We left July 3 in the evening with Jackie and Eldon. I had to work until 5:30 p.m., so Keaton took me home to change and get all my stuff and we all made a quick stop at Dairy Queen. The van has a DVD player, so we watched "What About Bob?" and a Mormon comedy version of "Pride and Prejudice". We arrived at Robson Meadows Campground to spend the night there with some people from our group. Keaton and I shared a tent with Austen and Caitlin. Mom and dad shared with Uncle Curtis and Jeremy.
We had a good breakfast in the morning then made our way to the visitors centre to check in and watch the safety video for hiking.
Gibb and Clarke squad
We parked the van on a road near the start of the trail, made sure we had everything and everyone's packs were fitted right. And we started!! We did about 6-8 kms for Kinney Lake and stopped there for lunch. We then did about the same amount to Whitehorn, where we set up tents to stay the night there. We played some games near the river and had hot chocolate too!
We got up that Wednesday and packed up to hike the rest of the way to Berg Lake, and most of it was uphill! About half way up, we stopped for lunch at Emperor Falls, which was really cool! When we arrived at Berg Lake, we set up tents again and went to the shore. An ice berg had broken off the mountain, so the guys decided to climb all over it, which was hilarious! Keaton stood on it so it looked like he was surfing! Keaton and I, along with Jeremy and Sam decided to hike Toboggan Falls with caves at the top. Curtis was with us for a bit, but turned around. I don't blame him, it was hard! It was about 3 kms straight up! After some struggling, we made it up. The guys decided to explore the caves. I went in a bit, but I decided to sit outside for most of it. They came out all dirty from the wet cave walls, but they loved it! We hiked back down and went into the lake again really quick.
We had dinner and all chatted for a while.
View of Mount Robson
Outside the caves
Thursday, Keaton and I, along with Jeremy and Tim and Sam, got ready to hike to Snowbird Pass, which is 11 kms up and the same back down, so a total of 22 kms. I'm gonna be 100% honest, I WAS DYING. I thought Toboggan Falls was hard, but there were parts going up where we may as well have been actual rock climbing!! Once we got that out of the way, we stopped for lunch in what the guys call Gary's Meadow (Gary was one of their young men leaders when they hiked it a few years ago, so he claimed it as his own!). Keaton said the meadow reminded him of Lord of the Rings and I said it reminded me of The Sound of Music.
We kept going another while to get to the top of the pass. Since we left in the morning, it probably took us about 3-4 hours. But once you reach the top, there is a cliff and you can see a giant glacier and the mountains across from it are Alberta mountains!! So we could see AB from BC! I was so tired but so happy we made it!
We started the trek back down, which probably took us about 3 hours again.
We ran into some people from our group who hiked half way up but decided to go back down so we got to chat with them a bit. When we got back onto flat surface, I started to realize how much in pain I was in.
Plus I got a BAD sunburn on my chest and arms! Seriously, WEAR SUNSCREEN! (I'll try not to make that mistake again!)
At the top of Snowbird pass
Back at camp, Keaton and I immediately changed into swimwear and went to the lake to cool off our sore muscles and sunburns. We rested for a bit then had a late dinner.
We played some cards with people, then went straight to bed.
On Friday, the plan was to hike back to Whitehorn. But that morning, we were talking about possibly hiking all the way back down. We said we would think about it more at Whitehorn. Keaton and I had slept in a bit longer haha so we had to eat breakfast and pack up quickly. Curtis, Jeremy, Austen and Caitlin left before us, same with two other families we went with. Jackie and Eldon waited for us, which was nice of them! We all kept a good pace together.
We stopped for lunch after Emperor Falls with some of our group we met up with. We hiked back down towards Whitehorn, where our group was waiting for us. We all decided to just hike all the way back down. For a bit of it, we had some thunder and light spitting. But it cleared up for the rest of the way. Keaton and I were on our own for most of that part. Again, I WAS DYING. After hiking 22 kms the previous day, and about the same that day, I was toast!
After Kinney Lake, I thought I was going to throw up most of the way. We actually chatted with a couple who were walking close to us when we saw some trees fallen on the path! The wind from the "thunder rain" thing had knocked down two trees!! It was so crazy! As a joke, I said to Keaton, "I just climbed down a mountain, now I have to climb over some trees?!"
But we eventually made it back to the van! Our first group had already left for the hot springs in Jasper. We waited about 30 more minutes for mom and dad. We drove back to the visitors centre to use actual indoor plumbing! We were so sore and walking funny!
We left and got on the highway for Jasper. Eldon decided to pass a car in front of us. But a truck decided to tailgate us as we did. We got back in the lane and the truck went speeding ahead of us and actually gave us the middle finger! We didn't know what we did! But as he sped off, the van didn't shift right and jolted. Something was definitely wrong. Lights started coming up on the dash and Eldon put it in neutral. We came around a corner and pulled over. He tried to restart it multiple times, but it wouldn't go. We were stuck on a highway in BC with no cell service! Eldon flipped the hood and was trying to figure out what to do. He stood out on the road with Keaton to try to flag down cars, then Jackie tried. Keaton said "Kayla, it's up to you now!" Basically using my body and cuteness to get people to pull over... I was frustrated but I didn't let it show. So indeed, I stood beside the van with a box of cookies, with my thumb pointed outward. Jackie also made a sign that said "Jasper or cell phone" which Eldon held beside me. Luckily, within 10-15 minutes, a truck stopped in front of us. He didn't have room to drive us, but we gave him our roadside assistance information and Austen's cell number so the guy could call for us when he got to Jasper. Just as he was out to leave, another guy with a completely empty truck with a back seat showed up and said "I already passed you guys but I realized how un-Canadian of me not to stop, so I turned around!" He was so nice to offer us a ride to Jasper! We packed up some things from the van and had to leave it there with the 4 ways flashing. We got to chat to our driver, whose name was Mark. Once we got back to cell service, Eldon was on the phone with roadside assistance, Jackie was looking for rental cars and hotels, and Keaton was trying to get a hold of Curtis or Austen. And me, I was just texting my mom and sister to tell them I was alive!
Once in Jasper, we figured out the van couldn't get towed until the morning and the rental car agencies were closed at that point (this was about 5:30 on a Friday evening). We had no other choice but to book a hotel room. We got the first decent priced one we could find at The Crimson. Uncle Tyler offered to come get us, but we said we would figure it out.
Amid all this craziness, it was actually a blessing that we hiked all the way back down that day! If this had happened on Saturday instead of Friday, we would have had much bigger delays!
It was pretty funny though too. The four of us were all walking funny from leg pain and I had a huge sun burn. But luckily we got our stuff to the hotel room, then Keaton and Jackie and I went to the pool and hot tub.
We got in touch with Austen who said they tried to get to the hot springs, but they had closed from thunder, so they started to head back to Edmonton. Keaton and I showered while Jackie and Eldon were at the pool some more. When they came back, they showered as well, then ordered pizza. They walked to pick it up, while Keaton and I went to a small grocery store to get aloe Vera gel and root beer. It was probably around 9 p.m. when we started eating. (By the way, if you're ever wanting decent pizza in Jasper, try Loulou's Pizzeria!)
We then found out there was no rental cars available for the next day, so Jeremy ultimately offered to bring Tyler and Lisa's van to Jasper to pick us up, which we humbly accepted! We went to bed after our long and hard day.
When we got up, Eldon and Keaton had to wait for the tow truck driver to pass through Jasper so they could get more of our stuff out of the van. After they did that, we went for breakfast. The hotel was nice enough to offer us a free breakfast after having so much troubles! We stayed in the room until Jeremy got there for us. We packed up the van and checked out of the hotel. When we got to Edson, we got to see the van. They said they would look at it on Monday, so we cleaned everything out, just in case. We stopped at Dairy Queen for lunch then headed back to Edmonton. We watched "Flushed Away" on the drive.
*Update since then: The mechanics checked out the van and it is dead. RIP Odyssey :(*
Back in Sherwood Park, we started right away to sort out camping gear, since we borrowed most of it. After that was done, Keaton cut the grass while I watched some of Batman Begins with Caitlin and Austen. Mom and dad drove us home on their way to drop off camping stuff at the Rolfson's. Keaton and I unpacked at home and started laundry. We thought about going to get groceries but we were so tired!
We actually finished Batman Begins on our own, then went to bed!
So, I wasn't too sure how I would do on the Mount Robson hike, but it turns out I did amazing! We all encouraged each other and were all able to conquer our climbing!
We all had such a great time, even through the pain and mosquito bites!