I had originally wanted to go to jasper and try a solo back country hike, but I couldn’t find any information online about available hikes. I called the tourism center and explained that I couldn’t find anything online, I was then berated by a man with a french accent for daring to talk down about the jasper website. I checked the site and it was essentially useless, except for the advertisements for Banff, which reminded me I have a friend in nearby Calgary that would likely appreciate a good hike. I texted Adrian, and sure enough, he was on board for a day hike on Sunday, we decided Canmore would be more fun, and closer.
Saturday evening I drove straight from work and got to Adrian’s house, in Calgary, quite late. It was the first time I had seen him since my wedding and the first time we have really hung out in a few years. He gave me the tour of his house and we played some video games, it turns out I am still terrible at them. We then packed it in for the night as we knew an early morning was on the way. Adrian’s two cats, Asher and Bowser, seemed insistent on making sure I didn’t sleep.
The next morning we headed for Canmore. The night before we had looked into a few trails and that morning we went to the tourism center to find out about conditions and recommendations. The people at this center were far more helpful than the ones manning the phones at Jasper. We decided on Buller Pass it was the right length and difficulty, the drive there was scenic too.
We arrived at the trail head, parked and crossed the road to begin. The trail started as dense forest, a few bridges, and a slight incline.
As we came toward the end of the dense forest and into the thinner alpine forests we stopped by a creek so I could take a picture for a young family. Just thought I should throw in how nice of a guy I am. We then came across one of the trails offerings, a small but scenic waterfall. The constant water flowing had carved a small pool in the bottom, not big enough to swim in, nor would we want to in the only 10°c weather.
After the falls, the trails switchbacks grew steeper and the views grew better. The trail seemed to hover right at the tree line for a long time until it broke into a small meadow with a few meandering streams crisscrossing it. From there it was bare rock and snow all the way to the top.
As we approached the summit, the wind started to pick up, the temp dropped, the hills got steeper, and the skies started to get dark. When we got to the top the wind was cold and strong but the view was amazing. We took a bunch of photos as well as did our fare share of hooping and hollering.
We then turned back down the trail. Heading out is always faster but we knew we had to hurry, the weather could turn on us any second. It wasn’t long before we were stung hard by hail and a strong headwind. On one of the snow patches, I started laughing at Adrian for slipping and falling on his rear, karma got the best of me and I was immediately given a seat as well, it seemed a reasonable time to take another picture of our adventure.
Eventually we reached the treeline which helped to shelter from the wind, the weather was starting to improve too. We decided to stop at the little creek and have some lunch. It turns out in our falls we had crushed our lunches, Adrian’s cup-of-noodles was crushed rendering it and his heavy thermos of hot water useless. Nothing hurts more than packing a heavy item you cant use. He at his raw noodles and I was still able to enjoy my crushed up boiled egg, they’re pretty hard to destroy beyond edibility.
We eventually reached the trailhead and rejoiced at the sight of Adrian’s truck. On the ride home we discussed how he will likely now spend all of his money on hiking gear and that we are for sure doing this sort of thing more often. It was Adrian’s first “real hike” and we both learned a few things. He learned the value of light weight gear, and that Styrofoam cups aren’t a good idea. I learned that… um… what did I learn?? Oh, I got it! I learned the most important lesson of all: Hikes are better with friends.
This was my first major attempt at anything remotely adventurous since I’ve been home. I’m confident saying I can still hike like a madman. Its comforting to know I can still do some things.
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