On day two of our hike, I cried. And I was speechless – reduced the kind of blubbering and babbling gibberish reserved for infants, newly born to the world. And, in a way, I felt newborn: standing with Robson’s glacier to my back, facing an alpine meadow of epic proportions, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, glittering under an azure sky. What else was there to do but fall to my knees?
I don’t often post this many pictures on my blog – and I should probably (could have) posted a hundred more. But this is a taste of three days in heaven.
We left early Sunday morning for the ten-hour drive to Robson Meadows campground. This was a trip that was a year in the making. Last year, on our journey through the Rockies, we’d planned a day up at Berg Lake. But the morning came and we were in a torrential downpour. We scrubbed those plans, vowing to come back in 12 months time. We kept the promise. But this time we were determined to go farther than we had originally wanted to go – all the way to the legendary Snowbird Pass rising high above the Coleman Glacier and Icefield.
We were on the trail at 7.30 a.m. on Monday morning in a light drizzle and swirling clouds, hoping the weather would change but prepared for anything. The trail to Berg Lake rises about 800 metres over 22 kilometres. It was an easy start through a beautiful old rain forest. Up we went, past a multitude of roaring waterfalls – up and up as the clouds began to clear and reveal the peaks surrounding us. Finally, touches of sun came through and the mists parted to reveal her majesty – Mount Robson, towering almost 1,000 metres above all her neighbours and creating a country, a continent, an entire world around her.
In all my decades of hiking both in North America and Europe, I have never been in a world like the one created by this queen.
Awestruck and blissful, we walked into the campground at about 3.30 p.m. and set up our tent. Then – down to the lake where the Berg Glacier calves into the waters and where we could marvel at the loud cracks echoing off the mountain walls as the ice shifted and moved.
We were in bed early – ready for a full day up to Snowbird Pass.
That day saw us cover about 18 kilometres and another 800 metres in elevation – but this time, we did it in 9.5 hours. Slow? You bet! Why rush a trip through paradise? There were marmots to talk to, butterflies to ogle, flowers to wonder at and views unlike any I had ever expected or hoped to see.
We passed by glaciers. stood above them, watched waterfalls, and came around a bend in the trail to be greeted by the utterly unexpected sight of undulating far-reaching alpine meadows cut by a glacier-fed stream. The beauty was more than I could bear.
And up we went – the landscape constantly changing. Finally – at the pass – another world opened up: a world of snow and ice and range after range of Rocky Mountain peaks. We stood above the icefield, washed in sun, dazed. Lunch – bliss! And finally, a slow meander back – more photos and more wonders.
Robson – there is nothing else in this country like her – or like the world she has created in her shadow.
The next day, under more sunny skies, we hiked back out – faster this time – about 6 hours. But still, we had time to enjoy, to marvel, and to love every step we took.
What else is there to say? Perhaps I should just let the photos do the rest of the talking.
Blessed to have shared this with my love. Blessed to be alive and to be given the opportunity to witness such wonders.
So very, very blessed.