It’s not that I was not happy with my life the last year. I actually really enjoy being home with my two girls which is why I am planning on taking another year off of teaching. The last year has been crazy with my husband finishing up his PhD, moving cities, leaving my secure job and raising two young girls. Luckily I have a husband who supports my need for me time and so I planned two trips away from the girls. I got to embark on the first trip with my best friend to celebrate her 30th birthday. How did we choose to celebrate this memorable moment? With an epic mountain adventure!!
I was supposed to drive Dusty out to the mountains to meet Maria. Well low and behold he was in the shop trying to pass the out of province inspection. That is a nightmare for another story! Luckily I was able to borrow my parent’s car and off I drove down the 1A towards Canmore which is the slightly longer scenic route to the mountains. Munching on some delicious Kale chips that I splurged on and a coffee from Euphoria and blaring my new favourite song ‘Fight Song’, I was free of all my adult obligations for 1 night and two full days!
Please note: My enthusiasm throughout this post might make it seem like I do not enjoy life at home. I 110% love my home life. However getting away rejuvenated my spirits and it felt great to have a change to miss the girls and come home for cuddles.
Once I arrived at Maria’s house we checked the weather networks. In fact we checked 4 different forecasts on different websites to see if we truly had to change our plans. Our plan was to hike up a mountain to a ‘secret spot’ and camp above the trees literally 20 steps from a mountain peak. The forecast was thunderstorms. It was so sunny out how could they forecast thunderstorms? We kept going back and forth wondering whether we should stick to our plan or change it. Reality set in and we changed our plans. There was no way I wanted to be stuck up on a mountain in a thunderstorm and risk my life just because I wanted to have some epic experience. We let ourselves be bummed for a total of 5 minutes then we started planning our new adventure…..
First we started to pack. Ok we threw all our gear into the back of her car. It was a bit of a disaster but we knew we had what we needed for our mini getaway whatever transpired as the day went on. Still deciding what we were going to do we started driving. Maria’s first suggestion was baguettes and lattes. It was already 1:30 pm how could I say no! We got these delicious baguette sandwiches from Le Fournil Bakery and they were fresh and loaded with flavour.
Back in the car, lattes in hand and it was time to figure out our next move. As we drove we decided we would first hike to the spot we were supposed to camp and have a mini 30th celebration over ciders. It is not a long hike but an arduous uphill climb over about 2 hours that will make your legs feel the burn the next day.
Hiking without kids is something that I have not experienced in a long time. I am used to speed hiking up mountains and taking breaks when my kids need them. I pack a lot of snacks for them but usually pack minimally for myself and my husband. I try to remember my hat and sunscreen but often just remember these items for my kids. It had been over a year and I was now just worrying about myself. I packed delicious organic pork jerky, cheesy kale chips, coconut chip clusters, two Apple Dry Rider Ciders, water bottle, sweater and rain jacket.
Hiking felt like a breeze. I felt so alive and full of energy even though my legs were completely sore the next day. Getting up to the top and being able an endless amount of time on the mountain felt like such a luxury. To top it off celebrating my bestie’s 30th birthday on the mountain was incredible. We sun bathed, drank a cider and just enjoyed the vast sea of mountains that surrounded us.
We then went to the summit of both Miner’s Peak and Ha Ling Peak. Ha Ling is an incredible, short hike/scramble that is very popular and offers spectacular views of Canmore and surrounding mountains. Miner’s Peak runs alongside Ha Ling. The sun was blaring and the wind was fierce but there was no sign of a storm. We briefly regretted our decision to forgo camping in the alpine but our hearts new we made the right decision. We descended the mountain and reached the base at 7:30 pm with empty stomachs.
After having pizza at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company we picked up some breakfast and contemplated out next move. It was just after 10 pm and Maria had two ideas of where we could camp. When she told me one had better views but was a little bit farther I was sold. I mean the worst case scenario was that we would have to change our plans and sleep at her place in Canmore. We drove to the edge of the Alberta Parks Wild lands and parked. We then hiked 1 km in to a meadow with tons of wild flowers and camped right in front of the Mount Yumnuska a popular mountain amongst climbers. A cider later and I could not keep my eyes open any longer. Not because of the cider but because it was already 12 am and I rarely stay up past 10 these days.
Then I woke up at 5 am… Why? It’s about to get personal. Have you ever had a baby? Now did you breastfeed this baby? Now have you ever spent a full day and night away from this baby? If the answer is yes than you probably can guess why I was up at 5 am. Extreme pain and a pumping session later and I was able to zonk back to sleep. Now that is the life of an adventure mom.
Waking up, opening our tent and having the view of Mount Yamnuska was incredible. Maria turned 30 and her first view in her 30s, beside my face which I’ll admit is pretty sweet, was the view of the mountains. Chocolate cake, cheese and croissants was for breakfast with the breathtaking view of mountains surrounding us. I was pumped to be able to enjoy this moment with her. If I am going to spend time away from my girls this is how I want to spend it.
By Annika Mang