Maybe I’ve been spoiled by recent hikes of outstanding beauty and variety. Maybe it’s just that this hike is so focussed on its goal, it leaves little room for anything else.
The day dawned smoky – very smoky. The wildfire near Nelson is growing hugely. At any rate, Rick and I met at 8 in the parking lot in Slocan City and drove one hour to the trailhead over a road that gave new meaning to the term “back country.” I didn’t believe his truck would make it over the washout. It did, of course. And there, in the lot, was a small Honda that had somehow made it up without being helicoptered in!
Even before we set off – right from the parking lot – we had our first big view of Gimli. It’s imposing SW face is a mecca for climbers and I suspect the trail was built to give the fastest easiest access for just that.
It was a beautiful trail and we had tons of smoky (but not all that bad) views pretty quickly. We hiked through a lovely forest, then into the subalpine and then, very quickly, into a huge alpine meadow. It was different from the meadows we’ve hiked in recently – few flowers and rocky – almost bordering on alpine tundra.
We hiked up to the camp and then noticed the climbers on the face of the mountain.
Our trail took us to the very base of the sheer face and then around to the ridge. As we hiked, I could understand why the Copelands told acrophobes to stop at the base. The trail certainly got narrow (very) and airy. Very airy. After a few minutes of careful hiking and foot placement as well as a bum slide, Rick decided to call it. I was good with that but suggested that I go a bit farther to explore. I did that, noting that the trail continued to get increasingly gnarly.
We turned around probably about 10 – 15 minutes from the top, which also meant we missed the notorious “Gimli step.”
Any day spent in the mountains is a good day. It’s a beautiful trail. I suppose what might have added to the joy of the day was less smoke (more views) and possibly a completion – but I would have wanted to be with someone who has been on the trail so I could be guided over the last bit (and even then I’m not so sure).
Happy to be home and fresh from a shower. Simon has done amazing work today considering he was not feeling well. He really does amaze me. And I know for sure that everything he does is done with love – it is done for us – his family – two and four-footed.