Doing It Right {Mountain Musings}

Over Canada Day weekend, we took advantage of the fact that the holiday was a Monday and planned a mountain adventure with friends.

The plan was rather simple – everyone converge in Radium and spend Sunday hiking Kindersley-Sinclair, a top rated hike in the Rockies. This particular hike requires you to be at least a group of four due to the fact that it is in Grizzly territory.

We were nine, so it was just fine.

The only problem was, well, snow.

Something that is hard to take into account is what the weather will do and how much snow pack will be left at certain times of the year. This year is incredibly late with the melt and as such, we had to modify the plans. Hiking in an avalanche zone just didn’t seem like a good idea.

  • Especially when your name is Donloree.

Instead of doing a 17.5 km hike with 1,055 meters of elevation, I concocted the idea of doing a shuttle hike that required four cars, two at each parking lot, and was 31 km long with what seemed to be 2,000 meters of elevation gain and loss.

Arnica Lake

Mountains make me happy. Especially when you stumble across a gorgeous lake after hours of hiking!

I basically doubled the day and didn’t bat an eyelash.

Nor did anyone else in the group.

The morning arrived and we hit the trails. Within about 23 seconds, the runnerly people in the group picked up the pace and ran away from me and a few others, never to be seen again that day as they were intent on a good day of training and a specific end time.

  • And then there were two.

One of the things that I enjoy about hiking with others is that you have time to have conversations that don’t require constant talking. Long pauses, contemplated answers, and well-examined points are all hashed out on the trail.

On this specific day, I was gifted to be able to hike with a friend who has a welcoming heart. He chooses to be a friend, first and foremost, and doesn’t require anything back other than your open heart. It is always a pleasure to be able to talk to someone and only sometimes use words.

As we headed back down the mountainside from one of the passes after being off course for 3 km, back to the start in search of a friend that might be behind us while Speedy ran ahead to see if she was in front of us, we had an exchange that lodged itself in my brain.

If you aren’t enjoying yourself, then we have to change something so that you can.

Enjoying the View - Arnica Lake

I love stopping to smell the mountain roses!

How much of our lives is pushing through what is and trying to get to the finish rather than making the necessary changes to enjoy the journey?

Like hiking, most of life is working towards mountaintops, not being on them.

The view from a mountaintop is incredible and your heart usually wants to burst with joy when you arrive, but within a short time you realize that you have to keep going. No matter how much you linger, you eventually have to go back down to the start and choose a new mountain to climb.

95% of the hike is either striving for the mountaintop or moving away from it.

Why do we only look forward to 5% of life?

Savouring the process of working towards something means you’ve found a way to live a good life. Isn’t most of life spent climbing, working hard, and moving forward even when your lungs want to explode and your legs are jello?

  • The view from the top doesn’t matter if you don’t have amazing people to share it with and you hate everything about getting there.

How go you about your day is what your life will become, so why not find ways to enjoy it?

Savouring the small things in life matter.

  • Drinking french pressed coffee out of hand thrown pottery mugs at 5:30 in the morning while I write
  • Using the heated seats in my car when it is -40 outside or just whenever I want
  • Planning 3 trips at any given time and making custom Google Maps loaded with a million ideas and about 1,200 to do lists with sharpies
  • Having sheets that make sleep come quick
  • Taking the long way home on my bike whenever I can and want to
  • A glass of wine on the balcony while watching the day slowly slip away into tomorrow
  • Having friends over even when the house isn’t spotless and dinner isn’t perfect
  • Trying new things and allowing myself the option to hate them

Living a life of small pleasures doesn’t mean that you aren’t striving for big accomplishments, it simply means that you are choosing to enjoy both the big and small of life, as much of it as you can.

Kootenay Parkway river

I fully support stopping on the side of the road and exploring, just because you can. Does it really matter what time you get home?

Practicing gratitude and enjoyment of the mundane, every day life means that when chaos and hard times come, which they always do, you have the ability to still have something to enjoy, something to look forward to, something to appreciate.

  • In the midst of the horrible, you can still find a way to live a good life if you’ve practiced how to when things were going well.

By learning how to weave in good moments into the fabric of your day, the tapestry of your life suddenly becomes a piece of art that you don’t mind having on display.

What must you change in order to enjoy your day? Your life?