Why you should put your phone down and do something awesome
A couple months ago I bought a way-too-expensive plane ticket to go someplace I had never been. It wasn’t too far from home but a place I always wanted to visit.
I’m sure you’ve seen those pictures of the blue-green-colored lakes in the Canadian Rockies and thought to yourself that you should go.
Now you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I finally had a good opportunity when a friend messaged me about a multi-day backcountry hike he was planning. All the arrangements were made. He just needed friends to go with. This is the kind of hike with campsites that you need to reserve six months in advance.
So I said yes and booked a flight to Edmonton.
Berg Lake is in Mt. Robson Provincial Park, in Britsh Colombia, on the western edge of Jasper National Park. The stunning lake is situated below the glacier-clad Mt. Robson. A world-class 23 km (14.2-mile) trail wraps around the backside of Mt Robson along rushing rivers, glacial-carved valleys, up past waterfalls, and across footbridges to Berg Lake.
At Berg Lake, we pitched a tent for three nights. We gave ourselves plenty of time for day hikes and extra time just to soak up the views and enjoy life. It was a well-deserved time-out from our normal routine.
Just when we thought the scenery couldn’t get any more dramatic, we hiked up to Snowbird Pass. This jaunt was a strenuous 18km (11 miles) round trip, most of it with incredible views of enormous Robson Glacier and Rearguard Mountain. It continued through an alpine meadow before reaching snow-covered Snowbird Pass. The wind was intense, the sun was bright, and we felt on top of the world.
The five days in the backcountry reminded me of a few things I already knew:
It’s rejuvenating to spend time outside. Get into the woods, hike a mountain, sit on a beach. Get someplace natural and your body, mind, and soul will feel better. Make it part of your vacation. If you can’t get out of the city, at least find a park or other natural refuge.
To me vacation and no smartphone / computer are synonymous. I travel a lot but it’s not always a vacation. I normally bring my laptop or do work as I travel, especially when I was a digital nomad. Now I deliberately plan technology-free portions of my life, no matter how short they are. For this trek to Berg Lake, we all decided we’d be disconnected, which was easy since there was no mobile service high in the mountains!
There are a lot of reasons we have a weekend to our week. But for me, taking a day off helps me to be more efficient on the days that I actually am working. Days off clear your mind. It helps me regain focus. Simple rule: every 6 days take a day off.
This was a great hike in itself but really it was the people I went with who made the experience special. Spending time with smart, talented people with a good sense of humor can go a long way to restoring your emotional health and well-being.
Huge thanks to Dustin Main who planned the whole trip. A successful entrepreneur, he is a sounding board for all my crazy ideas. And he laughs at my jokes. In his spare time, Dustin puts on documentary photography exhibits and leads small group trips to Myanmar.
Kathryn Cooper also joined us. She’s a talented photographer who jets around the world photographing weddings (and apparently elopements, too) and NGO projects, among other awesome and more secretive jobs. She’s been so many places I’m envious of her lifestyle. Here’s her website www.kathryncooperphotography.com/ and Instagram: @kathryncooperphotography. Anyone aspiring to be a no-fear solo female traveler should follow Kathryn.