[Guest post] The day I was close to the sky twice

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In my last post I wrote (and showed) a little bit about Vancouver city, its surroundings, its gorgeous nature and some amazing trails around here. Today I’m going to tell you guys about the trail that has marked my life and made me definitely feel that I’m in Canada.

It was a sunny summer Sunday and I had scheduled with my friend to get on the very first bus of the line 160 right after 9am. We wanted to arrive early in Buntzen Lake Park to hike and enjoy the day. We got off in Port Moody to take another bus (C26) and some minutes later we arrived in the park. At 10:30am we were ready to start the trail.

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Warnings before the start of the trail let people aware of the existence of bears in the area and also warn people to be careful.

The beginning of the trail is really easy and well signalized, but soon the one-thousand meters climbing starts and my sedentary legs began to hurt. It’s a peaceful trail, we met only a couple of few people on our way, perhaps because there’s not much information about it on Internet, which gave us a even higher sensation of freedom, because when we were not talking it was possible to hear the sound of the birds and squirrels running through the bushes. Every person who likes nature, would appreciate this moment.

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Twin trees grew over the rocks and built a cave.

After some hours going up we had already a preview of the sight from the mountain. We had stopped for a while and kept hiking. The heat and the sweat were increasing and our bottles of water getting empty. We were hoping to fill our bottles with water from some river during the trail, but almost all of them were dry or with no apparent drinkable conditions. The first challenge had been set for us. Even though, the trail and the park in general have a different energy, many mushrooms and blueberries everywhere made the trail become lively. All types and sizes of pines made us stop often to take some pictures and appreciate them.

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I was willing to eating those huge mushrooms on the trail. (Maybe hallucinogens?)

It was about 1:30pm and we had already been hiking for a long time neither meeting nor hearing anybody. The silence was almost absolute. The sensation that we were far away from everything, from everybody and nobody knew where we were, it was like an immersion in the middle of nowhere. But all of a sudden the silence was broken. We heard a strong noise coming from somewhere in the middle of the bushes. At that time we stopped hiking and were speechless, we knew that the strong noise wasn’t being made neither by a squirrel nor by a bird. My heart started pulsing strong. In a fraction of a second I thought about getting my camera off my backpack and start recording, but not all the moments in life wait to be recorded. After some seconds there he was: a huge black bear some 10 meters ahead of us. My friend who was in front of me just opened his arms. I was in doubt between screaming, speak something or simply wait for my death. The bear starred at us and went back to the bushes. As if we had disturbed him coming up on his way. We got close to the sky, but it wasn’t our turn to get there yet.

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Just around 10 meters in front of us there was the bear. It was like to have lived a dream.

According to the story, the meeting with the bear seems to have lasted long, but actually it was just a few seconds that seemed to be forever. I felt a threat completely different of everything I’ve ever felt before, different from a robbery, or the adrenaline of skydiving, or being over 160 km/h in a highway, etc. It was like it activated on me a primitive natural instinct, as if I had come back to become part of the nature, such as the primates who lived over 200,000 years ago. My legs were shaking non stop. After that, we would stop to pay attention at any noise we heard throughout the trail, despite knowing that the probability of meeting another bear (or even the same) was very low, after all, bears don’t use to live in groups, they are roomy and live in a many-kilometer range between each other.

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One of the reddish lakes we found on the top of Eagle Mountain. Their colours are impressive, but all of them were lifeless.

With our legs still trembling for a long time, we followed our way. We saw some blurred-water lakes with no life on the top of the mountain and finally arrived on the top of some rocks, a little over 1,000 meter high, where I could have one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. It was possible to see from there the Buntzen Lake, Diez Vistas, North Vancouver, city of Vancouver and surroundings. The name of the mountain suddenly made sense by itself when we saw some eagles flying over our heads. After a while, some clouds showed up and started drizzling, but I knew that drizzle was falling just over us and wasn’t strong enough to reach the ground, as if it were some signal from the sky or some message for us. I felt from those rocks a closeness from the sky and a very good energy.

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Our sight from the top of the Eagle Mountain.

We were willing to spend the rest of the day and camp overnight there, but we weren’t ready for that. So, I hiked my way back with some certainties in my head. To come back to that place better prepared in all meanings, but also sure that after that I knew Canada indeed and had lived a unique experience. If each trail has been a different adventure and in this one I felt so close to the sky twice, what can I wait for the next ones? Actually, I’d rather not have expectations, nature always take care of us and surprises us. It is perfect.

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A message from the sky: live longer, it isn’t your turn.

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