My visit to Cathedral Provincial Park was much more meaningful than I could have ever dreamt it would be. The astonishing beauty of the park was captivating, and it was a personal victory to hike the challenging trails to peaks along the rim.
The view from Quiniscoe Mountain. Glacier Lake is below.
You see, I have never in my life done such difficult hikes, and to be able to do them two and a half years since having my kidney transplant was such a major triumph. What’s more, to hike these trails while I was undergoing chemotherapy treatment was something I never thought I could do. I was diagnosed earlier this year with cancer, but have been determined to keep exercising as much as possible. I know this news will come as a shock to my regular readers, and I will write another article to share more about the cancer later.
In exploring Cathedral Provincial Park and staying at the Cathedral Lakes Lodge, I had such a profound spiritual awakening and a newfound strength. I reached inward to confront my hiking challenges and in doing so, found strength to also confront my health challenges head on. I had so many enlightening and miraculous experiences that amazing weekend which I am so excited to share with you.
Hiking up Red Mountain.
Descending Quiniscoe Mountain.
I had not initially planned to do the more challenging hikes, and had thought I would just do the easier one around Pyramid Lake and Lake of the Woods. However, at the last minute, I decided to hike Red Mountain, Quiniscoe Mountain, and the Rim Trail together with three others. I thought I could always turn back if I needed to, and with that, set out on the trail to Red Mountain.
Lakeview Mountain is on the left. Denture Ridge and Grimface Mountain are on the right.
As we approached Red Mountain, I was having some pain with my right knee and wrapped it with a tensor bandage. Soon afterwards, part of the back heel of my hiking shoe fell off! We put it back on and wrapped tape to try to keep it together.
At this point, I started getting nervous and wondered if I should turn back to the Cathedral Lakes Lodge. I sat down, thought about my situation, and just as I decided to continue, something miraculous happened. A beautiful butterfly came out of nowhere, circled around me a few times and gently landed on my finger. I was absolutely thrilled!
Butterflies have been very significant in my life and I have always thought they were nature’s angels. When this precious butterfly landed on me, I knew I was being protected and guided on this hike. This was a sign that I should press onward. Even more important, I knew this was also a sign to show me that I was being taken care of in my life journey with all the health challenges I’m facing. I was so grateful for this angelic butterfly which brought me such renewed strength in myself and faith in a Higher Power.
I got up and was more determined than ever to continue on. Although it was not easy, I reached the peak of Red Mountain and was very proud of this accomplishment! I am not sure if it was the same butterfly that had landed on me previously, but upon my arrival, there was one that looked the same which circled around me! I was so amazed and grateful. I was reminded, once again, that a Higher Power was watching over me!
Looking toward Denture Ridge.
While descending the rocks and shale on Red Mountain, my knee started hurting and it was extra slippery because of my damaged hiking shoe. When we got to the bottom of Red Mountain, two of the others in the group decided to go back to the lodge and asked if I wanted to join them. I looked up at Quiniscoe Mountain and had a strong urge to hike to the summit. I also really didn’t want to go down the steep shale on the trail which was the direct way back to the lodge. With that, my hiking partner and I headed on the trail to Quiniscoe Mountain.
I was tired after hiking Red Mountain, but the hike to the summit of Quiniscoe Mountain was well-worth the effort. The views were stunning and I was overwhelmed with pride and gratefulness for having reached this peak. I couldn’t believe the same type of butterfly that had landed on my finger previously on Red Mountain, appeared to circle me once more to celebrate my victory. It confirmed again that I am not alone in my journey on this hike and in life!
At the summit of Quiniscoe Mountain.
On my descent of Quiniscoe Mountain, I got a very special treat! I was so delighted to see a herd of mountain goats peacefully grazing on the ridge! There were even moms with their babies!
The herd soon moved to cool off in the snow nearby!
The hike back to the lodge was tricky because of my sore knee and damaged shoe. I had to go very slowly on the steep trail to Glacier Lake. After the lake, the trail was much easier. I was very surprised when staff of the Cathedral Lakes Lodge met us on this trail. They learned I had a damaged shoe and brought a pair of hiking shoes for me to use. They also wanted to make sure we were fine.
The staff was incredible at the Cathedral Lakes Lodge! I was so impressed by their service and kindness! As they knew we would be late getting back to the lodge, they even set aside some dinner for us!
Cathedral Lakes Lodge.
The next day was also wonderful. It started out by seeing a mountain goat right outside our Lakeside Cabin and following it to the nearby campsite where there were more goats! This goat came straight to me without hesitation!
Later in the morning, I set out on the Lakeview Trail to visit the meadows. I was happy to see so many beautiful flowers and butterflies!
Indian Paintbrush and lupins or lupines.
My weekend at Cathedral Lakes Lodge ended with witnessing a miracle. As I was packing to get ready to leave, I looked out the window to see the missing hikers, Lynne Carmody and Rick Moynan walking in from the Lakeview Trail (the trail I was on only an hour earlier). I was so happy to see them after they had been missing for six days. I told Rick how thrilled we all were that he and Lynne made their way back. During my time at the lodge, it was apparent that the staff, the guests, and Search & Rescue members were extremely concerned for these missing hikers.
Rick Moynan is on the right.
The return of the missing hikers was heartwarming and showcased the perseverance of the human spirit and the will to survive, no matter the circumstances.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to be lost in the rugged wilderness for six days and to finally make it back to safety! I just knew that even with my one day of hiking, I was empathetic to their extreme situation. It is difficult to continue on in the face of obstacles. In my case, my knee had hurt, my shoe fell apart, my kidney area was uncomfortable, and towards the end of the hike, I was very tired and my legs were so sore. I really thought I could not take another step. Yet, I was triumphant in reaching my goals of getting to the summits of Red Mountain and Quiniscoe Mountain – something I never imagined could be possible, especially now, when I’m going through cancer treatment and still have some pain around my kidney.
As a result of my experiences at Cathedral Provincial Park, I have renewed faith in my ability to persevere, and not just to survive, but to thrive, as I deal with my health issues: maintaining my kidney function, combatting the side effects of chemotherapy, and beating cancer.
Life is precious and is worth fighting for. Determination and the will to survive requires inner strength and steadfast belief in a positive outcome and faith in a Higher Power. I am so very grateful my healing weekend at Cathedral Provincial Park reminded me of that.
I want to wholeheartedly thank Richard and the staff at Cathedral Parks Lodge for making this spectacular weekend possible. Thank you for having me as a guest, and thank you for a lovely stay at the Lakeside Cabin and for the delicious and healthy meals. My experience at Cathedral Provincial Park was unforgettable and I will forever treasure my time there!
If you would like more information on packages and transportation, please visit their website: Cathedral Lakes Lodge and social media Facebook and Twitter.