Will I someday become jaded to the beauty? Will I ignore the brilliant blues and greens that typify a British Columbia summer? Will I forget to breathe in the glory that is fresh mountain air? Will I see yet another mountain range and ignore it’s intricate design? Will I summit a peak and turn away, disappointed in the routine? May it never be!
Moving into British Columbia, I fought a battle of not one . . . not two . . .not three . . . but FOUR culture shock adjustments: 1) Marriage (it’s okay to grieve the loss of a season while rejoicing in the beginning of a new one!), 2) Pacific Northwest (wait, what?! it’s raining for nine months?), 3) Canada (helloooo, kilometers), 4) Dutch (it took me forever to identify that “Canadian” does not equal “Dutch”).
I chaffed, squirmed, cried, screamed, wailed. The season of culture shock(s)? Real. Raw. Pain. In retrospect, I squirm to realize just how miserable I was and how callous and harsh I became, but in the midst of the season I was aiming for survival. Survival. Mere survival. I only had the stamina to survive. Thriving? Another lifetime, another universe.
That was then. This is now. Surviving? Totally got that. Thriving? Dude, that’s me! A summer of celebration? Yes, please.
Hiking Panorama Ridge on the “last” weekend of the summer felt like an impossible task. Thirty kilometers of walking in one day? Making it to 2,133 meters of elevation? Carrying enough food, water, camera equipment? Isn’t this the very definition of impossible?
Impossible was three years ago and trying to settle into a new marriage.
Impossible was three years ago and trying to settle into a new side of the continent.
Impossible was three years ago and trying to settle into a new country.
Impossible was three years ago and trying to settle into a new culture.
Impossible is all four transitions at one time.
Thirty kilometers in one day to twenty-one hundred meters? So possible. So very, very, very possible.
Driving to Whistler at 5am seemed impossible. Starting up that hill seemed impossible. Hitting the snow banks at the summit seemed impossible.
We faltered. We failed. We struggled. We complained.
We kept going.
And the view? The view made all the agony worth it.
The ecstasy of conquering? Every step: worth it.
The delight of summiting? Every step: worth it.
The relief in finishing? Every step: worth it.
Spending a summer hiking progressively challenging mountains was a summer of adventure and training and lessons in perseverance. Sasquatch Provincial Park. Elk Mountain. Diez Vistas. Eaton Lake. Silver Lake Provincial Park. Panorama Ridge.
Panorama Ridge! No one told me that the ridge of panorama was quite literally a 360 view: all the photos online seem focus on the Garibaldi Lake view and ignore the gasp-worthy view to the North, too!
I can’t help but be reminded of Matthew 19:26: “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”
// end philosophical musings.
Sarah and I trekked up to Panorama Ridge in eleven hours and thirteen minutes. With the subtraction of inevitable (and numerous!) photo breaks, our total moving time was seven hours and fifty-one minutes to make it through the thirty kilometer hike and one thousand, seven hundred twenty-seven meter elevation gain.
Impossible? Not quite.
Impressive? You betcha!
Triumphant? Yes, we are.
(Don’t mind the out-of-focus photo. Just proves that even a photographer can make the occasional lucky mistake. :-P)
And what is this powdery white nonsense? SNOW?! That’s right. WE HIT THE SNOW LINE.