I liked Whistler so much I want to learn how to snowboard there.
The drive alone made a visit to Whistler worth it. Known as the Sea to Sky Highway, there are beautiful waterfalls just feet off of the road. Along the highway the mountains are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, delivering a dramatic effect.
I took it easy my first couple days in Whistler. Staying at an Airbnb with free laundry facilities allowed me to have a clean set of clothes. No need to publicly show off my stripper clothes this time. Having banged myself up while taking down my tent in rainy weather, I used the down time to nurse my scrapes and bruises.
Hours of sitting in my car have left my body feeling tight and I had forgotten about a practice I kept up with while in Dallas…yoga. It had been a month since attending a class and I was feeling like something was missing from my road life, but couldn’t place it. Only when a friend suggested I attend a class did I realize that’s what has been missing from my nomadic life.
So while in Whistler I walked in on a class at Whistler Yogacara and felt like a new person when I left. The 60 minutes of stretching out my tight and beat up body was a welcomed challenge and the last minutes of guided meditation cleared my mind of all worry (the most of my worry these days is where I’m going to sleep).
I tried to tackle a mountain hike while I was in Whistler, too. It was in that six hours of hiking when I was rudely awakened to the danger of rain and snow this time of year in Canada. I had been really fortunate to have beautiful weather on my hikes up until my intense mountain climb. The Wedgemount Lake Trail gains 3,800 feet in elevation in only a little over 4 miles – exactly my kind of hike. The rewarding lake views are spectacular and views of waterfalls and beautiful forest is also a part of the journey…supposedly.
Embarking on the hike while it was raining, I wasn’t naïve to the fact that I would not be seeing much of the lake or surrounding mountains. The rain clouds cover much of the scenery to the extent that only the trees surrounding me are visible. But after seeing all the beautiful sites on this adventure I’m no longer hiking for the views, I’m hiking to be in nature and challenge my body. I’ve become so comfortable hiking by myself (this late in the season absolutely no one is on the trails) I listen to podcasts aloud on my phone. The hours seem to melt away while I’m in the back country and I feel at home.
The elevation climb was a true test of my endurance and at the point I started to see snow I knew I was reaching some intense altitude. It was at a trail marker that told me I was .25 km (a little over 1/10 of a mile) away from the lake when I began to feel uneasy. I’d been laughing aloud while listening to my podcast and feeling like I belonged in that forest, up until that point.
The snow was about a foot and a half deep and beyond me was a rock field. I’ve always been a stubborn person and once I get a thought in my head it’s hard to sway me. Only until I witness my dumb perseverance put me in a bad place (an “oh sh*t” moment), do I adjust my plan.
“Hiking” through the rocks and boulders involved me scooting across it similar to crab walking or sometimes crawling on my hands and knees. At one point I decided to try upright human walking and one of my small, now wet feet slipped through a crevice between two boulders.
You’d think after this fall I’d have turned around. But no, dumb perseverance persisted…once I unjammed my knee and shoe from between the boulders I continued my crab walk and baby crawl to reach the other side.
Feeling triumphant, I pressed onward in the deep snow, excited to see whatever bit of the lake I possibly could. But as I entered the forest, I realized the heavy snowfall had completely hidden the trail. I’d lost it and there were no trail markers to guide me the rest of the way.
In the past I always accomplished whatever hike I set out to do. Most times I would even opt for longer paths to extend my journey because I was having such a good time. It’d been an emotional and physical roller coaster to climb up that mountain and not getting the sweet feeling of accomplishment was a new experience for me.
Surprisingly enough as I stood in that snow-covered forest, probably feet away from the lake, I shrugged, shouted “until next time Wedgemount Lake!” (aloud, because I now talk to myself on regular occasion) and turned back into the snowy rock field for some crab walking and baby crawling.
I’ve changed. I can tell you the old version of me may have attempted to continue blindly hiking through the forest (Traveling Kimi says, “that’s not safe”). Or I may have become upset and cried through my feeling of frustration and failure (Traveling Kimi says, “that’s a waste of energy”). So why the change?
I think it’s because I face little challenges each day and have learned to handle them in stride. Living on the road involves so many unknowns that it is impossible to plan for all scenarios and come out on top, 100% of the time. If the power goes out, the highway is closed due to a fatality, it’s raining/snowing/hailing/sleeting, I don’t have drinking water, I don’t have access to a toilet while driving, I don’t have access to a shower…the list goes on. I’ve faced all these challenges and each time it happens I smile at the “oh sh*t” moment and simply look for a solution, like making snow yellow.