My childhood friend of 14 years, Ellen, made the long trek to Nelson for a very special visit.
Ellen and I never seem to meet up in the same place twice. And I couldn't help feeling like this might be our only meeting in Nelson...but who knows what the future holds?
We packed our week with adventures and activities but also set aside some much-needed relax-and-catch-up time.
In all the years, I don't think Ellen and I have ever been camping together. We packed up all of the essentials (and many non-essentials), convinced Marcus to join, and went to Bannock Point about 1.5 hour drive from Nelson. What a magical place. With big rocks that make for great jumping, crystal clear water, and beautiful shade, this place totally stole my heart.
With a decent walk in and no signs leading to it from the highway, this spot stays relatively quiet and we were only joined by a couple of other campers.
I will be making a point to get back there this summer to lay on the hot rocks and swim in that perfect water.
Swimming was the main theme of Ellen's stay here. But to switch it up, we did a pretty massive hike the day before she left. We drove two hours (one hour of which was on the worst road I've ever driven) to the Mount Gimli trailhead. Mount Gimli is part of the Valhalla Mountian Range which is mostly protected as a provincial park.
We hiked with our pals Shepherd and Shannon and planned to meet up with Marcus at the top. The hike was only 3 or 4 km to the base of Mount Gimli, but it totally kicked my ass. With straight vertical sections the whole way and a climb of 650m, I just kept telling myself it would be worth it. And boy was it!
Mount Gimli juts out of grassy alpine slopes in an almost menacing way. Two hours of hiking got us to the base (a campground area) and our legs decided that was quite enough. The hike further, along a ridge to the peak, is also quite dangerous and with steep and deathly drop-offs.... not really the vibe we were going for.
We sat at the base of the granite thumb, watched rock-climbers slowly make their way up its face, spotted mountain goats doing their thing, and took in the spectacular views. Finally, with the help of some walkie-talkies, we found Marcus, who had just rock-climbed one of the routes up to Gimli's peak.
On the walk down we were all quiet and tuckered out. I would love to go back soon and explore the Valhallas some more, but I might opt for a day that isn't +30oC!
It was so special to reconnect with Ellen and make such epic memories together. Who knows where we'll meet up again, but I know there will be more adventures waiting for us there.