Brilliant

When I say “Brilliant,” I rather wish I was talking about me. Alas, it’s the name of today’s hike: The Brilliant Overlook. It actually was more than that – something about Skettaboo and I’d better look that up before I write the trip report on Monday. But suffice to say, we had five fabulous hours on the trail.

Despite weather warnings of rain and showers, none came and we spent most of the day hiking in warm sun in our T-shirts. The terrain was unlike anything I’ve seen yet in the Kootenays. But then I’ve discovered that each area has its own microclimate. This one is clearly hot and sunny. Spring flowers were everywhere. We came across blooming Oregon grape, clemantis, larkspur, paintbrush, wild parsnip, shooting stars, glacier lilies – and that’s just a start.

I loved the meandering trail and the up and down. First we went up on a really nice switchback. From the top of our first hill, we could look across the ridge and see our destination – and it did look rather formidable. The good news was that we didn’t have to climb the rock face – we would take the trail that ran around the back and come at it from that direction. Sadly, we first had to go back down and lose all our elevation only to start again. And then (sigh) there was a boulder field. Have I ever mentioned that I hate boulder fields?

I hate boulder fields.

I believe I stated the fact (perhaps petulantly) several times to anyone who would listen as I made my way across.

The top was wonderful. Fifteen of us – a fine sunny lunch, gazing out over the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers and looking at the rain falling off in the distance as we basked in sunshine. Wonderful.

We took a nice gentle route back, very different and also pretty. The hike was five extremely enjoyable hours. I spent some time chatting with a very interesting man. I finally asked him what he did in his “real” life. His answer was, “You’re not going to like this. I’m a psychiatrist.”

Oh dear.

I’m not sure he was thinking shock treatment or a frontal lobotomy. He did laugh. I hope that was a good sign.

I came home to Simon having done massive work in the yard. He’s still at it. It’s looking better all the time.

And now – a bit of browsing the Internet and then I have to get all my winter gear out again – big snowshoe day tomorrow. Chris, our leader, estimates about seven hours. Oh boy!

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