You are the sum of all your friends.
I was told once by a friend, that you are the SUM of all your friends. It took me a while to grasp the depth of this comment but the more I reflected on my life, the more I began to understand. Your friends, (and the people that you surround yourself with), add and contribute to who you are. To put it simply, if you surround yourself with those who constantly TALK about doing things and constantly complain about their lot in life, then over time, so will you.
[For videos of this adventure scroll to the bottom of the post.]
In the past decade of my life I’ve made it point to only surround myself with those who I want to be. People who are positive, successful, compassionate and ambitious. People who value working to live and not the other way around. People who DO more and talk less. People who inspire those around them, and who are capable of being inspired. People who are “YES,” people.
This weekday adventure included just that. A YES Friend. Her name is Sam. This was actually my first trip (as an adult) with only females.
I could talk forever about the amazing things Sam has accomplished in her life, but today I am going to focus on a short story about our weekday adventure together, in the hopes of inspiring a little “yes” in you. Earlier this week I saw a posting on Sam’s Facebook. She broke her foot 8 weeks ago and she’s been dying to get outside.
I messaged her as soon as I saw it and I said “YES.” A couple days later she drove down from Edmonton and met me in Calgary. Adam and I had loaded our canoe up the night before and Sam and I were off the next morning to the Rockies.
Canoeing in the Canadian Rockies.
We had a loose plan, involving canoeing somewhere in a lake or two and discovering areas we had never been. This is one of the things I really like about Sam, she’s up for anything but is also good at making decisions. We had each done our own research regarding what campgrounds were open for the winter season, but we still had yet to make a decision. Since it was October we had to make sure there were places available for us to camp. Sam had previously camped at Tunnel Mountain and we agreed it would be a good location for this adventure since it was only for one night.
It was still early afternoon, so we thought it best to head to the lake and paddle first while the weather was at it’s prime. Sam was reading about how a previous paddler could smell sulphur around the Vermillion Lakes and suggested that there may be a hot spring in the vicinity. That sounded good to us – onwards and upwards, to Vermillion Lakes!
We unloaded the canoe and feasted on snacks before heading out on the water. After boiling some eggs near the dock for some high protein snackage, we launched the boat and began enjoying the perfect fall weather for a paddle.
We worked our way along the edge of the Lake looking for signs of a hot spring. We could smell the sulphur quite strongly but after paddling the circumference of the Lake we inferred that perhaps the sulphur could simply have just been leaching into the lake from the nearby Sulphur Mountain where the Banff Hot Springs are located.
Not to worry because we had a fun time being in the middle of a clear lake with mountains all around us. Across the lake we could see a set of railway tracks. We paddled over and hopped out at the railway tracks and took some time to admire the engineering of railways. I love railways. Something about them that screams nostalgia and wonder. I think growing up reading all my Jules Verne, Jane Austen, and C.S.Lewis novels, there were always trains involved and I guess I associate it with romance and adventure. Whenever I see train tracks I always have this longing to start walking on them and following them wherever they take me.
After an undetermined amount of time exploring the tracks we found ourselves crawling back into the canoe. Soon we found a strange linear formation of posts in the lake. Sam and I came up with several conclusions on their origin. We though perhaps it used to be an old dock. Maybe a fence of some kind before the lake even existed. There were also some more ideas and many of them may have been a little absurd involving magic.
We completed exploring the lake and decided that since the day was young we could seek another fun thing to do. We headed over to Johnston Canyon but it was closed for renos. This was a good thing because in the end we stopped at a little obscure pond called Pilot Pond.
This is a place we never would have thought to stop here if Johnston Canyon was open. Just a short walk and suddenly the trail opens to a field leading into a beautiful pond with clear bright and dark greens bleeding into the water. It was quiet and so serene. A beautiful place to stop and picnic and perhaps read a book. It really was an obscure little treasure that reminded me to never overlook paths less trodden. I tried some bird calling techniques that I learned from Michael Runtz and was able to kind of call in a couple birds but nothing too exciting. I need more practice.
We were getting hungry and thought it was a good time to set up camp at Tunnel Mountain and make some dinner before we took a dip at the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Sam set up the tent, while I made dinner. We had a nice romantic dinner for two with some white wine Adam packed for us. I brought my “Melba- proof,” camping wine glasses. I made a Black Bean Pasta with Espresso Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with chanterelle mushrooms I harvested in PEI. And I also made a salad to go with it.
After cleaning up our mess from dinner and making sure our sleeping next was ready for our return, we headed to Sulphur Mountain. We finished the day marinating our bodies in the Banff Upper Hot Springs, and strolling the main street of Banff Ave eating Cows ice cream. Perfect way to end a perfect day.
Videos of The Importance of YES Friends:
1. YES Friends Part 1 Vermillion Lakes
2. YES Friends Part 2 Black Bean Pasta W/ Espresso Balsamic Vinegar Chicken and Chanterelle Mushrooms.
Sam is the ultimate yes friend! I called her up late June to see if she wanted to fly out to Vancouver Island with me and hike the west coast trail, a 75km hike lasting 6 days. With just 2 weeks notice and not seeing each other for a year or so she jumped at the opportunity!! Super lucky for me as my other buddies bailed..
Yeah Sam’s good people! We need more YES Friends in our lives!
Great Post Melba! I love the photos and all the magical places you discovered! Glad you had such good girl time and I really enjoyed the hook of the ‘yes’ friends. Awesome Idea! I feel like I was right there with you! Thanks for sharing! CamperChristina.com
YOU ARE HERE RIGHT WITH ME! I know that you’re a YES Friend and someday we’ll pick up and go on an epic adventure together!
Love this post! Recipe, videos, great story. Wish I could’ve shared that great meal and wine in stemmed wine glasses. You are my kinda girl if you insist on a real wine glass while camping. Wine is meant to have a stem. Drinking it out of a cup just ain’t the same. Keep them coming!
Hey Karen! I can’t wait for the day for use to crack open that box wine together on our kayaks and drink our wine from stemmed camping glasses while we watch the sun set together! Ps. Love the purple hair!! good work on the fundraising!
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