Summit Ha Ling Peak, that is! I tried a few weeks ago but got caught in a rain storm on the way up and had to abort the mission. Nothing was going to stop me today. I planned for a full on attack and needed three things to happen for this to be a success: 1) and early start, 2) weather to cooperate, 3) others to be ahead of me (after all when it comes to hiking I tend to be a follower and not a leader.)
The mission started at 8:00am when I walked out my front door. The sky was overcast but it cleared the closer I got to my destination. The "pink star" once again, marks my destination. I stopped on the Three Sisters Parkway to snap this shot. I had a quick passing thought "how on earth am I going to get up there!" A friend once told me "you can get up any mountain if you go up the back side."
I arrived at the Goat Creek parking lot only to see three other vehicles that were at the far end near the trail that leads to EEOR. I was there early, check! The weather was cooperating, check! Others ahead of me, no check mark here. I ate my banana and power bar as I waited for the third thing to fall into place and that didn't take long. By 9:30am I set out on my mission. I started my GPS at the parking lot (like I always do) but I wonder if the reported measured distance on maps and in guide books, starts at this sign.
The others that were ahead of me were long gone, disappearing out of sight very quickly and I was O.K. with that. I knew they were there. The first portion of the trail was in the trees boring, not scenic. I now had a follower. He kept his distance, when I stopped he stopped, when I hiked he hiked. The distance between us never increased nor decreased. Was I being a leader? The distance passed very slowly yet the elevation covered increased very quickly. Once above the tree line, my destination became very clear. If you look closely, you will see the summit signs and also a few hikers. I stopped to layer up here as the wind was wicked and the temperature dropped dramatically. My follower now passed me and I told him I would see him up there. I carried on only to meet those few hikers already coming down.
That meant that my follower and I would be the only ones at the summit. We chatted, made introductions, he obligingly took my summit shots for me. Billy had been there many times but never on his own and was wanting to make sure there was someone he could follow up. He didn't stay long, we said our good-byes and I had the summit of Ha Ling Peak all to myself. I loved it! If you click on this photo and look to my right, it looks like a blackberry nestled in the rock. I didn't notice that until I got home and looked at my photos.
I walked around, took more photos. I looked at Canmore down below me. It was here that I decided that I need to be sure to embrace every chance I get to be on a mountain top. "Embrace Today" will be my reminder. It will stay with me and follow me to my next destination where ever and when ever that will be.
I got as close to the edge as I possibly could, going a little beyond my comfort zone, yet still feeling safe. My hands rest on the sheer drop off. I certainly felt like I was "on top of the world" here.
Once I noticed others getting closer to the summit, it was time for me to begin my descent. It was easy and quick. I was thankful I went for the early ascent as I met so many just now making the trek to the top. Back at the car in 2:49 I declared "mission accomplished"!
It was lunch time and too windy and dusty to eat at the car so I followed a suggestion by Adventure Designer to visit Quarry Lake. I found a picnic table with this view, of where I just was, and enjoyed my lunch in the sunshine. After lunch I strolled around the Lake not wanting the day to end but I still had to get home and get ready for my next destination.
What a day to embrace! I became a leader and accomplished my mission!