Alpine Adventure

Yesterday, I saw this sign posted for hikers about which trails were open...and I'm sad to say that I didn't really believe it. I mean, it's mid-July!! It has been around 100 degrees in Chicago for weeks! So, I decided to see for myself.

I took an open chairlift to the top of Blackcomb Mountain and watched the world around me transform from meadows of wildflowers, to pine forests, to snow and rock. The only other time I've been on a chairlift, I had a snowboard strapped to one foot and I fell on my face every time I tried to descend, forcing the other skiers and boarders to fall over me in a giant pileup. Ugh. The good news is...it's much easier in shoes!! I didn't fall once :)

The Peak 2 Peak Gondolas!
I kept my eyes peeled for Black Bears on the ride up, but didn't spot any today. I tried to picture the scene flying by under my feet covered in snow and skiers, but couldn't quite manage it. Instead, I just kicked back and enjoyed the feeling of the sun on my face and the breeze fluffing my ponytail. After some delicious chili in a bread bowl at the restaurant at the top of Blackcomb, I took the Peak 2 Peak gondola that took me from Blackcomb to its neighboring peak, Whistler. I rode with a grandfather from Vancouver (and his silent grandson) who regaled me with stories of his hitchhiking journey through the US in the early '70s complete with accents...he was quite a character and kept me entertained for the entire traverse. Once on Whistler, though, I felt discouragement wash over me as I reflected on why I'm even here in the first place and what I'm running from acknowledging.

Surrounded by snow and ice, I was reminded of the lyrics to a song that was performed at church earlier this year...I was so moved by them that I clipped them from the bulletin and kept them in a notebook that I happen to have brought with me: "In the bitter days of winter, locked within the ice and cold...All the world seems to be frozen, all the world seems dark and old...When the trees are bare and lifeless and the earth is hard as stone...Troubled times can steal our courage, troubled hearts feel all alone...Far below the frozen surface, melting ice begins to flow...With the rising of the water, hidden seeds begin to grow...With the storm clouds in our faces, we are searching for the sun...We must gather all our courage, for the journey has begun...As the stream flows to the river, as the spark turns into fire...We grow stronger in our journey to the land of heart's desire...Where the evil will be broken, where the wrong will be made right...And the ones who live in darkness, shall be children of the Light."

The giant...
...and mine.
I kept these words in mind as I ascended to the very tippy-top of Whistler's summit, where I found dozens of Inuksuit, including this giant one. The First Nations of this area used these stone landmarks to communicate between travelers and they traditionally mean "you are on the right path." Taking heart, I built my own tiny cairn and reflected on the path that has brought me to where I am today...the good, the bad, and the ugly. Up here with the sun on my face, the valley stretching below me and the trickle of melting snow making music around me, it felt a lot easier to reinterpret everything through a positive lens.

Upon my descent from the summit, it was amazing to stumble upon this large bit of snow graffiti...it was just the reminder I needed that everything is going to be okay. In case it's hard to see in this small-ish photo, it says "Glory of God." :)

No comments:

Post a Comment