I simply have nothing to say about Caleb…
Just kidding! Caleb was the best man at my wedding and honestly he’s been one of the biggest supports in my life. He’s helped me through countless dilemmas over the years and continues to help me process various thoughts. We grew up going to camp for 1-2 weeks each summer with that being our only contact over the 365-day year. Thanks to modern technology we managed to maintain our friendship, over what seemed to be an eternity, and it seemed like those weeks at camp were total gold each time. He’s endured countless awkward encounters between Celine and I when we first start liking each other and he’s probably the reason why we ended up dating in the first place. I’m so thankful to have a guy who is willing to listen to my thought process and say, “I told you so or I disagree” if I need to be humbled a bit. There’s a lifetime of stories I could share and many more that I know will happen but it would be a disservice to not share an unforgettable hike we experienced.
I think it was my first year of college when Caleb and I decided to venture to the mountains and hike Ha Ling Peak. This was my first winter hike and I wasn’t really sure what to expect but Caleb, a more experienced hiker and outdoorsmen than myself, seemed to be extra prepared. As we started walking up the path I soon realized winter hiking with a heavy camera bag is a lot more exhausting than in the summer on dry ground. It wasn’t too long into the trek that we had to delayer and try to prevent ourselves from sweating on what seem to be a beautiful sunny day. This going and stopping proceeded for the following three hours with stops at nearly every switchback. I’m not sure why we were struggling so much but needless to say, it was an unexpectedly long way up. We managed to emerge from the tree line and enter into the thigh high snow to begin the scramble towards the summit. It was also at this point that a guy who was trail running passed us in what could only be described as Speedo length shorts. Partially discouraged and disgusted we continued through the deep snow but it was also around this time the wind drastically picked up. We thought it would be a safe bet to bunker down behind a waste high tree to eat some of our snacks and make a cup of tea.
After eating, drinking, resting, and waiting for the wind to die down, there were even more ominous clouds than before so we made the call to head back rather than exhaust ourselves and summit. Just a recap, three exhausting hours up, one man with short shorts, a storm rolling in, and a summit less hike was our day so far. Somewhat disheartened, neither of us wanted to hike back down so when we saw faint grooves in the snow connecting one switchback to the next we were optimistically curious. It was only after seeing them twice that Caleb decided to slide down a short one. I tried the next one where we managed to cut out a good 2 minutes off hiking. As you might have guessed we made the call to just keep sliding. We slid, and slid, and slid, and at some points we were going so fast that we had to grab onto trees to slow down and regain control! Other than the odd log grinding across our backsides it was an absolute blast! Multiple times we paused to make sure we still had an idea of where the trail was and in what seemed to be a mater of seconds we made it to the bottom. The three-hour hike up had just been completed in 30 minutes by sliding down on our butts. It honestly felt like we were in a fairy tale or a scene from The Hobbit. The childlike joy I felt afterwards was unlike anything I remember, which is why I think it has left such an impression on both of us.
That’s probably one of my favorite hiking memories and I’m looking forward to the future days where Caleb and I create more stories like this one. Thanks again for reading and if you were curious the photos below are also from our hike to Troll Falls in Kananaskis.