How many of you have a go-to hiking/adventure buddy? Someone you can call and say “Want to go ice skating on a frozen mounatin lake in -20C with me?” Someone whose response is “Hell yes!” That’s my friend Samara. Ever since we did our first hike two years ago, we became fast friends and experienced a ton together.
I knew Samara because I was her cheer coach when she was in high school! When she started getting into hiking she messaged me to go together one day. Our first hike was to Goat Lake in Waterton. You never know if someone is going to be compatible with you when you hike, but as soon as she got in the car and started chatting away I knew we would be a good fit.
She’s moving away to Kelowna to go to UBC’s Okanagan Campus and to pursue her love of outdoor recreation.
I’m going to miss her and wanted to do a little ode to all our adventures over the last two years.
Goat Lake was out first hike and I loved that Samara was like me and loved to stop to snap pictures and admire views and colours. On our way down we thought we would scramble up to the top to get a look at the view. I was so happy to have a companion willing to go off trail on a route we were not familiar with. After awhile we realized that we were nowhere near the peak and the climbing was getting sketchy. We had a bit of a time picking our way down, but we laughed and enjoyed the misadventure. That solidified us as hiking buddies for life!
The next month we hit Carthew Alderson. One of the three hikes part of the Triple Crown of Waterton challenge. This is a great hike because you shuttle up and enjoy a scenic one way hike with a bit of climbing in the beginning and then all downhill on the way back. Toward the end of this hike we got caught in the rain and at one point a rain/snow mix. We laughed through the soggy boots and splashed through puddles happily.
Ice Skating on Waterton Lake
This is my second most memorable adventure moment with Samara. I called her when Ryan and I were in Waterton one freezing winter day and I realized that the entire Waterton Lake was frozen over and safe for skating. It was -20C and there was no one on the lake but the two of us.
Cameron Lake XC Skiing
I love organizing girls trips and Samara was part of a large group of girls who went cross country skiing to Cameron Lake. No one in the group had been before besides myself and the snow was really sticky making for a difficult time of it. We still had a blast but it turned a few people off cross country skiing. Whoops!
One unseasonably warm November Day, Samara and I hit Goat Haunt, also known as the Lakeshore Trail. It was +15C in the middle of November which made for an amazing hike. The whole hike I was telling her how cool the suspension bridge at the end near the Goat Haunt port was. What do you know, they take all the planks off for the winter! Ha ha! Are you seeing a pattern? Nothing goes quite like we planned! But Samara is like me, happy for a day out in the mountains and able to enjoy the misadventures.
Hiking Mt. Galwey will be the MOST memorable adventure I’ve ever been on with Samara! We went early in the season and as we started scrambling toward the peak, there was a lot of snow, ice, and loose rock. As we scooched around a narrow ledge I looked at Samara and she and I both wondered if we were going to do it. My gut was telling me to not go any further and later she told me so was hers. Never ignore your gut, human intuition is an amazing thing!
The last 20 metres up the peak was a climb through a chute. A boulder came loose and came tumbling down the chute. The boulder came barrelling down on a 12 year girl in our hiking party and left her with a hole in her leg.
Samara and I were below her and I was able to hide behind a corner. The boulder broke in half and half of it hit Samara in the arm and somehow she was able to catch it and hold it because she knew I was below her. She made sure I was out of the way before she dropped it. We were so lucky that the boulder didn’t send either of these girls down and off the mountain.
You can read all about this event on the post HERE. To sum it up, we wrapped the girls leg with shirts (because we didn’t have a first aid kit) and she managed to get down the mountain where an ambulance was waiting to treat her leg. She was ok but has a gnarly scar with a story to tell.
Nothing will bond you to your hiking buddy better than overcoming an emergency together.
This early season hike was the weekend after the Mt. Galwey emergency and Samara and I were both relieved for a mellow hike staying on trail. What we didn’t anticipate was all the snow! We kept falling in up to our thighs which made for an interesting hike. Halfway into the hike we lost the trail to snow and began following random snowshoe prints in the snow. We nick named the mystery snow shoer Bud McKenzie and had fun talking about what Bud was like. We followed Bud’s prints up, up, up a mountain until we decided to turn around due to a lack of food and water.
In the end, this hike wound up being 13.5 miles and we were all exhausted but happy at the end.
July 1 Canoeing
On July 1st last year, Samara and I took her Dad’s Canadian canoe out for a day on the water. We started off on Waterton Lake but it was really choppy.The 10-20 km/hour winds turned out to be very hard to paddle in and shortly into it, we noticed a large crack in the canoe. It wasn’t leaking, the outside seal was fine, but with every wake we bobbed on it would open up and then close again.
So we decided to be safe and head to calmer waters, reloading up the canoe and heading to Cameron Lake instead. We had an incredible day paddling to the other side of Cameron Lake, discovering a pond and swimming in the lake.
In October of last year I hit 15 weeks into my pregnancy and the nausea finally went away, just in time for a late fall hike to what I like to call Vimy’s Pimple. We originally planned on hiking to Vimy’s Peak but we left too late in the day. We had a funny misadventure concerning a closed gas station but finally arrived at the Wishbone Trailhead. This was such a great hike. I was so happy to be outside after more than three months of constant nausea and the views from the pimple were amazing! We also got to hike near the elk herd on the way back.
XC Skiing in Castle Provincial Park
In January, Samara and I hit the Syncline Trails in Castle Provincial Park for some cross country skiing. I was 27 weeks pregnant and itching for some outdoors time. We had such a blast because the snow was perfect for xc skiing, light and fluffy, and we were able to glide along smoothly. We also had a lot of fun because of all the little hills on this trail system. We fell a lot and I took us on the wrong trail missing the lake we were trying to see. Ha ha! More misadventures; but happy adventures!
Seven weeks after having TyTy, Samara and I hit Castle Park to hike Carbondale Outlook. I was DYING for some outdoor time after having to spend 6 weeks on my couch recovering from a C-section. I knew I needed a hike without a ton of climbing, and it had to be only half a day because I didn’t want to be gone from the baby all day. This hike was perfect and actually… no misadventures! Everything went well, we had a great day.
How fun that we got to spend a second July 1st adventuring in the mountains together. This time we tackled Turtle Mountain in Crowsnest Pass. And of course I took us on the wrong trail to start and we had to bush wack up the mountain for a couple miles before finding the actual trail. Samara was very patient with me as I was NOT in shape for this hike and I seriously died the whole way up. Even better, we were caught in a rain storm on the way down and had to pick our way down very carefully in the wind and rain. Another super memorable day!
We got in one final epic hike before Samara moved away by doing the Highline Trail, aka the Garden Wall, in Glacier National Park. Another memorable day! Most memorable because it the first time either of us hitch hiked in order to avoid the long wait for the hikers shuttle. I couldn’t think of a better hike to do before she left. The views were amazing, all the people we met were from Wisconsin, and we both made sure to soak in every minute of it.
SO many good times! SO many misadventures! SO many memories!
I am going to miss Samara so much but this isn’t goodbye forever. She’ll be home for holidays (hopefully) and I’m more than happy to head to Kelowna with Ty Ty next summer for a visit and some more adventures. I am so grateful to have had these last two years of Samara’s friendship and company and she’ll be greatly missed.
Do you have a go-to hiking buddy? Send them a message and make plans to get together ASAP!