Not through embellishment nor calculation is beauty achieved. Beauty is achieved by being singularly different, so unlike anything else the eye has ever seen it is “perfect”.
But mathematically, this place was perfect. The consistent angles and varied but clean cut pieces of jigsaw puzzle that made up the landscape was indescribably designed. And yet, it wasn’t. Nature did this. Nature didn’t aim to look a certain way, it aimed to go about its goals. I wished so badly I had a tour guide or guide book with me to put a name to all this wonder cramped into one space. The pictures below basically represent a 360 view of one area that the eye can see while standing in the same spot.
All photos are from the section of the Panorama Ridge hike from Garibaldi Lake to Panorama Ridge.
What made those trees die? We said forest fire but they’re still standing. Why?
We conjectured permafrost kept the snow frozen despite the 27 degree celcius weather. The snow was nice snow-soft, small granules, fast (How did we know? You’ll find out in a second.) In contrast the snow at Elfin Lakes was large in granules, like pebbles of ice, slow, and melting from below faster than from above (terrible snow).
As we went a little higher along the ridge, we saw people below. Little people! We didn’t know we were so high up (or that they were so low down.)
Moving along we reached the right peak (not the top: far too high and needed to scramble!) and voila! We reached a good point to start sliding. With garbage bags tucked in our pants, we picked the least rock-infested line and dropped in.
The rush was better than any snowboarding I’ve ever done. Being low down, close to the snow is something I’ve fantasized for a while, and this was it! Whereas before I’d just try to bend lower (consequently looking stupid, but enjoying myself more because I could touch the snow) while snowboarding, here was a way where I’d actually be ON the snow, WITH the snow. (I saw a gag video of Worst Snowboarding Inventions featuring a hang glider styled snow ski, where one heads head first on their belly down the snow and not-so-secretly wanted it to be real.) Somehow my companion managed to slide down on her butt/garbage bag toboggan right side up and take a video the whole way. (I, on the other hand, tucked my phone away since I knew I’d be careening, and I was.) It was amazing-after part 1, which was more mellow and definitely safe, we progressed to part 2, which was a steeper drop off that looked deceptively straight or flat from the top-ie, it was definitely steeper than it looked!
Walking back from the bottom of the valley to the trail
Adrenaline had, we trekked back exuberantly. It affected my companion the same way it did me: it was totally worth it. We both now understood why the people who passed us going down on the way up were so full of smiles. It was the best. You had to be too frightened or no-fun to not enjoy it. Outdoor culture is built upon this-and that’s why participating in it is so great. You get to meet people who all value fun and open mindedness with a little dash of crazy who are all willing to share their secrets with you (unless it’s too great to be shared, then you keep it to your friends only.)
The actual destination of the hike was Garibaldi Lake, but it didn’t seem awe inspiring to me since I couldn’t interact with it-the trail was completely smooth, the lake full of tourists, the position smack in the middle of the Panorama Ridge trail.
This was full blown summer. Here’s proof in case it doesn’t seem that way:
I don’t know what makes me this way. I just know that I need it. The adrenaline rush. I count down from each time I have one. Once it’s been too long, I feel myself wither. I push myself and feel bad when I fail. So far I’ve kept in my comfort zone and failed more than I’ve succeeded. But even though I set out and fail to reach my objective, I learn a little bit about myself. And that’s that I can’t live without it and that failure isn’t an option, it’s a necessary stepping stone to finding the next move.