Back in 2004, I started getting into hiking. I had moved to Vancouver from Toronto in 2000 and I had did a couple of day trips at that time.
I started reading some online forums and people were posting their trip reports as well as pictures and I really wanted to get out there and start
experiencing the great outdoors.
A bit of background: I started first getting into the outdoors and the wild when I was younger, around 13, 14 years of age.
After that, there was a lull in any kind of hiking or outdoor activity until much later. So it is, totally OK
to start if you are older.
In any case, I woke up Saturday morning hungover – I knew I was going hiking in the mountains, carrying a heavy pack on a
trip that I had never done before with people that I never met before (except virtually online) but being young and stupid,
you do what you gotta do 🙂 Word to the wise: Do not do what I did. Hiking hungover is not fun at all!
I cannot remember if I drank enoough to get rehydrated but the trip to the trailhead with my companion from the forum
was uneventful. When we got there, we started hiking together but soon after, it was apparent that he was in much better
shape then I and asked me if I was OK to hike alone to the campsite (3rd Joffre Lake – picture below).
I said “Of course” and soon was left to my own devices! It was a beautiful, sunny, warm summer day and it felt good
being in the mountains. It sounds cliche, but fresh air and the scenery was quite rejuvenating spiritually and physically.
I have ALWAYS felt that whenever I go hiking. A phrase that keeps popping up in my awareness of my thoughts is, “I’d
rather be bumming around in the mountains”. Now keep in mind that it is not always fun – there can be challenging
times, mentally and physically (more on that later) – but if I were asked to pick, I would rather be bumming around
in the mountains.
In any case, I got to the campsite and met my companion as well as the rest of the group who had hiked up earlier. They
were glad to see me and had already setup their tents before and were enjoying their beverage of choice when I got there.
They welcomed me and I started setting up my tent and brewed a cup of green tea. I will be talking about strategies
for setting up camp and beverages to drink in future posts!
Detailed memories are a bit sketchy at this point but one that stands out is that our campsite was right next to a huge
glacier which had an icefall at the edge. In the evening, we could hear big chunks of ice breaking from the icefall
and falling in the lake. The sound was quite loud, that of rumbling thunder and it was quite neat to be in the middle
of nowhere and experience something like that. Other then that, it was very quiet and that is one of the things I really
enjoy about being outdoors (specially in the winter when snow acts as extra sound dampener).
I will talk more about the experience of quietness and meditation in the outdoors at at later point.
– Be prepared for your hike with good rest and make sure you wake up and have a good meal before you embark on a
– Hydrate yourself with water prior to beginning hiking. This will help you.
– Take the time to stop, admire the scenery, take pictures. Uusually, there should be no rush to get to a destination.
Enjoy the journey. Time is precious and a time with a good friend/loved one or alone in the mountains is very precious.