Ha Ling Peak: This reality met me with blue mountains, the smell of spruce, dust rising from the forest road, and the July Sun…

 

The forest became less dense, mountains behind trees became taller…

It is all about the road, not the destination

I stopped to catch my breath and finally had a look around. The forest became less dense, mountains behind trees became taller. The view that I only used to see in my dreams or in photographs by climbers and travelers was my reality at this moment. This reality met me with blue mountains on the right side, with the smell of spruce, dust on the tiny forest road, and with the sunny July day.

Just about a hundred meters were left for our group of seven to reach the top of the mountain. Destination: Ha Ling Peak. 2407 meters.

People who were running, jumping over the stones at the very beginning of the hike, bugging each other and saying phrases like: “It is all about the road, not the destination”, were now tired and wanted to reach the peak as soon as possible. We took one more break before the last meters of the climb.

The forest was left far behind. Around us were only mountains, dust, and rare flowers growing between rocks. “This is for you, madam”, laughed Andy while grabbing a little flower for me.

I honestly have no clue how these flowers have a chance to grow in that environment.

“Let’s go. Just a few more steps and you will be the very first one on the top of the world.”

“Actually, I do not mind the view right here.”

This climb reminded me of life

I could see the Tiffany blue lake in between mountains…

Literally, the view was amazing. From the spot, I could see the Tiffany blue lake in between mountains, the chain of peaks with snowy tops were right in front of my eyes. It seemed like I just had to lift my arm and the crystal clear, bright snow would be in my hand. On the right side, there was a road to the peak that became more and more abrupt.

“Let’s go”, Andy repeated.

This climb reminded me of life. The hardest time is always at the very end when you almost reached the goal.

The whirlwind became stronger and I had to take off my summer hat.

“I’m coming.”

I turned. My sister was walking a few meters behind me. A few more meters behind her all my other friends were trying to climb faster.

An old lady in a pink t-shirt and hiking boots came up to Olya.

“Tired?”

Olya nodded.

“Do you want to know why? You just walk too fast.”

I turned again. Did I mishear?? No. There was a thought hanging in the air. The thought for a new article in my blog, the thought that all our adventure was based on.

Everything around us is unique. We just have to slow down and enjoy the moment. We have to slow down and remember the road, remember the sound of laughter, the steps at the beginning and steps and the very end.

There are no words that could describe all the details of the view

There are no words to explain why the heart is galloping and tears are appearing in your eyes…

I was smiling.

I was smiling and let all thoughts go. I will think about the article for my blog later. I will think about it when we come back to the city and after the hot shower when my tired muscles will rest in bed.

Andy reaches out for me, helping to take the very last step.

I take it.

From the delight of the view, breath gathered in a ball, somewhere in the area of my rib cage. There at the peak, the wind smells like freedom. There at the height of 2407 meters, you should not do anything. You should only sit and be amazed.

There are no words that could describe all the details of the view.

No words that could describe all the feelings that you own during the first few minutes at the peak.

There are no words to explain why the heart is galloping and tears are appearing in your eyes.

The reason is gratefulness, probably. The reason is in the understanding of how small man is. In the act of surrounding this fact. The most definite reason is from the presence of God in that place.

Only the beginning…

I realized – this was not a dream that came true and then left a bitter feeling of emptiness…

The rest of our friends climbed the peak one after another. I am absolutely certain we all had very similar feelings in the first few minutes on the peak.  I realized – this was not a dream that came true and then left a bitter feeling of emptiness.

This dream was only beginning.

***

 

Editor’s note: Be sure to check the latest conditions of the trail before you go. Construction closure is planed over the winter of 2018/2019. The most recent status updates can be found here:

https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/kananaskis/kananaskis-country/advisories-public-safety/trail-reports/canmore-and-area/