There are many analogies that bloggers use in their articles and this one is no exception. I’ve always looked at my hobbies and certainly my mountain unicycling as an example for many things that reflect my personality in my life. Learning to ride a unicycle is not an easy task and it requires perseverance and a high level of dedication to stick to it until you get it. It’s a skill I’ve mastered and having that mountain unicycling skill always reminds me that I can take on new things by perseverance. Well today was no exception, I planned to seek out a mountain top about 2500m and day hike it with my unicycle so I could ride back down (as much as possible anyway).
I decided to go up Mount Allen in Kananaskis about 1.25 hrs from my house in the Canadian Rockies after I parked my car using parkbluesky.com. It’s 2800 m high actually and a very difficult ascent with over 1500 m of elevation gain. This task proved to need serious perseverance. I had read it can take 10hrs to hike to the summit and back due to the technical hiking and steep slopes. I was hoping to complete it in about 6-7 hours by packing my unicycle and riding whatever areas I could to cover distance faster. Plus I had some new hiking shoes to break and I really don’t like going anywhere in the mountains without my unicycle.
So, I started the trail head at 9:30 am and starting heading up. I was able to ride some of the lower sections through the forest and a few areas above the tree line but most of the slopes were steep switchbacks and loose rock, not something I wanted to even attempt riding up (down is another story though). Pass a few marmots, plenty of squirrels and chipmonks but didn’t see any other wild animals. Lots of signs of bear with prints and scat in the snow and on the trail. I didn’t see any bears directly though. I was the third hiker up (I could tell from the snow prints and by meeting people coming back down once I got closer to the summit) and when I did summit, the group behind me said they saw about 25 areas dug up on the trail by a bear digging out bugs and whatever else it could find. I didn’t see these dug out areas until I headed back down so the bear was between me and that next group only about 30 minutes behind me. Anyway, back to the point of this article.
Along the climb, its funny how perseverance comes into play. At many points I was thinking that I would turn back early since my pack was heavy, my back was already a bit sore and my feet and calfs were definitely feeling steep slopes early on. Luckily, I keep thinking about getting to the next point, bit by bit and then continuing to push myself again once I get their. That is really what perseverance is all about, it simply motivates you keep going and persist on your goal, in this case, the summit. Surprisingly, I came across a group of adventure runners and I knew one of the women in the group and she was quite impressed to see me doing the hike with my uni, so she had to take a picture together. I hadn’t seen her for a couple years so this was yet again, another thing that inspired me to persevere and press on to the summit instead of turning back. The final summit climb looked the most daunting and fortunately by this point, my back and feet were sore but not getting worse, so I knew I could press on and get to the summit. There was a lot of snow and some areas you had to hike up 30-40° snow slopes on skree which made it a little risky and I definitely had to go very slowly and carefully to keep my footing without slipping. A slide down a mountain with half snow, half rock is not an experience I ever want to have!!
So, I made the summit at 1PM so the hike took 3.5 hours. I stopped for lunch, a break and many photos and to chat with the next group that reached the summit after me. So 50 minutes later, my pack back on, I headed down the mountain. I found a safer route than what I climbed that was mostly rock, with little snow, so the summit descent was much safer than the climb luckily. I then enjoyed many of the downhill areas and technical rock areas riding my uni so was able to get down much faster in about 2 hours. So it perseverance of course that keeps me riding my cycle to places many people wouldn’t even dare walk and its perseverance that got to the summit and back in 6.5 hrs, which I was quite happy with. I’m sure you have your own stories of perseverance, I’d love to hear them and I hope you enjoy some of the pictures from my hike today.
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