This weekend, I am on my way to my big brother’s wedding and it will be his 40th birthday within a couple days of the wedding. There’s much cause for celebration. I am fortunate to have a pretty great sibling. I don’t just like him because we’re family. I like him as a person. And so, I dedicate today’s throwback to my bro’s upcoming nuptials and foray into his fabulous 40s.
How better to celebrate my brother than to highlight some of the ways I have tortured him on hiking trails. When I first moved to Banff, my brother was altogether too trusting and too game to join in on my hiking whims. As a result, he suffered many an unpleasant hiking experience care of his little sister, who has a sick sense of what constitutes “fun” in hiking and who (in her younger years) could not be swayed by rain, nor sleet, nor hail, nor hangover.
Top 3 Sibling Hiking Misadventures*
1.Off an airplane, onto a trail: The very first time my brother visited me in Banff, he arrived in town and I promptly suggested a short hike to take advantage of a rare cloudless day. Little did he know that I would drag him on a 16km hike with very little in the way of stunning scenery. I am certain a part of his soul died on the long walk out. In hindsight, I cannot imagine why I thought that my poor brother, immediately after travelling for 6 hours, and after years of not hiking, would find a 16km hike with 760 meters of elevation gain enjoyable. The only reasonable explanation is that I’m a sadist and my brother is too trusting.
2.Hell hath no fury like a driving wind and rain: My brother is a fair weather hiker. He is less passionate about mountain scenery and the need to walk uphill for hours on end to see it, particularly if the sun isn’t going to shine. Somehow, I managed to convince him to hike 18km to Healy Pass on a questionable weather day. Perhaps he was lulled by the (relatively) small elevation gain (I think it’s only 500m or so). Perhaps he had given up on convincing me to do anything other than hike. At any rate, we encountered frigid rain and wind at the Pass, exacerbated by the fact that my brother was wearing a jacket roughly the thickness of saran wrap, with none of its waterproof qualities. Let’s just say this picture captures the essence of his discontent.
3.Hangovers, Hiking & Heat: A Trifecta of Hell I have no idea during which visit this hike occurred. I remember merely the heat, made worse by the absence of trees care of forest fires of years past. I remember the never ending climbing, made worse by excessive alcohol consumption the night prior. And I remember the utter lack of payoff at the summit given the heat and dehydration we had suffered. What resulted was an incredibly long day on the trail, largely spent in silence, because sometimes siblings know that if they start talking they will both regret it.
Thank you, brother, for putting up with me, and can’t wait to celebrate with you this weekend.
*I feel compelled to point out that me and my brother have had many hiking successes and good times on the trail. It’s just way more fun to recount the missteps.