Reminiscing about 7 decades of hikes

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Ron Dart looks back over the past 70 years as he celebrates his milestone birthday trip

I lived in Switzerland from 1972-1974 and took in some fine Swiss peaks. I was asked in 1975 to assist in the building of a mountaineering program in the Crowsnest Pass and in February of 1976, a few of us did a winter touring ski trip into Cathedral Provincial Park; we snow caved and skied Quiniscoe Lake (pictured). The Chillwack Outdoor Club (COC) also did a weeklong trip in Cathedral more than a decade ago, hiking most of the charming pathways.

70 decades of hikes - vintage skiing

So, July 23-26 this year, Karin and I wandered Diamond, Glacier, and Ladyslipper Trails. The rim beckoned us, Smokey the Bear and Giant Cleft welcomed us, and the goats patiently posed for photos.

A few of us skied under the full moon in December of 1976 to Mount Assiniboine. The nights were bright from the lantern of the night; we spent full moon hours on the slopes, where the warm fires in the small wooden cabins lured us home after hours and we admired the bright stars. I led a COC trip (a total of 30 people) for a weeklong trip to Assiniboine in 2013. Those who attended the trip now have
memorable albums of the diverse rambles and exquisite loafing days under the blue canopy. I have travelled the area many times over the year, often either Sunshine to Assiniboine or Arnica Lake-Shadow Lake-Sunshine.

Our daughter was keen to do Decker Loop and Blackcomb Lake in July for her 36th birthday. We spent a splendid day by the lake, while the snow was still lingering. We enjoyed the views across the Fitzsimmons. It’s a beauty! The Black Tusk is prominent in our views – and birds are ever eager for treats (see photo).

70 decades of hikes - eager birds and great views
Ron & Karin Dart enjoyed the views across the Fitzsimmons, including the prominent Black Tusk and their visits from birds eager for a treat.

Karin and I brought our bikes with us. We biked the 12 km-long trip and 1000-foot ascent up Redearth Trail towards Shadow Lake. We locked our bikes to a tree after the initial 10 km, and hiked the final 2.2 km to Shadow Lake (a trip total of about 3.5 hours).

On the next day, we headed to Gibbon Pass – with Twin Lakes beneath – and then hiked upward to the summit of Little Copper Peak. Such sights can be seen from the spacious perch! The day was still a lingering beauty as we crossed the valley. We stopped for the afternoon to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine at the base of Storm Mountain.

On the next day, we headed to the expansive waterfalls and Amphitheatre at the far end of Shadow Lake. We trekked up over rock faces near foaming waterfalls and through thinning forests.
(I might add that neither the Little Copper Peak nor Amphitheatre ice caves trails are on topographical maps).

The ice cave at the far end of the Amphitheatre is a ‘not-to-miss’ spot to crawl in when in the Shadow Lake area. On our last day of the trip, we looped around the opposite side of Shadow Lake towards Ball Pass and Whistling Pass. The day ended with a return to our bikes, and the rapid descent took less than an hour. In summary, Shadow Lake offers superb treks in multiple directions. You’ll love the abundance of rock cathedrals and glaciers in abundance. Indeed, a lovely way to celebrate my 70th birthday.

One comment on “Reminiscing about 7 decades of hikes

  • Robbin Yager , Direct link to comment

    So nice to read memories of some of your favorite rambles in the mountains. I too have such fond memories of my own 50 + years of hiking in the Rockies, and still plan to do more. Now relearning how to gear up for lighter travel than we did 30 years ago on back country trails! So doing that, i hope to squeeze a few more memories out of this aging body . I want to wish you a much belated happy 70th! And heres to many more days on the trails in the sky for us oldies, but goodies.

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