer in the warmth and sun has such a great effect on me. I was daydreaming today, thinking that when I’m not hiking, what I really want is a half acre fenced garden – what we have now only much bigger – and grow tons of flowers as well as edibles – and then spend hours and hours making it not only productive but also beautiful.

In the meantime, I am going to prepare for my first backpacking trip of the season – 4 nights in Yoho!

I suspect I’ll be coming back with an awful lot of photos.

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Today, Peter and I went to Mount Gimli. First – we did not get as far as the ridge overlooking Mulvey Basin. I was starting up the last boulder field up to the ridge and said, “Nope – topped out at my comfort zone – done!”

Peter went a bit farther before turning back – but who cares. What a day! Four mountain goats – two mamas and babies – and that made my day. Oh yes – and a marmot and a Richardson ground squirrel – it was an amazing day.

Other than that, for now, I will let photos do the talking.

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Thoughts on Hiking – Whitewater included

Thanks to Peter Berkey for the photo – hiking at Whitewater Canyon. Yesterday. Today is a bit of a catch-up day – shopping for camp food for later in the week, filling up the truck for Gimli tomorrow, baking bread for sandwiches – and so on.

Simon has a catch-up day too – paperwork and inside stuff while the rain has poured down out there.

Hey! No need to water the garden.

Looking back:  loved the hike yesterday. Did not love the creek crossing. Boulders are just awful for me. But I did it in the end and now I know where the crossing is that I can negotiate fairly easily.

Yup – my hiking Achilles Hell – boulders.

At least I know it and I have to compensate for it.

I’ve been living with low-level anxiety for at least a week now. It seems to be about all sorts of things. I’m anxious about Gimli tomorrow and the final scramble to the ridge. (having promised myself I can stop if I don’t feel comfortable) – anxious about my backpacking trip ( how will I manage five days without pooping? -Yeah – I’m one of those people who can’t poop in the “wild.”)

Anxious about things I don’t even know I’m anxious about.


Must find a way to tame this beast.

Best way to start is to let it be – don’t make it angrier by poking it with a stick.

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Whitewater Col

This is going to be a very quick picture blog (see pictures below). Suffice to say that the hike was magnificent. We did about 8.5 hours to the col and back. Lots of snow which made sliding back down fun and quick. We could not have ordered better weather. It was a perfect 10 – and fabulous company too with Peter Berkey and Sheila Sinkie.

Maybe more on this tomorrow but for now – my bed calls….


PS – lovely to have Simon back. Very very very lovely.

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Relentless Optimism

Driving home from my dog walk, listening to CBC – and there was the feeling – that “Aha!” That wonderful knowing that something was happening and I’d better pay attention. I did – I listened with everything I had.

I experienced at least 20 minutes of “Aha.”

Now the problem with these moments is that they are difficult to express in words. The context was a former white supremacist who had done evil things to others and who had changed. He had written a book, confessing the awful things he had done and how his life’s work now was at least twofold: self-forgiveness and atonement. And in the course of this, to hopefully change others so that they too might see another way of being.

A Sikh man who co-authored the book was also on the program – a man who had had a opposite experience – that of his father being shot to death in a temple and the rage that came with that. He talked about the Sikh principal of Chardi Kala, meaning “relentless optimism.”

It is the superior and glorious state of mind in which there is no fear, jealousy or enmity and there is a constant celestial bliss of self-dignity, self-abundance and grandeur of soul.

That last bit is a lot to absorb – like the Buddhist Nirvana. But two concepts in the program stopped me: relentless optimism and self-forgiveness.

I’m not new to the idea of self-forgiveness. I’ve had enough self-hatred in my life to understand that you have to forgive yourself and love yourself in order to give to others. But listening to Arno (former white supremacist) I understood that you don’t have a sudden experience of forgiving and loving and moving on. It is a life’s work. It never stops. And I know that when I need to work on this most is when I shut off my vulnerability – when I shut down. This is a difficult thing to admit because even writing that feels vulnerable.

But this concept of not just optimism but relentless optimism. This made my heart leap.

What it said to me was optimism in spite of every reason on earth to abandon hope. Optimism despite all the negativity, most importantly, the negativity I direct toward myself.

The optimism that says not only, Yes I can” but also “Yes I am.”

And listening to these flawed human beings – as we are all imperfect – I also saw how a life – every life – is worth living and is important. Even if it influences only one person, that ripple in the ocean of thoughts, emotions and ideas, makes a difference.


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Today’s photos are (yes) all about me.

I know it looks a bit ego-ish but I’m going to give myself a pass because I almost always wave people away when they want to take my photo but yesterday, Peter was taking some fabulous pics (including really terrific drone videos) so, what the heck – there they were and I thought I might as well post them.

It really was quite a fabulous day.

Today – not so much. I got the gardening done and even mowed the “lawn.” Wow! Heavy mower. I don’t recall push mowers being that heavy back in the day but then I was decades younger and they were probably twice the weight and I was a young Hercules with muscles out to there, right?

So – I am going on an unexpected backpacking trip on Friday – Yoho for four nights. That will include the Iceline Trail, which I adored when I did with Simon two years ago – one of my total favourites. We’ll also be doing some other hikes that I have not done – so – new stuff in the beautiful Rockies.

After that, Cathedral Lakes. And Simon is working and won’t be able to come and I know that I’m going to miss hiking with him. It’s one of the activities we share that I love. And sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

So – a certain unease and sadness the last few days. Something is going on. Hope to get to the bottom of it soon. In the meantime, I’ll escape to the high places. Tomorrow – chores. Monday – Whitewater!

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