Thursday September 4th 2003
I needed to get out and hit the slopes again. August was a bust. I was starting to feel like I was missing something.
I decided to do a trip I had wanted to do for some time; to bag Castle Mountain, Stuarts Knob, and TV Peak by spending the night out on the mountain. This was an idea I had two years ago but has been put off time and time again.
By the time I got to Banff the smoke was chokingly thick. There was a possibility the conditions were going to improve near Castle Junction but they were worse.
At Lake Louise I got another coffee and went to the park headquarters and they said that the conditions near the Ice Fields would be better.
At that point the best option for me was to scramble up Tangle Ridge. A change of destination was a good thing because I was not well rested and had a late start for an outing the size of the Castle Mountain trip.
I got to Tangle Falls late in the afternoon and was under way. It was good to be out of the thick smoke but there was still a substantial amount in the air and near the half-way point I was feeling dizzy and decided to quit and set up the bivi.
The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent enjoying the views, relaxing, eating, photographing and reading.
That night was peaceful, quiet, calm and warm. I spent hours looking at stars, and satellites. It had been quite some time since I had been out under the stars and it made me feel as though I’ve missed it.
At one point I observed three small satellites flying in a triangular formation. They were in a very high polar orbit and were moving very slowly across the sky. I wondered if they were some sort of US military satellite experiment.
Moments later in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan I noticed a flash of light. It was as though a satellite had blown up. Two more flashes were observed over the span of a few minutes, then nothing. Hummm…. perhaps it was the trio of satellites blowing up?
I witnessed a few meteors, laid back and thought about life, what a strange journey it is, filled with pain and pleasure.
The next morning I was up before dawn, ate, then was at the summit in 45 minutes. The sun was just coming up.
The views were obscured by smoke and now I have to go back to get a proper panorama.
After spending 45 minutes on the windless summit, I started back down to the bivi and got there at 10:00 AM or so. I took off the boots and enjoyed a morning nap in the shade of the boulder.
It was luxurious and refreshing.
The trip down was via the stream. I missed it on the way up and really enjoyed the different scenery. This peak was comforting and friendly to me.
Not all mountains are so civilized.
So much of what is best in us is bound up in our love of family, that it remains the measure of our stability because it measures our sense of loyalty. All other pacts of love or fear derive from it and are modeled upon it.
1888-1956, American Author, Poet, Journalist
There is between sleep and us something like a pact, a treaty with no secret clauses, and according to this convention it is agreed that, far from being a dangerous, bewitching force, sleep will become domesticated and serve as an instrument of our power to act. We surrender to sleep, but in the way that the master entrusts himself to the slave who serves him.
1907-, French Literary Theorist, Author
The highest compact we can make with our fellow is –”Let there be truth between us two forevermore.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist