Bryan and Lisa’s first visit to the Rockies together happened the day after the Great Hoodoo Drama in Drumheller. Compared to that adrenaline-filled morning, the drive up the Icefields Parkway was relatively uneventful. They did a nice hike at Parker Ridge and then jumped into the freezing cold glacier water of a road-side stream.
Since their first trip was so enjoyable, they decided to take a second one a couple of months later. This visit was perfectly timed for golden larch season. Every September, for a period of 1-2 weeks, the larches in Larch Valley turn bright gold as they shed their needles ahead of the upcoming winter.
Lisa and Bryan hit the road right after work on a Friday. Since they both had mild colds, they wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be up all night coughing and sniffling before their hike. So, they stopped at a pharmacy to pick up some medication. Among the myriad of choices, for some reason a bottle of Benylin Extra Strength stood out to them.
After getting in to their Lake Louise hotel at a very late hour, they dutifully took their shots of Benylin Extra Strength. As they went to bed, the medicine induced a sense of peace and harmony with the world. It was magical.
They both had the best sleep they’d had in a very long time (thanks, Benylin!). After having breakfast, excited (and maybe a little nervous – for Lisa, that is), they hopped in the car and drove to Moraine Lake. Well, at least they tried. But when they got to the turnoff, at no later than 8:15 am, they were turned back. The lot was already full. Ugh. Tourists are the worst!
So they had to backtrack to the highway, park in a giant overflow lot and wait for a big yellow schoolbus to pick them up. While waiting in line, Bryan did…something. He then guiltily whispered to Lisa “I’ve done a bad thing.” Lisa wondered what he was talking about, but a few seconds later was hit full-on in the olfactory sensors. It was bad. Real bad. Clearly the old Asian lady standing right behind Bryan agreed, as she was holding her nose in desperation.
Lisa, although clearly disgusted, laughed at the circumstances. Bryan figured that if this wasn’t true love, then he wasn’t sure what was.
They got to the hike without any further “incidents”. Bryan would be lying if he said he wasn’t just a little bit concerned about this being Lisa’s first major mountain hike. Lisa felt totally fine and perhaps Bryan might admit that she climbed the trail more quickly than him (though he was wearing the backpack…).
After the initial ascent they found themselves up on a plateau, surrounded by lovely golden larches. It was beautiful.
After tramping through the idyllic valley, they continued their ascent towards their final destination, Sentinel Pass.
The next part of the trail involved a series of switchbacks. At this point Lisa’s fear of heights kicked in and she couldn’t suppress images of herself tumbling to her demise. Bryan attempted to soothe her nerves with liberal use of his favourite phrase “don’t worry,” which at this point triggered immediate panic in Lisa. However, the pair of them made it safely and for the most part happily to the pass. They enjoyed some gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and an alpine lake, before beginning their descent.
The trail was a bit wet, making for some slippery sections of mud and rock. During these portions, Lisa silently (OK, not so silently) cursed Bryan for bringing her on such a treacherous hike. Maybe Bryan hadn’t tried to murder her on their first date, but surely he was trying to kill her now. However, as you probably guessed from the fact that this blog isn’t just bryan.ca, Lisa survived the hike. Actually, with each tricky piece of trail that she navigated without incident or injury, Lisa’s confidence grew and overall the hike was an overwhelmingly positive experience.
That night they went to Calgary and took some big shots of Benylin!