Contributed by Andrew Gulyas
On September 23rd, 18 grade 10-12 students from Elkford Secondary School set off on an epic adventure into Fernie. They planned to go on a hike that was nearly 12km long and a 732 meter climb into the Lizard Range.
These strong and resilient students began their trip at the Old Growth Trail. This was a beautiful hike, where students saw many cedar trees that were hundreds of years old, and travelled up through a very diverse and lush ecosystem. Once students made it to the top of the Old Growth Trail, they stopped for a break overlooking the beautiful mountains and pristine Island Lake. Students were able to rest and recover from their “warm up” hike.
Once everyone felt rested and ready, students left the comfortable and calming shores of their newly found pristine mountain lake and headed to their upcoming adventure, Spineback.
As soon as the students were at the base of the trail, they all looked up at the first pitch, and were immediately daunted by the steepness and magnanimous mountain in front of them. The confidence that is so often associated with teens, vanished for a few moments. This trepidation dissipated once the group of young adults decided to tackle their first steps up this daunting trail.
Students wrestled their way up Spineback’s steep and winding trails, through mature forests and into the rocky alpine section of the hike. It was evident how grueling and challenging this hike was, there was doubt and uncertainty if we as a whole could make it to the summit; however, once students were in the alpine, for the first time in many of their lives, there was an evident second wind!
A new sense of collective determination to make it to the top. The students scrambled over rock faces and climbed over rocky sections of the trail. Students supported each other, helped each other and willed themselves to success.
The wave of satisfaction for everyone that made it to the top was palpable, the sense of camaraderie that connected this group was mesmerizing. The students truly accomplished something they did not think was possible and overcame the challenges in front of them. To see the satisfaction of accomplishing something that many thought was impossible, was truly inspiring. This adventure, this challenge, this accomplishment showed the resiliency, and grit that our young people can have today. Great hustle!