My 87 year old aunt lost her husband and lifelong hiking partner six years ago but that didn’t stop her. Hip replacement surgery following a fall in an icy crosswalk three and a half years ago slowed her down for awhile but it didn’t stop her either. She still loves to get out on the trails surrounding her home community of Jasper here in Alberta’s majestic Rocky Mountains.
We spent this afternoon hiking together. She doesn’t move as quickly as she once did but with walking poles in hand, she took the lead and set a steady pace. “Look at this!” she’d say as she named the various wildflowers beside the path and pointed out other interesting features along the way. At one point, we left the main trail to explore the remains of an old log cabin that she knew was hidden in the bush.
Sharing the trail with Auntie Norma and surrounded by mountains, sky, river and forest, it was truly a beautiful afternoon. The sky was overcast and the day was comfortably cool. A few spits of rain toward the end of our hike did nothing to dampen our spirits.
The only wildlife we encountered were birds and mosquitoes but there was no doubt that a bear had been that way sometime recently. I’m quite happy that we didn’t meet!
We hiked over four kilometres before returning to the car and coming back to town. I thought perhaps that would have worn Auntie Norma out but she’s as chipper as ever this evening. I definitely want to be her when I grow up!