Hiking – It’s Not Always Sunshine and Unicorns

Photo By- Jaleesa Elford

My first multi-day hiking trip went a little something like this…

A few years ago, I was wandering around like a lost puppy in an Outdoor retailer. I was searching for gators, for rainy weather hiking, as well as a number of other obscure items on the list. These items were going to tag along with me on my very first multi-day hiking trip.  Before that day if someone asked me what a gator was, I would of said  it was either a reptile you run from or a motorized vehicle you dodge if your crazy red neck father is driving. Since I was told to go to an outdoor store to buy these so called “gators”, I quickly learned it was neither of those things.. unless this store started stocking gators as the new bear mace.

A few hundred dollars later, and a hurt ego, I walked out of the store even more confused then when I went in. There were so many items that had so many different purposes. How was I ever going to understand what to buy where and when?! But seriously, someone needs to write a book on how to be an outdoor girl. I would happily spend money on that before going into a store and getting the “you don’t belong here look.” Thankfully that mentality is changing.. but that’s a topic for whole other blog post.

What got me in this position was a great desire to dive deeper into the outdoor would and a best friend…Oh and someone bailed on her which made me choice #2.. not #1… #2 is better anyways.. less pressure.

So I packed, repacked, unpacked, packed and then you-tubed how to fit all the shit in my backpack. Again, someone needs to write a book on this. None the less I finally did it, with no room to spare, and we were off. Our first stop was just outside of Hinton, AB, called Wildhorse Campground. Have you ever tried to set up a tent in the pouring rain without getting the inside wet?  You could say we were pretty unsuccessful. Embarrassingly, it also took us an hour to start the fire and we lock the keys in the car. We were off to a great start. However I did learn that packing noodles are a GREAT fire starter… although probably not very enviromentally friendly.

The next morning we woke up with the most amazing sunrise that reflected onto the lake. To this day, it is till one of my favourite spots. It started the day right. We headed off to Berg Lake to begin our 4 day trip backcountry trip. As we got to the head office, we were informed that the forecast was rain for ALL 4 days. Still on the euphoric feeling from the morning, we headed off, gators and all (thank gosh)

hiking
Photos By- Jaleesa Elford
hiking
Photos By- Jaleesa Elford
From there on, the trip consisted of a few “funny events.”

My girlfriend thought it would be nice to have a flask of baileys for our coffee in the morning.  Earlier that year, I was told I was lactose intolerant. I had been dairy free since. I’m a bit of a space cadet sometimes and didn’t clue into the fact that baileys is cream. Let me tell you that this is the last thing you want to experience in the back-country. It is also the last thing your friend wants to sleep beside. It wasn’t until weeks after the trip I clued into why I smelt like a rotten egg.

 I eat a lot and since my body was trying to stay warm, I was eating even more then usual!  My metabolism was moving as fast as my bowels were. Long story short we ran out of food. We were on day 2 when we clued into our low rations. Apparently my friends #1 choice didn’t eat as much as me..

Once we got to Berg Lake we decided to go for a small hike so we could try to get a glimpse of Mt Robson through all of the fog. The exciting part is that we were able to see most of it!! The unfortunate part is that I began to get a little shaky from the lack of food. As we sat down to take a break, there was a low growl in the bushes behind us. I thought it was my friend making a joke but as she turned around, with the face as white as a ghost, I knew it wasn’t her. We took off down the trail singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall and spice girls at the top of our lungs. I never was brave enough to look behind me.. but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a unicorn in the bush.

That night, while my friend brushed her teeth with her bug spray coated toothbrush, we deiced we would hike out the whole way the next morning due to our lack of food. That morning we woke up to a smelly tent, and the most amazing blue sky. The hike out was incredible. We were able to see the beautiful landscape that hid behind all of the fog.  As we stumbled to the car, shaking legs and all, we grabbed food from the store at the trailhead and hit the road home. We reminisced about how many things went wrong, but how we had the most memorable trip ever.

hiking
Photos By- Jaleesa Elford
hiking
Photos By- Jaleesa Elford

Multi day trips, or even just hiking in general isn’t about being comfortable. Its about being uncomfortable and learning how to handle situations all while staying true to the best version of you. Its a strength test, both mentally and physically. You see, you choose how these events will affect you. And that my friend, is how adventuring outside can be related back to all aspects of life. We choose to laugh at our misfortunes. We smiled through the cold and rumbling bellies and although there wasn’t much sunshine, and it probably wasn’t a unicorn in the bush growling, we still had an amazing trip.

P.s as we were driving back home I realized I forgot my wallet at the trail head store. Go figure!

 

Photos By- Jaleesa Elford

 

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Comments (1)

Aw Jill! This was so awesome!! I love your style of writing & it definitely had me chuckling to myself 😁😁. Xx ZU

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