Carpe Diem: Conquering the Chief

by tanyacolaco

I’ve always enjoyed hiking, but I haven’t tackled any mountainous terrain in years. That all came to an end this past Monday when my friend Milena and I decided to challenge ourselves with the Chief, which stands mightily in Squamish. When I woke up that morning, my laziness kicked in, and I almost decided to roll back into bed and curl myself up under my blanket- turned- fortress. However, my guilt kicked in, and I realized that maybe it was the perfect opportunity to seize the day, given that we were blessed with good weather. So, I quickly hopped out of bed, got dressed, and ran out the door. Half an hour later, we were on our way out of the city, and headed towards the secluded town.

We honestly had no idea what to expect. The hike took us by surprise. It started off easily enough, but the mixture of wooden and rocky stairs were taxing, and made me realize just how badly I needed to get back into shape. I was exhausted 20 minutes into it (shame shame). My heart was racing, and I could hear it beating loudly in my head. I thought I was going to pass out at any given point, but my sheer determination (or maybe stubbornness) kept me going. It was such a thrill! It was a long awaited adventure. The terrain was not too treacherous initially, but later on it became somewhat of a challenge. We had to climb 2 steal ladders that were securely bolted down, and later on we had to haul ourselves over boulders with the aid of chains bolted down on the rocks. It was really interesting and exhilarating, and I sort of felt like I was in a video game. As we pushed ahead, we finally neared the peak after maybe 2 hours. I couldn’t believe the view that was sprawled out in front of us. It was worth every ounce of energy we expended on our climb. These pictures don’t even do it any justice, it’s just merely a glimpse of the beauty that we witnessed.

It was exciting being right on top, but I have to admit that most of my excitement was swallowed up by my fear of being stuck up there. Going back down was the real challenge because the potential of falling is so much higher. After an hour, we finally neared the bottom– fatigued and aching all over. But despite being tired and hungry, the satisfaction of conquering my fears was overwhelming. I think I am pretty much hooked now, and I’m hoping this summer will be filled with many more hiking expeditions. There may not have been any material prize to be won, but the feeling of being on top of the world was the real reward.