by Mariana Otega
My name is Mariana Ortega. I’m an 18-year-old Mexican student from Durango. I have been studying at VGC since September 2017 to March 2018. I came to Vancouver because I wanted to improve my English skills but especially because I’m quite interested in nature. That’s why I’m planning to study something related to it. I’m sharing the story of my snowshoeing trip experience organized by VGC.
Imagine a magical view of high mountains blanketed with snow feeling a cold breeze. Well, I went to a place like that in the first snowshoeing trip organized by VGC. That trip was nothing like I expected… It was so much better! Around 55,000 steps, 22 kilometers, 2 days, a few tears (kidding!) and 28 adventurous people.
Our journey to Garibaldi Provincial Park started on a bus which got stuck with the snow when we were almost at our destination. However, my gentlemanly and strong buddies came to the rescue pushing the bus without getting results; It was a nice try, though, so we walked one more kilometer to start warming up for the good part. We put on our backpacks and snowshoes to begin the adventure!
Despite the cold temperature, it felt like a sauna because of all the effort that I was putting into it. Seriously, in the first kilometers my hair and my back were wet and I wasn’t sure if it was snow or sweat. We caught the weather on the right day to take amazing pictures on our way. After having walked a couple of hours we stopped for a while to catch our breath in a cabin with some other friendly travelers around a bonfire. As we walked uphill feeling the refreshing wind against our faces, we were enjoying some of the most beautiful views that I have ever seen. It was like “a fairy tale” as my good friend Stefany said.
I have to admit that there were some moments that I wanted to be in a warm and cozy place, eating a juicy burger, but being surrounded by nature and people with good vibes encouraged me to keep going… Also because it was getting dark. One of my favorite moments was when I arrived at the cabin where we were going to spend the night and my friends cheered me on. I’ll never forget that great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, as it really makes you feel proud of yourself.
We stayed up not too late because of course we all were tired but we got the most out of the night playing all together, drinking apple cider and hot chocolate and trying Matt’s yummy risotto. Not only is Matt a great event organizer but he is also very good cook. That trip was the perfect opportunity to meet each other, especially after spending the night with them in the same big room and watching how everyone wakes up in the morning… It kind of creates a special bond. By the morning, you even know who snores (not me!)
The next morning, after having oatmeal with fruit for breakfast to boost our energy, I finally crossed out one of my bucket list activities, we made a snowman! You may be asking yourself, “Who has never made a snowman?” Well, me. That’s because I live in a city in Mexico where never snows.
We put the equipment on to start our 11-kilometer return, but this would be easier than the previous day, as it was mostly downhill. I remember that I was tired and a friend gave me a tangerine that tasted like glory and it wasn’t even sweet. Everything in that trip tasted, felt, sounded, looked and smelled so good, you start seeing things with a different perspective trying to take advantage and enjoying it despite being tired.
I can still remember my buddies’ faces when we got to the bus. They were between overjoyed and nostalgic. We looked at each other and someone asked, “Who wants to do it again?” Of course we were tired but we didn’t want to go back home, we wanted to continue the adventure!
Nowadays, seeing my snowshoeing trip mates brings back unforgettable memories of one of my best experiences in Canada and in my entire life! I’m glad that I took the plunge and I would do it again.