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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 12 Apr 2009

Location: Grotto Mountain, Canada

MapIts not flat!

Easter Sunday and no plans, I was somewhat sad that I knew my family was all back home, together, camping and egg hunting for easter and here I was, by myself, eggless, on Easter Sunday in Canada.
I am slowly coming to realise that having no plans certainly doesnt mean that you wont be really busy for that day - just seems to be the way things work here, things just come up, people wait to see what the weather is like and then decide if they are skiing, hiking, kayakking, biking etc and then after a full on day, dinner plans seems to make themselves and you end up at the end of the day surrounded by friends usually drinking wine :) My kinda life!

Today was no different from any other where plans were made on the day to go out with my flatmate and some of her friends for a hike to where they would be rock climbing "Bataan" and hike back. I was told "2 hours each way, slight incline, but a nice hike". So I packed a pack with some food and water and after a little playing by everyone on the mountain bikes in the street to test them out now that the snow is melting and spring is setting in, we were off.

It was quite cold setting out, but the clouds were clearing every so often with the warm sunshine on our backs. Because we were told it was mainly flat, maybe a slight incline, what I ended up walking today was certainly not what I expected, but so much more :) The joke of the day was "its not flat" as we hiked and mainly scrambled up Grotto Mountain to the face of Bataan. There was lots of scurry underfoot which made the degree even more difficult than it was just by itself. Most of the track was zig zagged up the mountain face because it was too steep to go straight up.

I need to set something straight here. Back home, cycling to and from walk on an almost daily basis had given me the idea (mainly from other people telling me) that I was different from others. So for a time, I thought of myself as somewhat fit, somewhat of an outdoors kind of person...
Then I get to Canmore, which is its own little biosphere - Its own mecca of physical activity, and statistically has the most olympians living here than anywhere else in Canada (not bad for a 11,500 population town). In Canmore the people have this intensity about them for the outdoors. So what we think of as a busy day does not even register to them. My friends were planning on walking up Grotto (a feat within itself), rockclimbing for the afternoon, scrambling back down Grotto, maybe heading for a mountain bike ride when they get home...and its not even the amount they do...its the level that they do it. Flat Out! I didnt do too bad scrambling with them until the last 800 metres which seemed like it was straight up when I started to fall behind and pick my track more carefully as the ice and snow started to build the further I got.
So, as I relaxed in the intermittent sunshine, they all climbed up rock faces, levels 5.10a and 5.10b, which in Australia compares to 18-21 grade. I got a few photos if you have a look under "Easter Climbing".

The scramble down had me thinking...if anybody talks about their gear (icebreaker, gortex, salomon etc) doing really well in the outdoors - as I for one have always done, they need to do a winter and summer in Canmore with some of these crazy people. My hiking boots which I thought were awesome had my toes stuck to the tips of them on the trek down (bit ouchy). My "wicker" fabric after the intense climb up had wicked all my sweat away, but stayed there once I was sitting in the 4 degree tempretures to chill my back. This is the place to test gear with its extreme tempretures and terrain as well as the emtreme people who live here.

I had forgotten all about the intensity of the day once we were all in the hottub, and actually thinking about how enjoyable it is to be outdoors all day, and maybe sometime soon, being able to keep up :)

Hope you all had a wonderful easter. Im certainly ready for a big meal and a nice bed to crash in. Enjoy the photos.