Saturday, June 27, 2009

Survived the Crypt

The Destination

Today it was all about both, "The Journey" and "The Destination"! How amazingly lucky were the 13 of us today! The day kicked off with a wake up call at 3:30 am and from that moment onward, I felt like I was on top of the world! The plan for the day was to survive Crypt Lake!
The Journey

It all started with a boat ride, so hop on, let me take you on a paint-by-number journey that will knock your socks off! Even though we are on the cusp of July, we still had to tackle snow. It was slippery, we pot-holed a little and I even accidentally skidded on my knee and got a snow rash. It's quite similar to road rash. From snow slopes to talus edges, we experienced a variety of trail conditions. It was along this edge that the party really got started! We encountered an iron ladder secured to the steep mountain side that led up to a large dark opening. On the ladder, I could look sideways but this was not the time to be looking behind me. I peered into the large dark opening only to see it narrowed in size and appeared to be darker in it's hallows. Being 5'8", I had to take my backpack off and crouch to slither through what turned out being a natural tunnel through the mountain. With only a few scrapes and bangs, I came out the other end. Yes! Thumbs up on this portion! That was before I saw what was ahead! The party only gets better as we came upon a three foot wide ledge following around the mountain with only a cable to hold on to. Oh and this ledge is about 600 meters up in elevation. Once around this corner and about 15 minutes ahead we arrive at Crypt Lake which is still frozen in parts and the mountains still holding onto some snow. Crypt Lake was our destination, our dining spot, our rest spot. A few of us dropped out packs and did an hour jaunt around the lake and in doing so we crossed the border into the United States. There I am, standing in the United States! What an adventure hiking from one country to another. I was exhausted, felt a little off balance and needed to cool off. A few minutes in the snow did the trick! I also needed to let the captain of the ship get us back once the trek was done and I enjoyed the breeze and scenery on the upper deck. I have one question for you! Do you still have your socks on?

The Scenery

While experiencing the journey, there are amazing sights to be seen along the way. I always try to remember to look back and not always have my face facing my feet. I would never want to miss seeing a pretty, green, little lake tucked beneath the base of a mountain. The Wild Alberta Rose (Alberta's Provincial Flower) was so plentiful that at times it felt like they were the honor guard along the trail. The historic Prince of Wales Hotel sat majestically on the hill top guarding over Waterton Lake and all those heading to hike Crypt Lake. Yes, 13 is a lucky number as we had no sightings or run-ins with bears, we did see lots of Bear's Breath though!

The End

As the sun was setting on the long drive home, we were still smiling from ear to ear while reliving the day's journey. Smiles were everywhere, even on the side of this "Smalltown Alberta" barn. It's days like this where I get to experience what I did, see what I did, hang with the folks I did, that makes me proud of my country and appreciative to be Canadian!

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