A few days ago had a most interesting experience. Let me tell you about my first time hiking and the day I climbed a mountain. So how did it start?
Summer Vacation had just begun and my friends and I were thinking of an entertaining and enjoyable way to start the summer holidays. One of them suggested that we go on a hike.
This immediately interested me; I had experienced my first real taste of the Canadian outdoors a few months before when we went for a little trek up Johnston Canyon.
But I longed for something a bit more, something more adventurous and thrilling.
Do not get me wrong; visiting Johnston Canyon and then exploring the town of Banff in Canada was beautiful and interesting.
However, I was looking for something that would really take my break away and you know what? Make me sweat. So when a 3 hour hike was brought up, I was totally up for it.
At first I was worried that I would need loads of awkward and complicated equipment to embark on the hike, but to my delight I discovered that this was not the case. After much conferring and discussing, we picked a day to go hiking, a Saturday.
The weather was supposed to be brilliant, actually in the 30's (Celsius). In the days leading up to the hike, I just imagined with excitement what the hike would be like, an adventure that I would never forget, high up in the mountains with an amazing view for miles.
I was mentally ready.
On the Friday, we bought some food supplies that we would need on the hike to refresh and energize us for the whole way. Moreover, we planned on having a barbeque/picnic by forgetmenot pond which was only a few minutes away from where we would be hiking, so we needed to be stocked up for that too.
I woke up on the Saturday excited and well rested, I had the sort of 'butterflies' you have in your in stomach, at the beginning of a special/important day.
After showering, going out and about and relaxing a bit, I began preparing for my hiking trip, arranging my clothes shoes and snacks together.
For my clothing I had planned to wear a large t-shirt and some comfortable leggings, which was what I did.
Comfort is key when going hiking and I was told to wear something that I would not mind perspiring in.
For my footwear I packed a pair of trainers, or runners as they call them here. Nothing too fancy, but again a clothing choice that would ensure I would be secure and comfortable as I climbed up the mountain.
Foodwise, we packed, nuts, dried fruit and granola bars, for hiking up the mountain as well as lots and lots of water.
For the barbeque, we packed burgers buns and hot dogs, as well a deli pack of yummy savoury snacks, crackers and cheeses. We also packed fruit and more water. Now we were ready. So after getting all our stuff together, we drove over to our meet up point, at the home of one of my friends. We received directions on how to get to the area we would be hiking it.
After getting some fuel, we drove for about a 1 hour to our hiking venue. To be honest, we did get a bit lost, and when we stopped for directions, we were told that we were as far away from our destination as we could be haha. But it was quite a bit of fun driving and seeing some pretty cool scenery as we made our way to the right place. That’s something I love about exploring the outdoors, you can never really get bored. There are generally always amazing sights to see on the way.
So I don’t think I've told you exactly where we went yet.. ahh.
We went on the Prairie Mountain hike in Alberta Kananaskis Country. Prairie Mountain is located 35 minutes west of the city of Calgary, across the highway from Elbow falls. Elevation gain to the summit is approximately 701 metres.
The whole hike was supposed to take 3 hours: 2 hours up an 1 hour down. The trail winds it way up through a lodgepole Pine and Spruce Forest Opening onto a beautiful mountain meadow that leads to the summit. Views of Moose Mountain, Mount Glasgow, Mount Cornwall , Outlaw Peak and Branded Peak are simply stunning. The summit also offers a classic transitional view of prairies to mountains with the city of Calgary visible on the eastern horizon. Sounds beautiful doesn’t it?
After getting some
fuel, we drove for about a 1 hour to our hiking venue. To be honest, we did get
a bit lost, and when we stopped for directions, we were told that we were as
far away from our destination as we could be haha. But it was quite a bit of
fun driving and seeing some pretty cool scenery as we made our way to the right
That’s something I love about exploring the outdoors, you can never really get bored. There are generally always amazing sights to see on the way. So I don’t think I've told you exactly where we went yet.. ahh. We went on the Prairie Mountain hike in Alberta Kananaskis Country.
Prairie Mountain is located 35 minutes west of the city of Calgary, across the highway from Elbow falls. Elevation gain to the summit is approximately 701 metres. The whole hike was supposed to take 3 hours: 2 hours up an 1 hour down.
The trail winds it way up through a lodgepole Pine and Spruce Forest Opening onto a beautiful mountain meadow that leads to the summit. Views of Moose Mountain, Mount Glasgow, Mount Cornwall , Outlaw Peak and Branded Peak are simply stunning.
The summit also offers a classic transitional view of prairies to mountains with the city of Calgary visible on the eastern horizon. Sounds beautiful doesn’t it?
When we finally arrived at our hiking spot I collected my backpack and water from the boot
of our car and started to prepare myself for hiking. At first I thought that I
could get away with not using the bathroom beforehand, but eventually nerves
and apprehension got the better of me and I just decided to go, to be safe.
To my delight the outdoor toilets were not as horrible as I had expected them to be, although they weren't exactly luxurious. Then we started on the hike. Yes we actually just got on with it. We looked up and ahead and never looked back. Ok, so it wasn’t exactly like that, as much as I had wanted it to turn out so perfectly.
But all in all, I can say that the day I climbed a mountain was amusing, character-building and thrilling. As we started on the first few meters of our hike, my younger sister (age 12) started to crawl because she didn’t feel as though she could handle the initial steepness. It was hilarious. But thank goodness, that didn’t carry on for the whole way, as that could never have been sustained. We took each step, one after the other, slowly and steadily until we built up a good pace. It was tempting to race off, but that would have been overly tiring in the end, so I'm glad that I maintained a reasonable pace.
After about 1 hour, both myself and my sister realised that it was getting tougher, the end was a lot farther than we had expected, and the start had actually been a piece of cake compared to what was coming . Let me tell you, we didn’t find it easy at all for a long time. It was hot and our legs began to ache. There were moments that we were completely alone, actually for quite a while when we started. After 45 minutes we stopped for a water break and a snack of nuts and fruit. We made it our aim to keep going for as long as we could, and decided to have a break every time someone passed us on the way down (which ended up being about every 20-30 minutes).
Between us, myself and my sister finished 5 BOTTLES OF WATER. But it was worth it because, every time we stopped, we rose back again, even more determined to continue and finish. We told ourselves that every step forward was a step that would lead us closer to our goal, and that was what kept us going. ( It is also a mental attitude that I find helpful In day to day life.) After about 1.5 hours of hiking upwards I was beginning to question whether it was a good idea to go hiking. What a time to start thinking like that ay?!
But myself and my sister supported each other, even singing for a while just to keep our spirits up. It was also very encouraging, to see other people going up, people who were over 30 years older than us going strong all the way. Very inspirational.
Eventually we saw someone who was on their way back down, and realised that we had saw them going up. It was a wonderful feeling, especially as they told us that it was not long to the top.
With renewed vigour, we climbed up the mountain with more energy Smiles appeared on our faces as we saw the view change from a forest opening into a beautful mountain meadow… we were near the top!!!
After about 20 minutes we were thrilled to see a couple of our friends at the top and then we ourselves reached the summit. We embraced our friends and we just in time for a group photo.
It was such a relief to know and see that we had reached the top. We had really done it. The view was breathtaking, and even more wonderful than I could imagine.
I could see the beauty of creation for miles and miles and the magnificent shape of the land and surrounding mountains. Although it was one of the hardest things I had ever done, I felt as though I would do it again. ( Of course after I had recovered from this hike and forgotten a bit about the strength it took to get up there haha.)
That was going to be just the beginning of my hiking experience. But I absolutely loved it, hiking is rewarding and a low-cost activity that’s perfect for those who love adventure and beauty. Descending happened at a faster pace, it took us about half the time it took to get up, and it felt good. It was a great chance to have nice discussions with my friends.
Afterwards we went to see a waterfall nearby and then we drove a little way to forgetmenot pond where we were reunited with our whole group and were able to enjoy our barbeque.
I sat meditating on what a beautiful and nearly surreal sight the pond was it was before tucking in to our picnic.
The water glistened beautifully and the background of mountains and trees was something I had only ever seen on google images.
So I relaxed and laughed and ate with friends in that wonderful mountain setting. What a beautiful evening it was. That was my first experience hiking and I totally loved it! I cannot wait, to go on my next hike and I know there will be plenty more in the future, along with plenty more fascinating stories!
I hoped you enjoyed reading about the day I climbed a mountain. It really was an unforgettable experience and an amazing start to my summer vacation.
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