Reflections of a CMH Heli-Hiking Guide
My dream is to go to work.
It was early in the morning, and I had just filled my travel mug with fresh hot “Bugaboo” Kicking Horse coffee to get my day going. I walked down the stairs to the Heli-Hiking guide office and smiled as I opened the door. The sun was just beginning to come up and reflected a golden glow on the top of the Bugaboo Spires. Out the window, the glacier licked down like a tongue, inviting me to head up again into the alpine and give it a taste.
I took a seat at the CMH Bugaboos Guides desk. Large maps of what seamed like endless terrain in British Columbia spread out before me. Valleys, ravines, alpine meadows with ever changing perfect flowers, glaciers, rocks, lakes and tarns and more mountains than I could count thrilled me. I traced out new routes that I would like to go and explore, pretending as if I will be the first one to hike there, or you never know, maybe I would be.
It was time to pull out the books. Two large binders with pictures of known routes, interpretive discussions, flora and fauna to study. I had already spent days poring over these binders, thankful for the guides before me who had put it all together. It would still be another hour before the rest of the team would make it into the office. I was on my own to relish in the fact that this is my work and I could not imagine anything else better.
How did I get here? I first heard of CMH Summer Adventures from a friend and it did not take long to trade in the prairies for the Mountains. I had a lot to learn, but spending years out in the Canadian white shell, tromping my way through thick bush and enjoying the wilderness, I felt I was not too far behind. Heck, here, they even had mountains to navigate with!
Who was I kidding? I had tons to learn, and as I flipped through the binder’s pages, I felt the process was not even close to slowing down. My knowledge was increasing but not as fast as my thirst for it. Always more to understand about Grizzlies, Black Bears, Cougars, Moose, Goats, Eagles, Clarks Nutcrackers and Porcupines. Why are there so many colors of the flower Indian paint brush? How were the Bugaboo granite spires formed?
The other guides came into the office and we had our formal early morning meeting. We discussed our terrain choices for the day and wildlife concerns. I sipped away at my second coffee, ready to fly.
Finally, we were up high on an expansive rolling ridge and out of the helicopter. The machine dipped and melted away down the side of the mountain. Instant silence.
The guests stood in awe and listened to the fresh alpine breeze, the morning birds and pika’s saying hello. Their eyes gazed out over the ridges to the expansive horizon; peaks and blue sky as far as the eye could see. I explained our plan of where we were going to walk, pointing out some of my favorite mountains to use them as references. Smiles spread in radiance, and I took a moment to look around again myself. Seeing it through my guest’s eyes, their joy, it was like every day I was experiencing this incredible area for the first time. What a special place.
It was still early in the day and already memorable. I hike as if I am one of them, I can still not believe that this is my job.
Please join us next summer to experience for yourself why this is my dream.
To learn more, visit www.cmhsummer.com or call our reservations office at 1.800.661.0252.