Me Against the Bugaboos. July 5, 2024

 Me Against the Bugaboos


I froze in my tracks, cemented to the floor. My eyes became faucets. My nose followed.

I cried through the tack room experience

 I turned to my husband and begged, “Get me out of here! What have I gotten us into?” A wave of dread swept over me.


Ironically, it had taken weeks of pleading to convince my husband to take this vacation with Canadian Mountain Holidays. I’d read about the outfit in Conde Nast, and, at the time, it seemed very adventurous.


Heli Hiking in the Bugaboos! Wow!


 I guess I forgot that Lou and I have never been the adventurous type. We usually vacationed in an upscale B&B in Bar Harbor or Moosehead Lake.

Except for the time we drove the entire circumference of Ireland, and, with only our steely eyes, faced down machine gun laden soldiers as we entered the battle ground that was Belfast in 1980. I guess that counts as adventurous… or foolishness.


Off we went to the Bugaboos. Me, Dora the Explorer. Lou, Mr. Wimpy.


On the first night near the “staging area,” we were each given a standard school backpack inscribed with the CMH logo.


Okay, what are we supposed to do with this?  Amazingly, we were informed that pack was to contain EVERYTHING we needed for 5 days… an effort akin to squeezing an elephant into a pill box.


Next day, we arrived at the staging area. The helicopter was huge, like a jumbo tractor trailer with propellers. All fourteen of us clambered into the Big Bell.


Upon arriving at the alpine Bugaboo Lodge, we lost our breath, not just because we were at 10,000 feet, but because the scenery literally took our breath away.


Wildflowers grew in profusion in the green meadow that led to the toe of the magnificent Vowell Glacier with its impressive Bugaboo Spire. “What a romantic spot!” I thought as I took Lou’s hand.

 Let’s just forget about the mosquitoes as big as Big Bell.


After settling in our nicely appointed rooms, we met our hosts and hiking guides in the dining room.


We dined sumptuously, family style. Our guides dined with us, regaling us with tales of the Bugaboos  with great humor. We learned a little about the adventure that lay ahead.


So far, so good!


After lunch, we were taken to the tack room for outfitting.


First, hiking boots. Unlike some, my feet are a lot smaller than Big Bell, so getting fitted was quite problematic.


I could not take a step in the first pair because I couldn’t bend my foot. I took a step and went splat, like a watermelon.


Dora the Explorer with her backpack

So, the kindly guide, seeing my plight, rescued me. Lou was oblivious to my crisis. The guide dug out a pair of children’s hiking boots that enabled me to flex my ankle. Baby girl was about to take her first steps!


Next, the back pack. It wasn’t like any I’d ever seen. It was taller than the spire on the glacier out front. It had a huge metal frame and straps that tied below my belly when it was supposed to tie at my waist.


Little people (I’m 4’10” small) are not meant to wear back packs designed for grizzly bears!


That niggling fear in my belly rose to panic level. What was next?


The fear was rising, but it hadn’t crested at rogue wave level yet …. not until the guide started to shove things inside the pack, now tied snugly on my back.


Snow gear, rain gear, pup tent, gloves, food supplies, water, hand warmers, feet warmers, Mylar blanket … toilet paper.


“Just in case you get stranded in a blizzard at 12,000 feet.”


He was joking, right? Really? Stranded. Blizzard. Got it. Oh, for God’s sake, it was August!


The rogue wave was freakishly close to crest stage, along with the tears.


I tried to sit down but couldn’t. The frame prevented sitting. The darned thing weighed more than I did. I tried to step forward, but its weight hauled me back.


I fell backward over the bench onto Lou!


That’s when Lou, all nicely outfitted, feeling all brave and prepared to tackle the elements, finally realized my plight.


The rogue wave crested, all over his manly self-assurance!


If you want to know more, you will have to tune in next week, my friends!


Meanwhile, I’m listening!



The Bugaboos … part of the Purcell Mountain Range west of the Canadian Rockies, in British Columbia. The photo is from the CMH website:  

Makes you want to go, right?





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