Take Joy in the Journey

Hiking has taught me a lot, like you don’t always take the route you had planned, or you may not reach your end destination. The saying It’s about the journey, not the destination rings true when hiking. If your only care is reaching the summit, then you’re missing out on most of the beauty of hiking. Sure, the amazing views had at the summit are worth it, but there is just as much beauty along the trail.

With winter fast approaching, I was determined to get in one last hike before Moraine Lake closes for the season. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and the mountains received a good helping of snow. Eiffel Lake was our end destination, and we chose it because with all that snow it wasn’t a steep climb.

The mountains are stunning when it snows, and all too often I take for granted my own backyard; which is something I’ve decided not to do anymore. This hike begins along the same path that takes you to Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass. Since the snow had enveloped the trail, we only ran into two other groups, making for a peaceful trek.

We had read that from the fork in the trail it is an easy hike to Eiffel Lake with very little elevation gain. The weather was brisk, and large snowflakes were still falling from the sky, making you feel like you were inside a giant snow-globe. We were a little fearful of running into a Grizzly, as we were in known bear country, but thankfully the only wildlife we encountered was a herd of mountain goats.

We followed the trail of dense forest for about an hour until we emerged into an open valley, along the side of a mountain. Looking back I could see Moraine Lake far in the distance. Thankfully someone had gone before us, so a faint trail could be seen in the snow. The further we went, the deeper the snow. I would take one step and my whole leg would sink, and then another step and the snow wouldn’t even cover my whole boot.

It was snowing heavily and the trail was being covered before and behind us, so we decided it would be best to turn around. Especially since we hadn’t done this trail before and were only assuming we were headed in the right direction. Cold and wet at this point, we just wanted to make it back to the car. But we both agreed it was one of the funnest hikes we had done all season. We could have looked at it this way: it was freezing, we were wet, we didn’t reach our destination. Instead we couldn’t get over how beautiful the falling snowflakes were, and how much we appreciated being the only ones out there. There are few times in life where you are truly alone, with no cell service or people surrounding you. How fitting that it was Thanksgiving weekend, because this particular trek opened my eyes to even more to be thankful for. Plus, I forgot how fun it is to play in the snow!

If I could give one piece of advice for you to take on your next hike, it would be this – Hope for the view but take joy in the journey.

Christianne Balzun