What do you do when you only have four days off between getting married and going back to work? You take an express honeymoon! Or, as we like to call it, a “mini-moon.” Three years ago I took my two weeks vacation from work to travel to Ottawa with Rob to tie the knot. We had to get there a week early for important things like getting a marriage license, meeting our Deacon, and — of course — the bachelor and bachelorette parties! Then there was the wedding day, and a couple days after the wedding to tie up loose ends, enjoy newly married bliss, and see our families. Which left us with just four days.
We flew back home to Edmonton and drove straight to MEC where we upgraded our camping gear. Then we packed and headed out to the mountains! We stayed our first night in a parking lot in Jasper, and I threw my back out. Apparently sleeping without a mat is only for the young and spry. So extra weight be damned, we stopped in town the next morning and purchased a camping mat for me and a massive knife for Rob to kill cougars with. Priorities.
Then we started the Great Hike Upwards. Our first day was 23 vertical kilometres. By the end we almost killed each other — whose idea was this?!?! (It was definitely mine, by the way). It was gorgeous, though, and an epic way to start off a marriage!!
The hike started in the rain forest. Huge trees, magical lighting, and everything all dewy. I was in love!
We then sprung free of the rain forest into the next ecosystem, which was basically teal glacial water and evergreens. How are there places this beautiful in the world??By the 20th kilometre we were exhausted. My back was broken, and Rob had been carrying my pack on and off. I also rolled an ankle repeatedly towards the end (you know how it is — you roll it once and you’re done for). We had just a couple kilometres to go and we emerged from forest and into the glacier valley where we set up camp for the night. The camping spots there are “pads” in the underbrush – very cushy with moss. There were no bathrooms and no fires. We had packed in such a rush that we never got the chance to set up our mini stove, and it turned out that we needed a screwdriver to do it. With no tools, and no neighbours, we snacked on Cliff Bars and dried fruit and went to bed. The next morning I woke up in a lot of pain. I was pretty devastated. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it back down the mountain, and had visions of being airlifted back to work in shame. Rob helped me sit up, and I spent a couple hours slowly stretching out my back. Kind husband that he was, he offered to start back down the mountain and do it in two days. But we had a clear weather forecast and we’d come so far! I suggested walking for a few kilometres up the start of the glacial pass, and thankfully my back warmed up and we were able to do the 14km round trip. SOOOOOoooo worth the pain!!The glacier. The meadow on the top was stunning. Just… awe inspiring. Then the sun came out and I felt like I was back in Switzerland. We rested on the moss for a while and drank in the sunshine before heading back down to our base camp. I mean, come on!! Isn’t that gorgeous?!We asked someone hiking past to take our picture. Dinner consisted of veggies, dried fruit, Cliff Bars, and cold chilli. After we ate, we walked around the lake.The next morning dawned with clear skies, but we had to leave. It took us almost 12 hours to make it up the mountain, and we still needed to drive the 4 hours back to Edmonton. Shortly after dawn, we made our way down. We bumped into some furry things on the way!Just a little chilly!!It took us half the time to make it down as it had to hike up. Sore, tired, and married, we headed back home!