Shoulder to Shoulder

Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

With whom will you compare me or count me equal?
    To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?

Isaiah 46:4,5

Aw… you look so cute … would you like me to take a picture of you (the “you” being myself and my favourite hiking partner, my wife)?

Our final morning of hiking the Berg Lake Trail found us at Kinney Lake Campground enjoying breakfast, the stunning views, and stillness of the lake. A threesome of young women were the only other campers sharing the campground with us and one of them offered to take our picture. The picture she captured is a pretty good metaphor of our life. “Shoulder to shoulder” we have experienced life together for more than 45 years. We are feeling the “autumn” of our age but have been blessed to experience many adventures, challenges and beautiful things together.

There’s a lot more to our story that is outside the scope of this hiking blog, but enjoying each other’s company on a hiking trail are special moments that we share.

Berg Lake Trail Sept 30 to Oct 3, 2020

This is a continuation of our shoulder season hike that I began to describe in my previous blog post “Excuses, Excuses”. We had spent the first day hiking late into the day all the way from the trailhead to the Berg Lake Shelter and were planning to stay for two nights before heading back to Kinney Lake for the final night.

If I had unlimited resources to design a house I would build one with a veranda all of the way around the house, a veranda facing four different directions, each with an alternative view … just sitting on a veranda with a cup of coffee enjoying the day is a favorite activity of mine. On one side of the house the veranda would look at a majestic mountain, with a beautiful turquoise lake fed by a stark white calving glacier … the exact view that you get from the veranda at the Berg Lake shelter. For a few days it would be ours to enjoy.

Berg Lake Shelter Veranda View

There were few hikers to compete with for the benches on the veranda and we made the most of it. We ate our breakfast and enjoyed a cup of coffee from the veranda … it is so very special. Somewhat reluctantly, but knowing that there was so much more to see and other hiking tails and sights to enjoy we discussed our options. Toboggan Falls, Hargreaves Lake Route, Snowbird Pass and the Mumm Basin Route are all memorable.

Mumm Basin Route June 2012

We opted for the Snowbird Pass trail, which we’ve only completed once before; but agreeing that we wanted to get back early for afternoon tea, it was unlikely that we would get all the way. On the way to Snowbird Pass you climb up, a long way up, getting a better and better view of the Robson Glacier. It was a glorious day for climbing.

Robson Glacier en-route to Snowbird Pass

Sure enough, we reached the limit of our available time, and we packed it in at this point and headed back for tea, a veranda, and more sensory overload. Another outstanding day to add to our cache of memories.

Melting Icebergs on Berg Lake

Too Soon, Heading Home

On our third hiking day, we began our journey out, but at a relaxed pace. It was a replay of the scenery in reverse of the way up … but it’s always a different perspective to see the trail from the other direction … past Berg Lake, through the glacier plain, down the steep 4 km section into the Valley of a Thousand Falls, past Whitehorn campground, and entering the plain leading finally to the Kinney Lake campground where we would spend the night.

Last Day

We awoke to an amazing mist floating above Kinney Lake and were mesmerized by its ever changing shape.

Soul Work

Trying to write about a hiking trip seems pretty monotonous. It goes something like this: pack up a big bag with food, a tent, a sleeping system, a few toiletries, and a limited supply of clothes suitable for layering to be able to face all manner of weather and carry this now loaded big bag on your back; hike for a while carrying this big bag taking in magnificent scenery; put your big bag down, have a snack; pick up your big bag and carry it some more taking in more magnificent scenery; put the big bag down and take out it’s contents; set up your tent and your sleep system; make supper out of dehydrated food (just add water); get some interrupted sleep on the ground; and in the morning after breakfast … do it all over again. That’s all there is to it … except.

Except for the “soul work” that takes place as the distractions of your life disappear and you actually begin to have the time to reconnect to each other and our Creator. How do you convey that on a blog?

Epilogue

We could not have asked for a more perfect 4 day backpacking trip. It was a fitting way to close out our the summer of COVID, and indeed, a few days after we were back home … winter blew in.

Published by

Victor Doerksen

This blog is written to be a kind of virtual trail guide to those who are already into hiking and trekking .... and an inspiration to those who are just beginning to contemplate extended hikes/backpack trips. Hiking is AWESOME!

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