Hi everyone, what about some good news before year end!? Yes you guessed it by the title: I am thrilled to announce that my hiking guiding friend Joy is also keen to be part of our amazing team of women guides.. yeepee!!
I got to know Joy as my supervisor on the trails during the summer 2019 as we guided a few groups together. What a fantastic opportunity and privilege! Joy has a wealth of knowledge on our parks.. history, fauna, flora – you name it – which she happily shares with an ever present smile. Joy has travelled the world and is absolutely passionate by what she does in the mountains, with her husband for their business and for the community in their lovely home town of Jasper, Alberta.
The other great news is that Joy and I are planning a trip to Europe for end of April and May 2021. We can’t wait to reveal more about it and have you join us! What about you? Excited to travel again?! We sure are, it’s been a long year and its time to plan some serious exploring vacay!!
There seem to be little knowledge from the public that the guiding profession and guides exist here in Canada so I decided to write some blog posts on the subject!
Canadian guides – each in their different mountain sports streams – are highly skilled outdoors people who are here to make your time in our wild mountains safe and most enjoyable. And yes they do Much more than “just hiking” with you the day you are outdoors! for the hiking guiding stream I mean… so here is a sample of reasons:
Our guests safety is our first and foremost concern.
Our guests enjoyment is our main concern after safety.
We are knowledgeable ACMG certified local guides with a lot of outdoors experience. When we are not guiding you our guests, we are out there having fun and practicing our favorite mountain sports all year round.
This means we know where the bad weather comes from, how fast it travels and how it could affect each of us.
This means we know when and where a trip is a go or no go, when we need to turn around if need be and it also means we always are prepared with a plan B, C or D!
This also means we know what everyone should be wearing – head to toe and for each season of the year – and what to bring for the care and safety of others.
We are members of the ACMG – Association of Canadian Mountain Guides – a reputable Association with very high safety standards from which we have obtained our recognized certification. To be kept, this certification requires regular training updates and CPDs or Continuous Professional Development. Per example we have to do a recertification of our 80 Hour Wilderness First Aid every 3 years.
Summer doesn’t last long in Alberta but when September and October serve us warm temperatures and no snow – like this year, unlike the last 3 years! – it feels we’re summer until October! In fact there is – or was – a term for it: Indian summer which probably comes from native people who occupied this land before Europeans did.
I use to come visit from Europe during harvest time, the “ambiance” was special with all the fields and most forests dressed in beautiful golden colors, especially when the earlier sunsets would light them up before dark would set. I had fallen (pun intended) in love with Alberta then, for the season and many other reasons. 🙂
And Yes Alberta and our Rockies are a place to visit, discover and play in also during fall! Plus it is usually more quiet than in the summer which is a bonus too! Of course we have quite a few “famous” places where people like to line up to see larches in their bright yellow fall robes but if you don’t like crowds (like me), you should to talk to locals (like us!) for more hidden gems.. you might not see as many larches as the ‘gram’ or social media seem to promise but you will enjoy more peace and quiet. Of course it depends what one is looking for, right!?
From hiking, mountain biking to rock climbing and forest bathing, our fall this year was one to remember! Hope you’ve enjoyed yours wherever you are and we look forward to see you soon for some shared adventures in our very own backyard!
Exciting news this fall! My Alpine Club section Board friend Kristine passed her ACMG Apprentice Hiking Guiding training and exam and is keen to work with us Yeepee!
Kristine came from the other side of our continent and country to make the West her home and the Rockies her playground. She has an impressive resumé of hiking, backpacking and outdour adventures she’s gathered since she’s moved here!
Kristine made it her mission to discover our beautiful mountains and purposefully set out goals like visiting every single ACC – Alpine Club of Canada – hut has for us members to rent. Of course with such a goal she validated the quote “It’s not the Destination, it’s the Journey that counts” and now will have a lot of stories to tell you on the trail!
How was your summer?! Good I hope and with a lot of outings and adventures – small or big – in your area of the world despite the current circumstances!?
Mine was once again quite busy and I got to tick off of my list a few outdoor ideas/projects but it went by too fast as usual! I don’t know about you but I could certainly do with 3 times the months July and August – YES Please to a 6 months summer! – to take advantage of the good weather for more mountain adventures but then for sure with the automatic veggie garden watering installed coz it was a rat race I tell ya! 😅
Luckily September brought us only a couple of cold days so we’ve been enjoying an Indian Summer unlike the last couple of years which brought us snow in September then again early October which then locked us in a long winter. So yes thanks to this summer weather, I was able to get some good mountain fitness and mileage in order to be ready for my hiking guiding exam mid-September.
And yes I am happy and proud to announce that I’ve successfully passed the ACMG exam and assessment process and I am now a fully certified ACMG Hiking Guide! 🙌🏽 🙌🏽
Now you’re wondering “What does this change mean from your previous title of apprentice/assistant?” Simply that I will not need any supervision and instead can offer supervision and coaching to new apprentice hiking guides. I am pretty excited for this opportunity and also feel humbled by the privilege and responsibility.
On the other hand I am thankful for belonging to an Association such as the ACMG – the ombilical cord is definitely not severed! – as it provides me/us all guides with CPDs – Continuous Professional Development – and much more like a community of guides from different streams (Alpine, Ski, Rock..) with whom we can share information, find support/coaching, exchange/buy gear etc.. pretty cool no?!
I now want to wish you a great Fall/Autumn and… hike, climb, bike, rock and run on! 😃🤘
Nathalie Drotar (-Roulin) – Founder of Nat’s Adventure Travels
Here we are in 2020 with every piece of information possible available at the tip of our fingers. Yet we have been noticing a significant rise in the number of rescues in our gorgeous Canadian Rockies the last few w.ends. Where is the gap? what are we missing if we have access to so much information?
I’ve been thinking about it for a while and here is one of my suggestions: asking our cell phones is very convenient but it will never replace connecting with a real person especially an experienced one and here is why:
Time spent outdoor: experienced outdoors people have spent their fare share of time adventuring or playing “out there” and this time has given them experience and skills. They would be happy to share them with you so why not asking? and why not taking the time to listen? Yes it’s as simple as this.
Lessons learned: ask this person about their most fun and for their most terrible or terrifying outing and what they learned from it. I’m sure they have a few stories they’d be happy to share with you which would avoid you making the same mistake!
Humans thrive on social interactions: online or in person. You can tell me what you want about your cell phone providing everything (or so you think) you need for your well being but we are made for social / in-person interactions. I understand some people are introverts and some extroverts which means some will need less and some more of it but in general, humans need other humans to survive and thrive.
Relationships and trust: I don’t know about you but when I was a kid, my parents taught me to not trust an unknown person on the street. I’ve grown as an adult and over the years I have connected with a lot of people through work, courses, the outdoor, etc you name it. Some people I’ve gotten to know enough that I trust them to be my friends. This is because I have met them in person, I have interacted with them, have seen and understood their body-language to be safe for me to built a relationship with.
Now how do we translate this with trusting people/strangers online when reading hikes or climbs reviews, trip reports, adventure blogs etc.. I understand written words let the person’s personality perspire through but how much trust should we grant these words really? I don’t know about you but I still follow the advice received “way back when” and still take everything I read and everyone I meet with a grain of salt first and this until I can prove this source of information or this person to be trustworthy. There are many people online that seem to be experienced but aren’t compared to a professional in the field so do your homework until you find someone you can trust.
Humans are not unique: this might be a new concept to you and sorry if I am breaking a dream of yours 😉 but I realized the last few years that we, humans think so much of ourselves as being unique when we truly aren’t. We are in a way but we aren’t in many ways.. makes sense?! Thinking we are unique can actually create a mental barrier preventing us from seeking solutions or asking for help. We tend to think we are the only ones having this question or that issue, when in fact many other people have had it before us, found solutions and are happy to share the result with us. So don’t think you are this unique, ask or talk to a real person about your new adventure or trip idea and get feedback before you go and are in it above your head or ability!
All in all, it’s a win-win situation when thinking of all the positives aspects of asking an experienced person or a professional. The internet and our cell phones are very convenient tools but they will never replace in-person relationships and what we can learn from building them.
Today, I would like to introduce you to Helen Sovdat, one of Canada’s 16 female IFMGA Mountain Guides.. IFMGA means internationally recognized.. yes Wow! You can read her bio on our Team tab where you will quickly notice that the 2-3 paragraphs say too little about Helen’s career as a mountain guide for 30 years. I bet Helen could write a book about her life! I certainly drool when I think of all the stories she would have to share from all the countries and places she visited and guided!
When I read Helen’s email accepting to fill the role of hiking guiding supervisor for me until my final exam, I was touched. Helen has probably better things to do than having to supervise me when in the field.. it’s summer after all, she might be guiding or might have plans of her own.
I had met Helen as an instructor and examiner on my apprentice hiking guiding week and exam. I saw in her quiet and firm leadership a woman who could kick butts in bigger and tougher terrain. But never would Helen show off, rather what shines through is a quiet but strong female role model and mentor who leads with a big heart.
Do you have female role models in your life? Feel free to comment here below or on our social media channels so we hear about those who inspire us!
This afternoon I heard over my homeland radio that they are reopening their borders to other countries of which Canada. I perked up and felt a burst of joy Yay!! It made me happy especially because it meant that we are moving on to another phase of the Covid pandemic: reopening for the summer season!!
To be honest, I have not had a huge longing to go back – even though all my family and a lot of my friends are there.. – I am quite happy and settled here in Western Canada. I have also been focused on summer and all the fun outdoor activities I could do and provide with my company.
But yes my roots are still over there and it still does something to you when you hear that you are “accepted” again in your homeland! Plus.. PLUS as you may or may not have realised yet, Nat’s Adventure Travels is a Tour Operator company and I/we offer trips to Europe yep yep! Yes hiking guiding in Canada and hiking and/or discovery tours – a mix of hiking and local adventures – in European countries including my home country Woot!
So I went on Google to get the full list of european countries opened or opening for travel and here is what I found: from TravelandLeisure.com – 14 hours ago and from EuroNews – 2 days ago. Have a read, countries are by alphabetical order, it’s pretty comprehensive but note things keep changing and they might even before July 1.
Now the question I had was: am I allowed to leave the country? the government of Canada Travel Advisories was updated 5 days ago mentioning to avoid non-essential travels for a lot of countries..sigh. Another government page has travel restrictions dated April 19 which means from a looong time ago.. please government people, can you update it for the summer!? So before we/I get too excited, I would suggest to be a tad more patient until we get an update on if we can or cannot travel from Canada.
Back to the European list, which let’s be honest makes you drool! here are a few things you should consider for the country/ies you plan to travel to:
Is the country you come from allowed there? it varies from country to country
Do you have to present a health certificate or pass a health check?
Do you have to quarantine and how long?
Do you have travel/flight cancellation insurance and health care coverage – important in all cases.
Are you ready for any “worst case scenario” like: do you have enough vacation days in case you have to stay longer? or is your boss pretty flexible and you travel with your laptop anyway ha ha, will you have a place to stay – family, friends, hotel or Airbnb? will you have enough money to cover an extended stay..
All in all, I’m excited for the future and I hope you can be too. After all life has to go on, yes with care and precaution but life has to go on. Oh and before I forget, I got news from my partner company for the biking / e-biking tours in Portugal and they are OPEN for business YESS! Check out their Health and Safety badge below! As yes they adhere to very similar safety measures as over here (the only difference I noted was 1.5 m vs our 2m/6ft) and yes Portugal is accepting Canadians!!
I have another great women guide to present you today: my alpine club of Canada and outdoor friend Anne Drew Potter! We’ve sat on a couple of committees and have been on a few outings together, where I’ve witnesses Ann Drew as passionate about climbing – which she already practices many years – as embracing her new community and our winter mountain sports. She started our club’s Women’s Mentorship Program and dedicates a lot of her time organizing outings as well as supporting visible minorities in the community.
You may have already understood that Ann Drew loves wearing many hats! I will mention here the few I know: art teacher, accountant, guide, dedicated and organized volunteer and now mother of a beautiful baby girl! She has worked for NOLS in the US, WMA in Canada, has lived in Europe and travelled all around the world and speaks Spanish, German, English and is now learning Portugese!
Anne Drew has also added an ACMG certification to her already extensive resumé and she is excited for the time you will be ready to come with her on a hiking or backpacking trip! More about Anne Drew HERE.
Of course if you would prefer a Custom Trip or adventure package contact us, we can assist you! And if you know someone who has a birthday, special anniversary or simply needs a gift, we suggest checking our Gift Certificates page!
Also we can’t wait to let you know more about trips we plan in different beautiful corners of the continent and world! Please pandemic be done so the borders can open!
Remember to follow us on our social media channels under Nats_AdventureTravels!