It’s all about the larches at this time of year, and I have to be honest: I have this love/hate relationship with these trees. For the past two years I have hiked specifically to see them above Moraine Lake here in Alberta. They boast this brilliant yellow and orange color when they turn, and it’s all the craze here.
It was at this point last year I opened my Instagram and stalked #larches #morainelake #larchtrees, to make sure that they had changed to their vibrant yellow color. I scrolled through endless photos, wondering if people were posting in real time or if they were last years photos. Turns out, we missed the larches last year. We arrived to Larch Valley and saw a whole lot of snow and some yellow larch needles poking out.
Well this year, there is no Instagram to open, and I’ve been so good at not cheating that I won’t even let my boyfriend check it near me in case I get tempted to peek over his shoulder. Jenny, also known as Sissy, loves the larches, and so even though we had no idea whether they had turned orange or not…off we went.
Spoiler alert, we didn't find the yellow/orange larches….they were all still green.
So with this, I felt my first real sting of not having Instagram. For like 30 seconds I was actually annoyed when we got up to Larch Valley and saw the green trees. I was annoyed that I woke up at 3:30 a.m., drove 2.5 hours, hiked, and saw no yellow larch trees. And then I asked myself, why am I so upset about these stupid trees. The realization hit me like a bus. Honestly, the only reason I gave a shit about these trees was because I’ve spent hours upon hours looking them up on Instagram and I wanted to get “the shot.”
The day up until that point had been amazing. We started hiking in the dark with only our headlamps to lead the way, we sang songs to scare off any neighboring bears, we cracked a mimosa at 9 a.m., and my legs weren't screaming in pain. We had jumped off rocks, played in the valley, and taken so many hilarious photos with our selfie stick.
I made the decision right then and there in Larch Valley that it’s not about the shot, and it will never be about the shot for me in the future. Its about breathing the mountain air, it’s about connecting with people on the trail, it’s about taking photos so I can look at them, show them to my kids, hang them on my walls, it’s about pushing myself to my limit, until I can’t possibly hike anymore. It’s about the best peanut butter and jam sandwich you’ll ever have on top of a summit. It’s about turning my phone airplane mode and giving myself into nature. That’s the important stuff.
Am I struggling on week two without Instagram? Yes. I miss sharing my personal photos with my friends and family. But honestly, I think if I was still on my personal account, I would be compensating for the lack of Women Who Explore account and doubling my time on my personal account. So it’s better this way.
It’s only Wednesday and I feel like I have accomplished a week’s worth of work. I’ve decided to take a page from my friend’s book and go on “Adventure Thursday” tomorrow, and take the day away from the screen. I can do that because I’ve gotten so much work done.
I have to say, I am dreading going back on Instagram in just 18 days. I'm feeling anxious about the amount of direct messages we will have. I feel anxious about getting back into a routine where I spend hours scheduling posts, liking posts, commenting on posts, etc.
Honestly. I feel liberated right now.