322m Elevation Gain | 6km Hiked
Our drive to the trailhead for Brew Lake was a bit like a live action version of the Telltale Heart. Being a Poe fan, you would think that I would have thoroughly enjoyed a game of ‘what’s making the knocking sound in my truck?’ But by the time we got home, we would have pulled apart everything that could possibly have been loose, only to discover that it was the bike rack. . .
The inconspicuous trailhead took us a couple passes to find, giving us ample opportunity to further speculate on what was about to fall off my truck and if it was important. The 6-kilometer (return) hike started in a cut block and gently gained its modest elevation (322 meters) over a number of talus fields, along some small stretches of alpine forest, and through some meadows full of wild flowers. It was a gentle hike, and not once did I feel as though I wanted to curl up like a little wood bug and take a nap while waiting for Stu to return – that was how I spent most of our last hike feeling.
Maybe because the hike wasn’t technical, and I wasn’t digging into the depths of my soul just to complete it, I was captivated by the surroundings the whole way. The views of Armchair Glacier and Black Tusk across the smoke filled hazy sky were familiar markers, the wild flowers of all colours and shapes buzzed with bees and butterflies, and Stu spotted half a dozen frogs along the way. The hike was gentle and when we crested the rise above the basin, the rock rimmed lake was rich in reflections and completely deserted. In the time we spent having lunch we saw a few other people passing through at a distance, too far away to even hear their conversations. Being able enjoy such a stunning area virtually alone on a sunny day was truly a reward in and of itself.
Last week when we hiked Wedgemount Lake we saw nearly 40 people (many of whom were in over their heads – out of water and wearing tennis shoes). The hike was steeper gaining 1100 meters over 6-kilometres (one way). But reaching that stunning turquoise alpine lake had made every exhausted step (and every time I hadn’t curled up under a leafy plant to nap trailside) worth it. While I sat next to Brew Lake enjoying the solitude – Stu had come off night shift again and was taking a nap in the shade – I thought about the different ways we can choose to access our goals.
Sun-dried Tomato Lentil Hummus
- 1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon natural sea salt
- 1/4 cup of tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic oil
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
Place the tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside. Place all the other ingredients in a food processor and blend. Drain tomatoes and add them to the food processor, blend until you are happy with the consistency.
About four years ago I stopped being able to eat garlic and onions. I get violently ill from them now - it truly sucks (for lack of a better word). But I am able to digest garlic oil. Being able to add the flavor back into a few things has been a treat!
It can be hard to find a salami that doesn't have garlic in it, but they are out there. Add in some rice crackers, mini cucumbers, and lentil hummus, and you're all set for lunch by the lake.
Cacao Nib and Sea Salt Sticky Bites
(Makes 12 servings)
- 1 cup uncooked sticky rice
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa flakes
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp cacao nibs
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Dash of sea salt
- ½ tsp sea salt
Combine quinoa flakes, rice, and water with a dash of salt in a rice cooker (I don't have a rice cooker so I cooked this based on the direction on the rice package in a pot on the stove) and cook. Let cool to the touch.
In a medium bowl, combine the cooked rice and oats with the remaining ingredients. Stir to incorporate the flavor throughout the sticky mixture.
Press into an airtight storage container or shape as individual bites. Sprinkle lightly with salt. For hiking, I wrapped each sticky ball in a small amount of saran wrap and placed them in a reusable baggy together. I adapted this recipe from here.
Homemade Chocolate Shot Gels
- 1 1/2 bananas
- 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp clear honey
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, optional
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
I've been wanting to make my own shot gels for some time, and Stu had the great idea of using this dessert recipe in our reusable 'goo' tubes. I adapted it slightly and it worked perfectly and was a great treat on the hike.
Note: if you have a piping bag (for icing cakes), use it to fill the goo tubes and save yourself some mess.
The challenges I’ve experienced with health over the last few years have felt very much like a steep and loose climb that has threatened to defeat me at every turn. More than once I have had to take a break simply from trying to get better because it is exhausting work between appointments, tests, restricted diets, and not knowing what’s next. And the whole time I’ve been hoping for that beautiful cool alpine pool full of health and answers to be waiting for me at the top. I’ve been holding out for the dramatic finish because I’ve been doggedly putting in the struggle-steps. But this hike to Brew Lake reminded me that there is another way. A gentler way. It’s less glamorous for sure and it can require more motivation because often it feels like the reward is less when the work isn’t as difficult. However, simply finding a sustainable grade will allow me a more consistent path towards getting better. And for every minute that I haven’t gone full-wood-bug, I am moving forward – and in the end that may be a more successful journey.
And just to clarify – I’m only talking about my health. There will be plenty of full-wood-bug moments to come in the next 38 hikes. I’m sure of it.