After over a month of planning, writing lists, food prep and waves of nervous excitement, our backpacking trip finally arrived.
I started packing a week in advance, checking off my lists carefully. Following a hearty breakfast, we loaded the car up and hit the road. In a couple of hours we were registered for the trail, unloading the car, loading up the deluxe chariot a friend lent us, and strapping on our packs.
Only a few minutes down the trail, Miss S had a spill. She had a cry, then was back on her feet ready to trudge on. We were hiking the Berg Lake trail, under the colossal Mt. Robson. We had a 7 km hike into the back-country campsite on the shore of Kinney Lake. The trail is a wide, even path with only one big hill and one section of switchbacks leading up the side of a mountain to get around a bay on the lake. The only unexpected issues were a giant puddle that soaked the bottom of the chariot, and a fallen tree we had to lift the chariot over.
One of the things I love about these trips is the sense of wonder and excitement that the kids radiate, and it is infectious. They were bubbling with joy as they discovered many tiny pebbly creeks with banks of moss and shadowed by ferns. They chatted excitedly about fairy homes and fairy lakes and fairy streams, naming each and every one. The forest was magical, even I felt it.
Arriving at the campsite, we were ready to set up our base camp and eat some supper. The girls had fun playing along the lake and helping set up. While Miss A and I slept in the tent, the older girls slept out “under the stars” with Ben. He had set up a tarp in case of rain. Unfortunately no stars could be seen through the haze from BC forest fires.
Early in the morning Ben took the older girls to fill up the water containers to start making breakfast, finding rabbits hopping along the trails. What a fun surprise! We had a relaxing morning and then headed further up the trail on a day hike. The next section rose up high onto the mountain, where the girls climbed over gigantic boulders covered in moss. Then the trail went down again to the river bed. We crossed tiny bridges over thundering white water. On the other side of the valley we spent some time relaxing in the shadow of the trees. My heart felt so full watching my family laughing, playing, connecting. It was truly a gift to be together with no distractions. Out there I felt a soothing peace, and a quiet calm within. Despite these trips being so much work, for me, they are so worth it. I feel renewed and refreshed.
Making our way back to camp, we took the lower trail across the Kinney Lake flats where the rushing river spreads out over the rocks in to many little streams. What a wonder to watch our girls. Miss S was like a wild pony racing across the flats, leaping over the streams. Miss B scrambled up every large boulder to stand triumphantly on top, hands on her hips.
Wild. Free. It was refreshing.
The next day we slowly packed up our camp, lingering in the cool morning stillness. The sun came out as we started down the trail.
The hike back we tried to focus on the trail in front of us, the thundering river beside us, the towering cedars beside us, and on the wonderful experience we had. We pushed thoughts of the week to come and to-do list out of our heads, wanting to soak up the present.
It was a stunning retreat. Out family was renewed and strengthened. I am so proud of our strong mountain girls who hiked a total of 18km over the 3 days, all on their own, carrying their own water and snacks most of the time. One girl asked if we could return every year, to which the other excitedly exclaimed, “Or next weekend!”