Yesterday: the alpine.

Today – roads.

We travelled twice back and forth to Three Forks, the good news being that this last time, I picked up the car with its new summer tires. Simon says I was crazy lucky because I will need a new rim but it looks very much like the tire is fine and there was no damage to the undercarriage. So – all is good until it’s time to put winter tires on again next year.


And we got the car back today – not Tuesday. However, no driving to or over any passes until April 1. I can do that.

So – other than taking the dogs for a walk this morning on one of our trips to Three Forks, it’s been a lazy day. And I’ve decided that’s not good for me. I have to speeds: flat out and stop. And the stop speed (today) is crazy enervating. All I want to do is sleep.

Tomorrow: snowshoeing at Kootenay Pass – and then I have to get my energy up for domestic stuff.

And the sun and warmth sure does feel good.

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Ecstasy and attacking Rocks

What a day! I’m not sure I could have fit in anything else.

It started simply enough. I left the house early and Ben, Cecilia and I met at the park n ride just before 9 a.m. Twenty minutes later we were on the trail – sort of.

We were on what we thought might be the trail that would take us to the gully route up the left-hand side of Ecstasy.

We discovered soon enough that this route would take us across several avalanche paths. It was early enough in the day that we weren’t concerned. We did, however, pass several (3?) avis that had occurred perhaps in the past 48 hours.

And so we continued and lost the sort-of trail very quickly. We broke trail – for hours. The going was steep but we stayed in the trees where it was cooler because, let me tell you, the heat coming off the snow on the south-facing slope was impressive.

Even I was down to my T-shirt in pretty short order.

Finally, at about 11.30, we determined that we were coming up to the ridge directly below the Whale’s Back. We had several options, none of them wonderful. The best one, we determined, was to go down and call it a day – or we could go down a bit and across another open area (quickly and in single file) to reach the gully we wanted.

And so we did that – only to find that there was yet another open area, this one wider than the last.

But – what the heck: quickly and leaving space between us. And hey! The gully! And we picked up a super good skin track going right up, always in trees  and we reached the saddle at about 12.20 or so. Now the question: go up the right or left-hand peak.

We finally voted democratically for the right-hand peak and ended up on top at 1 p.m. and had lunch with the same glorious view we’d had only a few days earlier.

It was hard work to get there: the snow was not nice. We went in deep several times and Cecilia got into a rock well and was stuck for a few minutes before we figured a way to get her out.

Spring snow – tough one.

Going down: a different experience than the usual. Normally, we would go straight down. But I wanted to mentally map out the up-track and know exactly where it came out.

And we did that. The up-track is wonderful, avoiding all avi hazards. Nice switchbacks – and comes out across the street from the Glory chair lift.

This is good information for next time – after all, we never did get to the top of the left-hand peak. The right-hand peak, of course, is Ecstasy.

So, all being well, I drove home. And that was fine until I got to Cape Horn were a rock attacked my car and did a number on my right rear tire and rim. Luckily, I was a few paces from cell service and was able to pull to the shoulder of the highway. Unfortunately, the tow-truck driver told me he would be 2 hours. Fortunately, a police cruiser stopped, saw the situation and drove me home.

Simon is now with the tow-truck driver, picking up the car and getting it to the shop where the truck is getting fixed – and it should be fixed in time to come home.

Holy heck!

Avoided all avis today. Got done by a tiny rock slide.


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The first day of spring and Simon and I celebrated in the best possible way – we hiked Syringa. We took the pups and made a wonderful day of it: hiking end to end, going down to the lake where Shanara ecstatically chased sticks in the lake. Abby lay down in creeks along the way.

We had lunch on the way back, hiking up to the viewpoint – past the one with the bench – up to the high point where we basked in the sun. Simon estimated the temperature up there at about 16 degrees. In the sun, it felt much warmer.

We saw our first flower of the season (on the first day of spring!) and our first butterflies! As for snow – the trail was 99% snow free.

Beautiful day! Lovely conversation – giggles, snogging and all.

And the dogs are totally out cold. Happily so.

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Change of Plans

First, thanks to Reneta for the photo taken on Evening Ridge two days ago.

Now then – about today. It all started well – me baking bread and doing laundry – Simon heading into town with the garbage and the summer tires for the car to hand off to Richard at Three Forks.

And then the truck died and Simon jump-started it and drove it almost to Silverton and it died utterly.

And so, as it turned out after some trekking back and forth, that the new alternator was a dud and we had to get a tow truck and there was more driving back and forth involved (and I am very grateful for my BCAA membership!) and finally, by about 1.30 or so this afternoon, we managed to get the dogs out for a short walk.

And now we are watching birds at the suet feeder and I’m asking, “Where the hell are the hummingbirds? After all, I hung the feeder our a whole hour ago!”

And now Simon is endeavouring to smooth out the driveway a bit. It seems we have a couple of tiny (!!) bumps. Not big – just that if you’re wearing dentures don’t try to drive up – or at least roll up the windows if you do. You wouldn’t want them flying out and getting lost in the snow.

Yeah – that’s about it. Spring is here. We’ve had no fire in the stove all day and I am decidedly NOT cold.

Tomorrow we are setting out to do our first actual hike of the season. This means no snow shoes and real summer/spring/fall hiking boots. Very excited.

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One Day at a Time

Thanks to Peter Berkey for this photo, taken in early summer last year when we hiked up to the Whitewater col. I used my ice axe that day mostly to slow myself down on this steep slope – much steeper than it looks in the photo.

It was a glorious day – and strenuous I might add.

I like this feeling I get from the pic – this being alone in the white expanse of the mountains. It recalls the hikes and treks I’ve done on my own, most recently in Switzerland last August – that place of being self-reliant, of not having anyone but myself to answer to. But there’s another feeling that comes with that solitude – a sort of peace – of being part of something else – of boundaries melting – of just being and not thinking.

I like this photo because I am just a small being in this huge expanse – a speck in the cosmos – but still whole – and just walking without fear or apprehension or tension. I remember this walk – this part of the hike – the joy of having accomplished the goal and the quiet peace of simply walking back.

This is a feeling I want to carry with me throughout every day. I don’t want to get caught up in impatience, waiting for the house to sell so that I can move on. There are times I feel stuck. I have to remind myself that I am not stuck – every minute and every hour, I am moving – maybe not in a  way that feels familiar to me, but I am moving forward. And perhaps I don’t quite know what tomorrow will bring, but it will bring change and that is a good thing.

Sometimes movement is simply one footstep at a time and one day at a time.

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Selous/Evening/Whale’s Back/ Ecstasy

It was an ambitious plan: snowshoe through Hummingbird Pass and up to Selous Ridge – then back to the saddle and up Evening Ridge – then down and up to the Whale’s Back – and finally, down and on and up Ecstasy. From there, retrace about half our steps and come down the south face of Evening Ridge.

Ambitious – yes. But we did it! All of us. Not one of us chose to be left behind and that was spectacular in a group of 10 people.

What a glorious day we picked. It was warm, the sun shone down from a bluebird sky and yes, the snow had to be knocked off our snowshoes many, many times but the stickiness worked in our favour up the Whale’s Back – no ice so we had good purchase for kicking steps up alongside the cornices.

The views were amazing. I was thrilled to move on from there and go up the far ridge where we had lunch with the best lunch view I have ever had. (this is saying something when I consider some of my lunch spots).

We had nothing but smiles and bliss all around. How could it have been otherwise?

And yes, coming down the south face was slippy. Falls were inevitable. But we all arrived in one piece. Happiness all around.

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Trying to Make Sense of it All

And when I say “make sense of it all” I cast a wide net.

I probably shouldn’t even try. What is happening in the world simply doesn’t make any sense. All I have to do is look at one news cycle:

49 innocent people shot to death while praying.

children protesting our lack of action on climate change

Donald Trump threatening violence if he doesn’t get his way

Boeing and the FAA placing corporate profits ahead of human lives

I can also cite social media where a mass of Albertans are telling us that the world will end if we quit fossil fuels.

Our politicians: jobs, jobs, jobs.

How can anyone make sense of this? How can we make sense of a handful of people owning more money and more “stuff” than they can every spend or use while millions starve?

This is utter insanity.

I don’t have to wonder why I often feel nothing but a quiet, almost numbing despair.

What can I do? I don’t have to look far to see the power of one person: we have examples all around us – Greta, the young Swedish activist has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (and rightly so) and has mobilized the children’s’ movement on climate action.

Yes – she has done that.

But I see no action. We are still rushing headlong off the cliff.

Yes – there are small changes. Drinking straws. The onus is always put on the tiny steps individuals can take like recycling our plastic. What about the monster polluters? They are exempted from a carbon tax, subsidized with taxpayer money and encouraged to go on polluting. Because it’s all about jobs, you know.

How can we change this?

I seriously want to scream.

I also want to keep my sanity and live my life if not happily, at least in a state of contentment.

I am fortunate that I can escape to the alpine so much – the place where I find my peace and my bliss. But then I re-enter the world and the bliss lasts for shorter and shorter durations. It used to be days. Now I’m lucky if it’s hours.

We must tear down capitalism, a system based on white male colonialism. We must. This is the one thing that can save this planet.

That’s a big order. Every system both in private enterprise and politics is geared to shore up capitalism – which is just another word for greed and winner-take-all.

The only game worth playing is win-win. Capitalism is win-lose all the way.

When I look at all this, which is often because it’s pretty much right in my face, I feel fragile. I feel as though I need to wrap my arms around myself to keep from splintering into a thousand shards. And then I have to focus on the little things in front of me: grasp the reality of what is around me – bring myself back to the present.

And then I don’t know about the present either: this state of flux where I am about to leave this life in this house in this place – but with no idea when and little control over that decision.

My present has to focus precisely – laser-beam sharp. This very moment. This. Moment. Here. Now.

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