Like many events in our lives, I cannot say this one came from one single inspiration or thought, but yet it was evoked from a medley of different experiences and interactions.
Tea should reside as a consistent part in all of our lives, not only for its flavour and comforting warmth, but also for its ability to awaken our inner spirit and connect us with other amazing people.
Several years ago after hiking, I walked into one of the mountain hotels in order to grab a cup of tea. After discovering the cost of a regular bigelow brand teabag was going to put a dent of $59.99 into my wallet I thought, surely there is a better way to experience “high tea.”
Throughout my journeys in the mountains, I often think how fortunate I am to so easily explore the stunning mountains in the Canadian Rockies. Life was not always so easy for women to venture into the mountains. Many other adventurous women have worked hard to pave the way- I emphasize many, as there are too many to recognize in this post.
One such amazing woman was Elizbeth Parker, journalist and co-founder of the Alpine Club of Canada. Thanks to Elizabeth and her advocacy for females, the ACC is the world’s first national mountaineering club to welcome women. There are stories of women wearing skirts to appease society, only to later rip them off along the trail to expose trousers beneath. After the ACC’s first camp, it was decided that the dress-code would be the same for women as it was for men. How progressive!
Elizabeth Von Rummel is famous for her unwavering hospitality at Assiniboine and Skoki lodges. Dorothy Carleton, a war bride, stepped off the boat from England and landed herself in a secluded cabin as a warden’s wife. And then Kathy Calvert paved the way as the first female warden in mountain parks.
There have also been significant female contributions to the mountaineering world. Phyllis Munday was the first woman to summit Mount Robson (with Annette beck). She also discovered Mount Waddington with her husband. Mary Schaffer Warren is known for putting Maligne Lake on the map. The list goes on and on and on.
Which leads us to the Ha Ling High Tea. This past Sunday, a group of modern day female adventurers put on their skirts, grabbed tea-cups and went for a walk up the iconic Ha Ling Mountain in honour of the important role women play in mountain exploration. We shared stories among old friends and planted seeds into new friendships. Ideas formed, potential future adventures brewed, and a new tradition was formed.
I raise my glass, or rather my tea cup, to all the amazing, strong, and determined women out there who push boundaries and play hard. May the outdoors always be your playground and the mountains your vehicle of expression.