ACC Edmonton Summer Camp - Mt. Assiniboine

 

O'Brien Meadows Summer Camp – Edmonton Section

Story and photos by ACC Edmonton Section member, Susan Courty.

I experienced my first week-long summer camp this year with the Edmonton section at O'Brien Meadows in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. As it turned out, I had already met several others in the group at some previous events such as Pub Night, BBQs and monthly meetings. At this year’s summer camp, there were also a number of out of towners – from different parts of BC mostly. This was a pleasant surprise, and over the week, I had many interesting conversations about what their local sections are like, the different types of trips they have experienced, and what new places they wanted to explore during our time in the Summer Camp.

 Group camp participant tents set up in O’Brien Meadows with a view of Nub Peak. Photo by Susan Courty.

Group camp participant tents set up in O’Brien Meadows with a view of Nub Peak. Photo by Susan Courty.

 O’Brien Meadows group camp tents below: Mt. Cautley. Photo by Susan Courty.

O’Brien Meadows group camp tents below: Mt. Cautley. Photo by Susan Courty.

New friends and plenty of options

I enjoyed the trip to Mt. Assiniboine with the Edmonton section because every day one could choose a different day trip from basecamp, and there was a lot of world class scenery to scope out. One of the best parts about the camp was hearing about all the adventures other people had that day as we were eating our camp-made meals. Collaborating and negotiating what the next day’s plans were was also fun – all plans hinging on weather and personal motivation. It was great to have the opportunity to get to know some different people each day. While some group members were keen to climb the Matterhorn of the Rockies, others were happy to enjoy a view of one of the many lakes in Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park. With a group of about 20 people, there was a really good mix of interests.

 Kirk Bishop standing on the summit of Wonder Peak – with Lake Gloria and the east face of Mt. Assiniboine. Photo by Susan Courty.

Kirk Bishop standing on the summit of Wonder Peak – with Lake Gloria and the east face of Mt. Assiniboine. Photo by Susan Courty.

Choose your own adventure

The week started off with a group going from basecamp up to a climber’s hut (R. C. Hind Hut), and then summiting Mt. Assiniboine. A group of us watched from the Assiniboine Lodge through their monocular to see them begin their descent. That was pretty awesome. Other groups decided to hike different objectives with places like Nub Peak, Wonder Peak and the Towers making the shortlist.

Being a naturalist and amateur photographer, I look for the bugs, the berries, the birds… and of course, the bigger animals, constantly. I leave a lot of time during hikes & scrambles for exploring my surroundings- panoramic scenes, macro-photo ops, and waiting for the day-lit clouds to do something spectacular during a sunrise or sunset. My experience of the backcountry – the alpine, mountains, sleeping outdoors and all that comes along with camp life- is that most people can find some aspect to appreciate, especially in such a place.

 Totem pole at Sunburst Lake, Assiniboine Provincial Park. Photo by Susan Courty.

Totem pole at Sunburst Lake, Assiniboine Provincial Park. Photo by Susan Courty.

 Fossil found near Assiniboine Pass route from Bryant Creek. Photo by Susan Courty,

Fossil found near Assiniboine Pass route from Bryant Creek. Photo by Susan Courty,

Home away from home

What I remember the most vividly is just how different these experiences are from my everyday life –a much different kind of hustle and bustle. A week-long camp is a great way to get immersed in life outdoors, away from the city; to relax, rejuvenate and refresh. I feel pretty lucky to have been among the people able to attend and make the most of my days in Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park. Having a camp “home” for a week is a fine way to go: no packing up each morning or setting up each evening, lighter backpacks are possible on each day’s hike… the freshness of the crisp morning air, slightly frosty, maybe a little crunchy – but a nice change from the usual routine. This trip re-ignited my interest in going for more challenging objectives. Since the trip, I visited the Abbot Hut and put on crampons for the first time!

 View of Mt. Assiniboine from the shore of Sunburst Lake, Assiniboine Provincial Park, BC. Photo by Susan Courty.

View of Mt. Assiniboine from the shore of Sunburst Lake, Assiniboine Provincial Park, BC. Photo by Susan Courty.

What's next?

The summer camp was put on during two weeks in mid-August. Each week was back to back with a chopper carrying in camp attendees, packs and supplies. When it was our time to leave (end of week 1) we said goodbye to our camp mates and loaded up a sling for the helicopter to take back to the heli-pad near the trailhead and parking lot. Each year is different, but I will be looking forward to seeing what is planned for the next summer camp held by the Edmonton section.


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If you want to attend next years summer camp, please look to join the Edmonton section or follow them on their Facebook page or Instagram account. Check out all 22 regional sections across Canada to see what they're up to and sign up for the fun. Or just join for the other awesome benefits such as our national level trips, discounted hut nights, affordable guide books and maps etc. Need we say more?

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More information on Mt. Assiniboine Provincial park can be found at:

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park

Assiniboine Lodge

Great people, great opportunities all lead to great memories. How could you say no?