You just go sideways with them.
The original plan of action was to conquer three summits. We ended up conquering one- and having to stay low at our campground because storm clouds engulfed the top of one of our choices, and the campground shook with thunder.
We set up camp at Aster Lake Campground in Kananaskis Country, and watched as the storm rolled in. Mixed rain and snow and even some light hail was falling. From the lake, we caught a glimpse of our objective, smothered in clouds. It didn’t take us long to shrug, grin, and set up a nice spot by the lake to make tea and sketch pictures of mountains. The disappointment at not being able to do the two summits we intended to did not last. After all, we were out in the wilderness- at least a 5 hour hike away from anything as civilized as a parking lot- and we were happy.
It’s all the little things that matter when peak bagging- or for that matter, failing to bag peaks. Not to sound cliche, but it really is about the journey. It’s about the smell of the woods after it pours, or the smell of a match to light your propane stove. The taste of peppermint tea next to a stormy lake, and the thrill of a piece of chocolate after a long hike. This is why people come to the mountains. This is why people love being outside so much. You remember the little things that you take for granted, and you bask in the raw happiness, the stark simplicity.
The next day, the storm had cleared, but smoke from the nearby wildfires had started to drift in. Nevertheless, we were able to do the third summit we set out to do. The ridge on the summit to Mt. Sarrail was long and pleasantly challenging. The top was in sight the whole time, and we pushed to the top slowly, enjoying breaks to admire the views. We were grateful for the opportunity to push our bodies to the limits, and to enjoy the freedom that comes with being high in the mountains.
When plans go sideways, you just have to turn yourself 90 degrees, and go with the flow. Take the opportunities that come to you. Discard the plans that don’t work out. Soak up the sunrises, the storms, the summits, and the victories. Enjoy the journey and forget about the numbers. This is what it’s all about.
A ridge on Mt. Sarrail; a peak in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country. (Alberta, Canada).Kate Hurley is the content creator at A Wild Life, a blog about living an outdoor adventure lifestyle. She lives in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. You can check out more of her posts at www.katewildlife.com.