Smug Mode

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.”

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Fred had some fun putting together this video of our climb. 

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Photos by Fred Hizsa. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
The unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2022.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Creation, Ignatian Spirituality, Reflections, Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Smug Mode

  1. Brent Unrau says:

    Wow, what a hike, what courage, what humour, (smug mode) what connection to life, God and the present moment. Thanks for sharing, for embracing life as you do. Love the video, inspired me and scared me, both at the same time.


  2. Kim says:

    So Amazing Esther and Fred! I know you made it back but I couldn’t even look at the video along the scree slope! And I’m not usually scared of heights but that was too close! I had to hold the phone away and peek through half closed eyes!


  3. Esther Hizsa says:

    Thanks for braving a view. And for sharing your experience with that post:)
    Always good to hear your voice, Kim.


  4. Twila says:

    I cannot begin to imagine doing this! One hike near Whistler many years ago confirmed it will never be on my bucket list! But it seems like it was a great experience for you both. I applaud you, and thanks for sharing through the video! That’s as close as I would want to get! 🙂


    • Esther Hizsa says:

      Thanks, Twila. May you enjoy what is on your bucket list.


      • Twila says:

        If we all had the same bucket list, the crowds would be too enormous for us to enjoy it. So I’m glad that there aren’t crowds flocking to do that hike so you could enjoy it to the fullest in peace and tranquility, except for hearts beating every step! 🙂


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