Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Women in the Wilderness

It all started when Ingrid announced that she was going "hikin'" in the mountains for her 50th. birthday. "Not without me, said I!"

It was July, 1998....10 years ago, the year of celebrating our 50th. birthdays. Thank goodness Ingrid had this brainwave then and not on our 60th. Ingrid's niece, Helen Rolfe was involved with Golden Alpine Holidays and was starting up a program called "Women in the Wilderness". This involved being helicoptered up into the Esplanade range of the Selkirk mountains in British Columbia, and hiking from lodge to lodge, 15 pound packs on our backs, in the backcountry for 5 days.

Lake Kinbasket awaiting air lift

We started our "training" run in Lake Louise where the elevation 5,000 ft. is a mile higher than that of Toronto. We were to hike up to Lake Agnes another 2,000 ft. The incentive was the Tea Room at the top, which we heard, from more "acclimated" sightseers [read: children in flip flops, and obvious locals used to this altitude], was serving marvelous tuna salad sandwiches and apricot tea. Gasping as we were, we needed no other encouragement. 7,000 ft. was where we would start from once we hit the real trek.

At 8,000 feet you are above the tree line and walking in a lot of rocky scree and boulders. Mountain goat territory!

When it got hot or buggy you could jump in a lake....or NOT. Some intrepid people can actually jump into ice water and still breathe! Others are required to take the photos :)

Our two guides, Helen Rolfe and Alison Dakin. This is what it was all about. Being on top of the world. The views are stunning and aside from being breathless from the climb, high altitude and thin air, there is something humbling and quietening about these vistas.

The sun sets on a perfect alpine meadow and a huge adventure.

It took longer than normal for this post to appear as I have had to rip apart a scrapbook whose glue has had 10 years to cure and cement itself to the pages!! Sorry Barb...I'm putting it all back now. The complete video version is available on request:)

"The Wild Colours" Photo by paul Gilbert


  1. It's wonderful to think about all we have each accomplished. You had a great experience. What fun to see these pictures.

  2. Are you hinting that you'd like to do it again.

  3. Great pictures. I loved my trip to Vancouver and Alaska and was amazed by the views of the mountains. Thanks for sharing.