So we got to climb one more mountain after all. And not just any mountain–Black Tusk. Bagging this peak is not just a walk in the (Garibaldi) Park. You have to backpack 9.5 kilometres and up 900 metres to a base camp and then hike 7.5 more kilometres up another 800 metres through alpine meadows and a scree slope, and then scramble up “the chimney.”
There was a fair bit of talk amongst the hikers (predominately aged 40 and under) about this climb. “The Tusk is way too scary,” said one. Another said, “A fellow that climbed Robbie Reid said Black Tusk was too risky.”
We didn’t intend to climb the Tusk. But when we found out the trail to Mt. Price was flooded and impassable, we headed to Panorama Ridge with everyone else.
But Fred doesn’t like doing what everyone else does. We hadn’t gone fifty metres when he said, “What the heck. Let’s do the Tusk.”
We climbed the Tusk decades ago. I remembered being a little freaked out. I also remembered the spectacular view from the top. “Let’s do it,” I said.
So we did. Even though my body was older, it had more memories of taking life one step at a time. As long as I felt secure on this rock and had a good handhold there, I could take the next step.
You can imagine that we seniors felt pretty proud of ourselves. We were definitely in smug mode.
View from the top of Black Tusk
We hiked down enjoying views of Garibaldi Lake and Garibaldi Mountain, crossed over streams and passed by fields of wildflowers still blooming. The summer was coming to an end. Yet I felt the tug to keep playing. After all, don’t people our age get to do that?
Garibaldi Lake and Garibaldi Mountain
Before we headed back to the city, we camped for two nights at Alice Lake and rested. Well, Fred rested. I wrote my blog post, prepped for a podcast, wrote up my verbatim for peer supervision, worked on some material I was presenting for Living from the Heart, and read over the opening chapters of The Ignatian Adventure, since I was preparing to lead a directee through the Spiritual Exercises.
In that reading, I was reminded of Ignatius’ call to do the greater good for God’s glory. Ignatius gave up “vain pursuits” to serve the poor and help people experience God’s love and find their life’s purpose through praying the Exercises.
While I wouldn’t call being outside hiking and biking a vain pursuit, that isn’t all I want to do with my life.
Right on cue, a few days later, Pastor Ruth preached on the value of setting aside our personal freedoms for the sake of others. And haven’t I seen that theme in episode after episode of Stranger Things? (Gotta keep up with the grandkids, you know.)
A part of me would really like to retire from the stress of deadlines and commitments, but another part of me remembers how God is with me, placing my foot upon a rock here, showing me a handhold there, and, oh, the beauty of seeing others find themselves in God. Well, that’s priceless.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver, The Summer Day
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Fred had some fun putting together this video of our climb.