The Skyline Trail – II

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After walking over 11 miles, and reaching Big Shovel Pass, one starts looking for the Shovel Pass Lodge.

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There’s a rather daunting view of the trail as it passes up and over the next pass which is called the Notch. And it’s only daunting because at this point there’s really no telling where the Lodge is, or how to get there. And the thought of walking over the next pass is just … why I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

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Still, one goes on, of course.

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Fr. Jimmy insisted the Lodge was up, and next to the alpine lake before the Notch. I kept insisting it couldn’t be, because no one would build latrines above an alpine lake, they would build them in the woods.

As strange as my reasoning sounds at times, it’s at least sensible.

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The only problem, which I’ve mentioned here before, is that the woods were very far away, and a very long way downhill.

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Uphill?

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Or wayyy down to the valley?

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These cairns are all over the place, and marked the trail in several areas. We passed through and then walked uphill after everyone in our party (we had met a couple from California who were walking about the same pace as us,) agreed that the Lodge was uphill.

Everyone except me that is.

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And of course I was right! The Lodge is actually down around there.

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In fact, here it is now. And it was quite a welcome sight after the intense downhill trek on sore feet.

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Nestled in the woods at the base of the… incline,

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… it has a rugged comfort to it. And it sure the heck beat lugging a tent along the trail. Aren’t my feet attractive?

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We all settled in. The Californians and the Germans were fantastic company throughout the evening…

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And all watched a beautiful sunset from the front porch.

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After the intense downhill trek, and with the prospect of a huge climb the next morning, it took a great dinner to truly relax. And dinner did not disappoint!

Chuck and Laura, the couple in the front, astounded me in several ways. Chuck carried next to no water, along with a bottle of wine, and did just fine. Laura looked fantastic throughout the entire trek, never flagging, never a hair out of place.

Next to me is the guide of the German group, who’s from New Zealand and who set a brisk pace throughout the days. The German man in the back lives 5 minutes from France and invited me to visit him and his wife, sometime after I chatted briefly with him in my sparse French. The fascinating woman next to Fr. Jimmy is a German psychiatrist, and our little group held quite a fascination for her.

And actually, the bottle of ketchup and the coffee mugs are a sign that this is not a dinner picture at all, but in reality is a breakfast picture. Breakfast… it was wonderful too.

So I am getting ahead of myself in this little travelogue, even though I’m a month behind in posting this never ending story of hiking around the Canadian Rockies…

Evening came, then morning. The Second Day.