For those of you that have followed me for awhile now you will know I love to hike. I love spending time outdoors and immersing myself in the beauty of mother nature and the fresh air. I love that moment when you reach the summit and you stop and look around, realising just how amazing this life really is. Hiking was one of the reasons I was drawn to Canada, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I learnt about myself and about life, in one simple day in the wilderness.
Today we set out for Bow Summit with the very knowledgable Joel from the Great Divide Nature Interpretations. We decided we wanted some time off the popular tourist tracks as well as some guidance (AKA someone to hide behind), if we encountered a Grizzly Bear. What we expected from Joel was a chat and some breathtaking views and what we got from Joel was a whole lot more.
As we climbed to the top of Bow Summit (approximately 2500m above sea level), Joel explained the harsh realities of winter for the animals living in this area. He also explained the incredible mechanisms each animal used to survive.
Living in these mountains means each animal has to survive on green forage, forrest berries and pine seeds during the summer months. Incredibly, it is this short seasonal supply of food that lasts these animals right through the long winter as well. To do this, some animals choose to spend their summer days collecting and storing food carefully across the terrain of the mountainside (and remarkably, they remember just where they left these stores all those months prior). For those animals who go into hibernation, they remarkably lower their metabolic rate to conserve energy, yet at the same time they effortlessly convert their fat stores into fuel which allows them to survive without food or water for up to 7 whole months… amazing right? But it doesn’t stop there. These winter survival techniques extended beyond the animal world and included that of the fauna. Pine trees are their shape and size to manage the incredible weight of snow fall. The seeds of the pine tree (did anyone else know these were the pine nuts we eat at home?) are attached to a fanned casing that when the pine cone is broken open by animals foraging for food, these seeds are able to travel great distances on the wind (hopefully escaping the clutches of the squirrel or bird) and germinate throughout the forrest. Everything worked together to achieve survival as an ecosystem, not as an individual species and this isn’t even the half of it.
As impressed as I was, all this information made me feel slightly inadequate as a human being. We couldn’t do half the things these animals could. Why were we (supposedly the most intelligent animal of all) suffering from disease, calorie counting, thyroid problems, unexplained weight gain, debilitating stress levels, infertility, hormonal imbalances and the like, when these animals on the mountain seemed to have it all figured out? How did they exist so harmoniously within their environment without any problems?
As I continued up the mountain, it dawned on me. I realised at that moment that we had completely lost touch with where we had come from. We no longer trusted our natural instincts, we no longer trusted the food that nature has provided us, we no longer believed we were part of this incredible system that works so harmoniously with every living thing that exists, we had removed ourselves from it. I felt that because of the many advances that the human race had made, we felt we were simply above it all, beyond it all and most importantly, we thought we knew better. Yet where was this getting us?
I guess I can relate all of this back to food and nutrition and how I have always believed we should be peeling it back to our roots. All you have to do is ask yourself whether or not we are we really getting all the protein we need from a heavily processed chocolate protein bar? Are we getting enough electrolytes from a blue sports drink? Or enough nutrition from a microwaved pack of vegetables? When you consider everything these animals needed to thrive in one of the harshest climates on Earth was literally handed to them by nature itself, can you really say yes?
As I sat there overlooking the incredible view that was in front of me, I felt empowered to continue my blog, to change other’s understanding of health and to remind them that everything we need to survive comes from the land, whether it be copious amounts of vegetables – all shapes, sizes and colours, beautiful seasonal fruits, delicious nuts and seeds as well as the purest proteins. Once upon a time, everything we needed to live the life we dreamed off (free from all those imbalances I mentioned earlier), existed in its purest natural form, just as it does on this mountain. Somewhere along the line we lost touch and it’s time to claim it back.
I guess you can say this hike compelled me to continue to my journey, and in some way, I guess you could say that’s what holidays are for: to remind us of why we are here, to encourage us to be grateful for what we have and to inspire us to continue.
Have a wonderful and safe weekend everyone x
By the way, we know we look like complete dags in this pic. We layered up! How many warm clothes does a Queenslander have? Not many! But I made sure I was wearing all of them here + some gear I borrowed from Joel and we still felt the cold at -1C. Note to Self: Buy more thermals.