Heavy packs and light hearts at Abbot Pass Hut


Editor's note — A word to the wise: maybe it's the altitude, maybe it's all that fresh air and exercise, but it seems like love is in the air more often than not when people get within the vicinity of our huts. Whether you're looking to take your relationship to the next level or you're happily rocking the single life, keep your wits about you when the hut comes into sight...you never know what might happen!

Today's example: Caitlin Foisy's boyfriend, Alex, proposed to her during a trip to Abbot Pass Hut in 2011 and they've now been married for six years. Here's the short version of their engagement story.

The set-up

Alex and I were on a two-week trip out to Alberta to visit my friends and family. He had never been that far west, but I had lived in Calgary and Canmore for a few years after university. I used to work for Backroads when I lived there, and my friends introduced me to Lake O'Hara, which to this day is still my favourite place in the world. 

I told Alex about it, and of course he wanted to go. I didn't really suspect he would propose, but I had told some friends prior to the trip that Lake O'Hara was my favourite place and it would be awesome if it did happen there.

My friends Jody, her husband (fiancé at the time) Manny, and my friend Carolina (also Backroads leaders) were also going to be in the area for the September long weekend and we decided that we would to make the journey up to Abbot Pass Hut since none of us had been before.

Caitlin, Manny, Jody, Carolina, and Alex at the start of the hike.

Caitlin, Manny, Jody, Carolina, and Alex at the start of the hike.

Flying by the seat of our pants, we way overpacked food and supplies. We each carried up a bottle of wine (the liquor stores were closed in the morning before we left so we couldn't find any tetra packs or bags). I brought 1.5 lbs of fudge from Ontario, and lots of snacks. We were only there for one or two nights but had enough food for a week! 

The perfect day for a proposal 

The weather was amazing heading up: a sunny, cool, fall day. Our group is all pretty athletic and we hiked up to the hut in good time. There, we took lots of pictures, poked around and settled in to the hut.

When our friends finally went inside to make dinner, Alex asked me to wait a minute. We sat down on the bench at the side of the hut (he didn't get down on one knee because there isn't any room to spare on that ledge!) and he actually did it — he proposed! I was so surprised. I asked him if he was sure, and if he knew what he was getting himself into.

Caitlin and Alex celebrating their beautiful moment.

Caitlin and Alex celebrating their beautiful moment.

We went back inside, and told our friends the news. They didn't believe us until I showed them the ring.

Everyone in the hut cheered for us and we shared the wine we brought up with all of the other guests who were staying at the hut with us (many of whom had brought only the lightest dehydrated food, while we had carried glass bottles of wine — I still laugh about that).

It was an epic day and an amazing place to have that experience...and a story to remember. 

Manny, Carolina, Alex, Caitlin and Jody toast the engagement.

Manny, Carolina, Alex, Caitlin and Jody toast the engagement.

The future is bright

Now six years have flown by we have two awesome boys. We haven't been back to Abbot Pass Hut since, but I sure hope we can one day — maybe our 10th anniversary when the kids are a bit older.

— Caitlin