Saturday, September 24, 2016

Last Day at Mt. Assiniboine Lodge

Sunday Septemer 18th was our last day at Mt. Assiniboine Lodge.  We got up with our 7:30AM water delivery, but were asked to pack up our stuff before coming to breakfast.  This was our departure day from Mt. Assinboine and there was to be a complete turnover of all 30 guests.  The housekeeping staff wanted to change over all the bedding in advance of the next 30 guests arriving so that all the linens could be flown out for laundering.  So needless to say we were again a little late in getting to the dining room for breakfast.
The weather had taken a turn over night and the skies remained very cloudy.  It was considerably cooler than it had been, and there was a stiff breeze.  The mountain tops were all dusted with a frosting of fresh snow.  Had it been a nice day we probably would have considered going out for a short walk.  But as conditions were somewhat miserable we just hung around the lodge for a while, visiting with the other guests, and then got ready to fly out.  There were about a dozen flights going out that day, and probably just about as many coming back in.  We lucked out and were scheduled on the first flight, at 11:30AM.  We were up at the helicopter pad with our gear, a little bit in advance, waiting for that first flight to arrive.
The second helicopter flight was not as nerve-wracking for Margarit as the first one had been.  Mostly we just enjoyed the scenery on the short 10 minute flight out.  We packed our gear back over to the truck, and prepared to hit the road.  The bags seemed a little heavier than they had going in and later I realized that Margarit had brought out a couple small rocks for her flower bed.
By about noon we were on the road.  We made a brief stop for fuel in Canmore, and then continued on our way.  We had to make a side trip over to Invermere, British Columbia.  Had there been a direct route there, it was actually not all that far from Mt. Assiniboine.  But by road we had to circle up through Banff to Castle Junction and then down through Kootenay National Park to Radium Hot Springs and Invermere.  This was about a three hour drive.
We arrived in Inveremere at about 3:30 and eventually found the Pyne Logs Gallery.  We were picking up the prints from my photo exhibition that was ending that afternoon.  We spent about an hour taking all 20 prints down off the walls, packing them into my crates, and loading them into my truck.  By around 4:30 we again hit the road, this time for the long drive home.  We elected to travel up through Lake Louise to Saskatchewan Crossing and then on out to Nordegg, Rocky Mountain House and back to Edmonton.  It kind of felt like home just passing through Nordegg and seeing Coliseum Mountain and all the familiar surroundings. 
I was surprised to see the water level in Abraham Lake as high as it was.  But upon reflection and in consideration of all the rain that fell over the summer, it should not have been all that surprising.  The water level was right up into the trees all around the lake.  As we continued on towards Nordegg we again saw the herd of wild horses that hangs around the area.  We made a brief stop at our lot just to walk around and stretch our legs a bit.  We switched drivers at this point and Margarit drove the rest of the way back into the city.  Once we arrived home we had to make a quick side trip over to the shop to drop off the crates full of prints, and then return home.  It was around midnight when we were finally able to lie down and get to sleep.  A very long day to say the least.....

Aside from the experience of exploring the Mt. Assiniboine area and having some time to ourselves to really experience it, this trip taught me something else.  Virtually all of the guests that were up at Mt. Assiniboine were avid hikers.  Most were our age... or older... and virtually all were very physically fit.  Not surprisingly, hikers are there for the hike.  They have a destination in mind and push themselves to get there, and then to return.  I learned that I, as a photographer and artist, take quite a different approach.  For me the hike is necessary to enjoy the experience, but not the purpose of my adventure.  I was quite content to stop along the way and then spend an hour or more, experiencing and exploring a specific location... really absorbing the atmosphere of it... before moving on.  It did not matter to me that we often ran out of time and never got to the final destination.  It was the journey and the experience that were important to me personally.  I'm not trying to be critical of hikers as I fully understand their interests and purpose.  I've just learned that I'm really not a hiker, and my appreciation of a place is very different.

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