Climb, climb up Sunshine Mountain…

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We set out to discover the fabled “Sunshine Meadows”  on this fine summer’s day… prepared to skip the shuttle bus and hike the extra three miles each way for the full experience.

In the winter this is ski country!  But  in the summer and fall tourists are lured up to the alpine meadows above the ski runs with the promise of easy hiking and stunning wildflowers.  A school bus shuttle will spare you the huffing and puffing of the final three miles to the treeline but at a cost which seemed unreasonable to us.

So we walked—at least until it began to rain, and then to hail as we approached our destination! OUCH! At which point we sped up to a trot and took refuge under a gondola lift till it let up!  P1210286P1210293

We were soaked and chilled…

And the poor wildflowers we had come to see didn’t fare so well either…P1210294

It all seemed pretty bleak.  Not only were we wet, and getting cold, but the landscape was a great deal bleaker than we’d anticipated.  Some reward for a three-mile trudge…P1210300P1210303P1210296Even the flowers looked a little blue…P1210314P1210305

Behold, the continental divide.  Look closely and you’ll see the post markers that separate Alberta from British Columbia…

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But then, as we topped the rise to the meadows, leaving most of the straggle of visitors behind…P1210326

the sun cam out!P1210325 P1210330

and we rounded a bend to find this little gem—Rock Isle Lake.

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Things were looking up!  Shortly thereafter we found  a bench in a sunny protected spot, perfect for a cat nap– to dry out and to warm up!

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But the mosquitoes were pesky and the bench hard and I was restless to find wildflowers and to see where the trail would meander next… P1210353

Intending only to snap a few pictures close by,

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I had soon left both bear spray and good sense behind as I wondered on down the trail while Jim dozed oblivious to my whereabouts… P1210368P1210370P1210371

Every rise and bend in the trail lured me further along; the views were irresistible.

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I strolled right on past a fork in the trail, never considering how Jim would know which way I’d gone…

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But I was happy as a lark, or a Sal hunting blueberries* , or a Heidi in the Alps…whistling along, intoxicated with the beauty and the carefree delight of discovering more around each bend…oblivious to the passage of time…

P1210403This ground squirrel seemed to appreciate my song…

The earlier dismay at the stark, wet and chilled landscape had dissolved in the sunshine and birdsong.  It was glorious!

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The rest of the story was not as glorious.

For though I neither met a bear, nor got myself lost, and though I did eventually come to my senses and retrace my steps bubbling over with tales of the glory of the trail… by this time my husband was no longer drowsing but searching for me down the fork in the trail I had not thought to take.  Sigh.

Still, we opted to extend our walk together and see what else was to be seen.  We logged just over nine miles before we were back where we’d started, glad to have seen Sunshine, and wildflowers! on an alpine meadow.

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–LS

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.Eph.5:1,2 ESV

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All this business of hiking in the mountains is ‘old hat’ to these bighorn sheep
snuffling winter’s leftover salt along our way down the mountain…

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* Have you read Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey? It’s a picture perfect summer’s classic you don’t want to miss!

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