The Odyssey of the Pole People – Three Peaks Mt. Seymour Hike

participants of this chaotic group

participants of this chaotic group

The day began luminously in the darkness of Place Vanier. The bleating of our alarms forcing waves of horror throughout our heads. Bleary eyed we pounded the alarm until it shut up. We fell back into the warm arms of our squishy beds.

In a disgruntled haze we stabbed our fingers into our eyeballs, pushing the plastic towards our corneas. The blazing blue of the bathroom walls bursting into bright flares of boiling focus. A tear slips from our left eyes, the grating like spindled nails on an overused chalkboard painting stripes of pain. Our eyeballs now prisoners in this manmade cage, our eyelashes the bars keeping their savagery from engulfing this tainted world.

One of us was 5 minutes late when we arrived at the first consumption of food for the day. It was yellow in a bowl. Yellow and almost wriggling, as if it could force the empty room to surrender its oxygen and feed it into the graces of health. As if it could explode into feet and beaks, feathers spewing into our throats until its life is ours and its revenge story takes root.

Now we release the beastly ta-mah-toes from their confining bag of mush. Spreading with great liberty against a floppy piece of raw bread. Flop flop flop.

We turn our feet into the flapping of birds wings. Levitating through the roof, crumbling concrete with the mere tap of our solidified skulls. The chill of morning breath assaults our noses reminding us that mother nature never really has brushed her teeth, has she? It bites our cheeks until they are red and porous, until we are standing above the ocean’s garden watching a hooded figure, Brandon scramble down the cascading steps into a bruised contraption of wheels and engines. The car has been punched and scraped, blood boiling into horrendous hues of black and blue.

heading up!

heading up!

One of us volunteers to follow the direction of our open hearts and guide us to pick up Xi. Our hearts tug and pulse, pushing heavy and hot against our chests. Telling us how to spin and leap and in which we scream in anxious breaths to our level headed driver Zach.

We scoop up Xi like a kangaroo scoops its squirming infant into its pouch. Another heart added to the mix of our tugging desires guiding our way to the deserted parking lot.

Blood. There is blood on our minds, craving for the adrenaline of sucked to the bone muscle from the ache of ascension like a vampire longs for the stripes of rouge that flow so steadily from the tip of our head to the very last toe. The fog the perfect lair for the bloodthirsty animal to creep.

There is an hour until they get here. An hour and the lot is empty, the victims of our ravenous hearts yet to set foot on this concrete stage.

“Hii we’re running late!” 

They foolishly wrote as if our screeching bodies were not already aching for the familiar sense of dirt against rock against shoe against sock against worn foot.

We are malnourished for the grind. We lust for it. We pace the parking lot, the flames of the early sunrise licking our hiking boots clean of rust and wear.

Dogs. bark bark woof woof arrr. A nice distraction from the relentless beating of boredom. It pounds and pounds like a spoiled child. Hot tears ripping holes in their skin, snot bubbling like seltzer water as their fists bang and bang endlessly on the door of their parents.

One of us even plays the simple role of a local and provides our shaking lungs on a platter for roughened hikers looking for the Dog Mountain trailhead. Our lungs that have yet to feel the sweet lack of oxygen from raised elevation or relentless exertion.

We find concrete chairs on a landscape of rocks. Sitting and contemplating where moss comes from and why its sweet arms remind us of air seasoned with salt and rocks turned soft with time into grains that soften the hard clashes of ocean.

Will they get here before the bears rise from dreary eyed hibernation in hunt of warm bodies to satiate their slobbering jaws? We wonder, and wonder, and wonder.

not dramatic at all

not dramatic at all

knock on wood we'll make it to the next peak

knock on wood we’ll make it to the next peak

There is the chatter of laughter and a gentle hum of melody that quietly lifts us from this forsaken land. Stripes of gold and soft hues of pink cocoon us like caterpillars. Like the feeling of singing happy birthday, dreadfully out of tune, a cacophony of confused voices and hitched rhythms, yet a feeling of connection and cheerful delirium all the same. Like the copper at the tips of the mountains near dusk, letting the snow stay for another day without melting it into rivers and streams that flow towards glacial lakes. Lakes whose blue shine brighter than clear skies at noon as young children dance with flowers in their hair, in sundresses that swirl when they spin. Toji’s car has arrived, Mona’s following shortly after.

One day we may age, our old bones retired to tea making and poetry reading. Our eyes strained and tired. Laughter lines prominent against flesh satisfied from a life lived beautifully. But today we are filled with youth. Young bones, we show them their limitless bounds as we push up the peaks. Our skin will not need cream today as protection from the crimson, the clouds lacing fingers over the sun’s beams, catching time from sprinting away from our hungered minds.

The ground dissolves against 15 sets of unique hiking boots quickly forgetting what they tasted like, all the same to the billions of other soft and heavy feet that pound against it.

They say autumn is simply foreshadowing the bite of deathly winter but today the leaves are golden brown and red, life itself. Shimming and effervescent, an ethereal glimpse into lives of a world born fresh.

Yet the moment as the soft quiet is disrupted by our hurried footsteps is not so serene, ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” spins a web across our cerebral cortexes, layering and layering the sticky string until our heads have gone a silvery pale and all we can see and feel is the catchy intro forcing us into out-of-tune song.

After time has passed we reach what Mona claims to be the first peak, releasing already tired sighs of relief as we inhale the first view of mountains only to find out the first peak has yet to be reached. Our lives flash before our eyes in dark cherry mouthfuls of mourning. Even daisies look dangerous in the flickering of malice, and now our view reminds us that this is only an inkling of what will come on the peaks.

The sun is still there and isn’t there life in the simplicity of knowing that the sun will rise and rise and rise. Isn’t this ground a reflection of feeling itself? The dirt and rocks and very tips of mountains reminiscent of some past sense of belonging or anguish? Is this land not simply a diary of earth and her existence? The brush of trees and swirl of leaves a language we are not yet attune to.

And so we reflect as we climb and climb, the actual first peak comes in a swoop of willowy branches and tall rocks. Each person picks their own unstable path, an amateur rock climbing lesson the land itself teaches. At the top we begin our first feast of cliff bars and cookies. A humble consumption for the true meal was yet to grace us.

We arrive at different minutes in this snapshot of wind-swept bliss. We are above the world in this time. The clouds miles below us stretch across the city as if a simple jump from this hill will land us in their fluff. The lives of a country are below us, insignificant now to the hold of wind and piercing freedom.

A father breaks the moment as his satellite device sprouted legs of its own and scuttles down the mountain away from him, his daughter giggling mischievously at the unexpected behavior.

zero point five pictures are a must

zero point five pictures are a must

An unusually large crow.

The rest whips by us, we run and we walk, almost crawling at times as we escape the wind swept peak on our journey towards the next.

We shimmer now, our gasps for breath molding into the flow of cascading canyons and valleys. We are not made from stars nor grown from stardust but the universe has accepted us into their harmony of sopranos and tenors.

When we reached the second peak, Mittal challenging us to one legged squats against a surreal backdrop of summits and hazed blue. This turns to be more demanding than expected, as we squat towards the ground it seemingly extending its roots towards us. They extend from our thighs to ankles to wrists to heart and yank us towards its dusty base.

She is peaceful, mother earth. But she is also hungry and reminds us by this display of gravitational force that she can ground us with an inch of her will.

As we push for the final stretch, we hear motivation in the form of angelic singing from a faraway woman inspiring the trees to grow and our legs to push forwards.

Time is not simply roses nor daffodils nor the harsh hands of waves. Time is this uneven, tedious form of unwavering euphoria knotted against melancholic longing. Today we are above this linear form of passing, plainly floating across clouds of cotton candy hills.

We reach the third peak and find ourselves reminded of the art of our very skin. These bodies where sleep rises and falls, desire sprouts like thick forests and thin flowers are our homes.

We are not strangers to self-doubt and crippling anxiety but here we are together, living this experience through synchronized breaths and pulsing blood. We are from Ghana, Ukraine, America, Canada, Germany, England, China, India, and far further than our minds can comprehend but today we are simply from earth, from this universe that allowed us to exist within this beautiful world.

Now, it is time for a photo shoot! Snap snap snap click click pose pose. Wow aren’t we amazing at 0.5s?! (no).

We feast on the cooking of the world’s finest chefs (the grocery store suppliers), gorging on a variety of pumpkin pie, blueberry cheesecake, and marble cake like the world’s highest royalty, spit dripping from our hungered mouths like an over-excited dog, loveable but currently a little bit gross.

pies pies pies

pies pies pies

happy and fed organiser

happy and fed organiser

We hunt for the U.S. border… Where is it? And if we find it can we send Rowan back over it? Our minds thirst for the answer to these dire questions, our salivation indicators of our covert desires.

As we finish our lunch of royalty we are reminded of why we still don’t quite understand why Canada still recognizes the king of England. An eternal mystery.

We begin our tricky descent, only to find ourselves trapped behind a plethora of POLE PEOPLE!!!!! Their poles are long and menacing like sharp teeth of a werewolf watching you from behind the bramble. The moon reflects the whiteness of its jowls, similar to the angry glares we now reflect to the backs of the poles of the POLE PEOPLE! Finally, one by one we push past them, diving and dodging as they berate us with their poles like swords!

As we journey forth towards our bruised vehicles we agree in solidarity over the true horrors of the Deutsche Bahn while breaking into song and dance of everybody’s favorite tune to pop into a little jig over, “Hit The Road Jack”!

We quickly scramble through an impromptu decision after the high of finally surpassing the dreaded POLE PEOPLE to climb a 4th peak and at the top, reminisce on the 2018 Georgia Ski Lift debacle while swinging from a chairlift ourselves.

calmly sitting in the ski lift (clearly not in Georgia)

calmly sitting in the ski lift (clearly not in Georgia)

As our tired bones begin to give away beneath the worn trail we finally see the blessed site of the parking lot. We sing and dance in joyous elation, the realization only made better by the discovery of a new friend named Buddy (AKA VOC’s future dog).

As friends who began as strangers we conclude our happy little journey by playing an aggressive balancing game that Jack just barely won, Mona coming in a close second by the hair on the back of her neck.

the masters at the game

the masters at the game

Leaving the day without too many scrapes and scabs, with new friends and funny memories we concluded the journey with one final thought echoing through my mind…

As Vincent Van Gogh once wrote,

“I have nature and art and poetry,

And if that is not enough,

What is enough?”



Xi's hat for the win

Xi’s hat for the win

toji being iconic

toji being iconic



plotting the murder of the vanier residents by putting these into dining hall food

plotting the murder of the vanier residents by putting these into dining hall food

please don't fall

please don’t fall

hanging on to the rock for dear life (literally) (or maybe figuratively since it would have just been a few broken bones)

hanging on to the rock for dear life (literally) (or maybe figuratively since it would have just been a few broken bones)

Written by Rowan styled by Ann-Cathrin.

This entry was posted in Hike, Trip Reports and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Odyssey of the Pole People – Three Peaks Mt. Seymour Hike

  1. Xi Liang says:

    Such beautiful writting! Thank you for the fabulous reporte, hope see you guys again in mountains.

Leave a Reply