Ninety days in the US & Canada, more than sixty of it in our beloved tent and over forty-five in the backcountry that we do love even more. We canoed over forty kilometers, hiked more than one-thousand and drove some more on the road. Saw six bighorn sheep, eight bears, ten moose, twelve eagles and countless deer, marmots and squirrels. And I am not even mentioning the mosquitos. Burned a heap of wood in campfires, gas in our stove and are still wondering if there are more stars in the sky or more trees in the woods? Now that our hiking boots are finished as much as our visa, it is time to try and wrap it up for you.
In Montana the saying is: “Camping without beer is just sitting in the woods”. By this standard we did have some camping, but mostly we have been sitting in the woods. Given the specifics of these woods however, this is perfectly fine. Between the California Sierra Nevada and Mt. Robson in Northern British Columbia we have covered some of the most scenic trails that North America has to offer, some of them have names and are well travelled, others did not only lack a name, but also other people. All of them created more pictures and memories than what our brain could take, let alone write it down here. So let’s make cognac out of the wine and boil it down to one-line:
High Sierra Trail, Sequoia, California: Where the nights are so clear and calm that millions of stars reflect in Lake Colby.
Desolation Wilderness, Lake Tahoe, California: Where we finally crossed the Rubicon, and came back to have lunch on the other side.
Winds River Range, Wyoming: Where the sky is big, but there are still enough mosquitos to fill it.
Teton Crest Trail, Grand Teton NP: Where we felt more alive than ever on “Deadmen’s Shelf”.
Yellowstone NP: Where we roamed with the buffalo through sulfur smoke.
West Coast Trail, Vancouver Islands: A “beach walk” where the whales did (almost) spout on our heads.
Murtle Lake, British Columbia, Canada: Where we gave our legs a break and learned that paddling down a river is easier than across a windy lake.
Mt. Robson, BC/Alberta Canada: Where we learned to never trust a Canadian when he calls a lake “warm” enough to swim in.
Glacier NP, Montana: Where the best huckleberries grow and a bear wanted to share lunch with us. We had to decline the offer however, he wasn’t bringing anything to the table…
In between the backcountry tours, we spend our time meeting some old friends and making new ones; scoring food that was never de-hydrated and using natural hot springs to get us re-hydrated. The only things we lost on the way were a water bottle and a few pounds. The amount of things we gained however are too many to list.
On the northernmost point of our loop, right on top of snowbird pass, we did meet a fellow hiker who is also in a one-year sabbatical. He summarized it properly by stating: “Everyone should be granted the opportunity for a sabbatical in the middle of their career, it is just good”. I could not agree more.
Now we are taking a little break from the discovery work in Fiji. The plan is to stay within hundred yards of the beach we are living on and not to use any other footwear, other than fins to snorkel.
Bula from Fiji