Each time I drive into Radium, BC, this beautiful sign greets me. I haven’t really taken it in fully until this past weekend, when I truly experienced this saying.
The mountains shall bring peace to the people! It brought peace to me, along with awe, wonder, discovery, marvel, and beauty. I was fortunate to be part of the first collaboration between CMH Heli-Hiking Adventures and Canadian Geographic, to take part in a photography workshop with Conservation Photographer – Neil Ever Osborne.
Nothing could have quite prepared me for what lie ahead. As I boarded the helicopter in Spillimacheen, I could feel my heart pounding through my chest with excited anticipation. As we approached Bugaboo Lodge, I took a deep cleansing breath, and fully absorbed the sights before my eyes. From the moment we arrived the CMH staff (well actually, I would say family), treated us as one of their own. Mikey lead us to the front of the lodge. Everyone paused, frozen in time, as we took in the view before us.
After an absolutely delectable lunch, our photography group ventured around the breathtaking grounds. This was when I paused, and thought to myself, “I am surrounded by such grandeur and majestic sights, remember to be open to the small things.” This actually lead to the five image photo essay (I added one photo to it-the moss covered log with the spruce saplings) I presented to the group at the end of our weekend together.
Take a moment to imagine, something that has left you awe-inspired, and speechless. Have you got it? Take yourself back to that moment and visualize who you were with, what you were doing, who you were being, what could you feel, hear, taste, touch, and see? I have had many awe-inspiring moments in my life, and still, this first stop at the Cobalt Lake Lookout is one of the most incredible sights I’ve seen. Even with the dark, gloomy weather, it sparked every sense of my being. The quartz filled landscape, jagged edges, diverse textures, and of course the stunning view of Cobalt Lake took my breath away.
The helicopter whisked us to our next destination – Warren Saddle. This was a completely different landscape, orange hues lit up the landscape, an amazing opportunity to practice some of the macro photography I’ve been enjoying.
From Warren Basin we hiked around to Powder Pig Basin. Lyle Grisedale, our incredible guide (and extremely talented photographer), reiterated to us the need to stay in eyes reach of each other, as this was grizzly country, and there had been a recent sighting of a mother and her two cubs.
Once again, the landscape changed before my eyes. Walking past shale covered slopes, down into the basin where the ground was soft from the water trickling through. What looked like a short hike, was an opportunity to come up against myself – pushing through some moments where I felt like sitting down and giving up.
A full day finished off with an absolutely exquisite dinner, prepared with love by the CMH Chefs. Meal time at the Bugaboo Lodge, is a marvellous opportunity to relax, enjoy, connect, have a lot of fun, and delve into your favourite beverage. After our delicious dinner, our photography group headed out for a sunset shoot. Unfortunately, the heavy cloud cover didn’t allow for us to fully experience, what I can only imagine as incredible. We did have fun being paparazzi for each other, capturing photos “in the field” as Neil would say. We had some beautiful glimpses, got chilled to the bones, and yet still – had a wonderful time.
I awoke at 6.00am, the excitement of an opportunity to see the sunrise made it a little easier to open my eyes. Flying over the mountains at this time of the morning was breathtaking, the light beginning to touch the peaks. Not knowing where we were going, my heart skipped a beat when the helicopter narrowed in on what seemed like an impossible place to land. Shale covered, and a much smaller area than we were used to landing on. The cool crisp air helped with waking up, and the magnificence of what we were experiencing had everyone almost speechless. Watching the sun slowly peaking through the clouds, is a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life.
I could have gone home at this point, a very satisfied and peaceful woman. Everyone was excited to have a clear morning, the clouds were scarce, the mist and fog seemed to dance through the trees. Dew drops glistened everywhere. As the helicopter came in to pick us up, the vortex of air swirled around, creating a beautiful scene.
Of course the amazing guides had more magnificence to show us. Our first stop after breakfast took my breath away (again – I was losing a lot of air on this trip). Flying over a glacier is one thing, to land in a helicopter right next to it is another. Everyone was once again, awe struck.
Seriously, how could it get any better? Well it did. Our final destination was the magical Tamarac Point. Flying into this spectacular area was divine. So many contrasts, so much to see. I almost felt overwhelmed at the sights that were right in front of me. I had to pinch myself a couple of times. Inspired by one of the participants Adam, I found a beautiful spot that overlooked everything. I sat, marvelling at this incredible sight, this exquisite beauty, that I feel extremely blessed and grateful to be witness to.
I took away so many valuable tools, and lessons from Neil Ever Osborned and Lyle Grisedale. I also received so many tips from the wonderful people in our group. This was an experience that has impacted me deeply, on so many levels. Emotionally, I feel so peaceful, calm, joy filled and inspired. Physically, I feel proud I was able to step through some blocks, and be inspired to hike, and be active. I feel that I am a much richer person because of this experience. I will be back again, next time with my family, so we can share in this absolute marvel and awe inspiring journey together.