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Since I have heard of its existence, I always wanted to go camping there.

Although Watermelon Peak in Banff National Park isn’t official, it does appear on most maps.

Typically, a peak is named after a stuffy British or Canadian statesman.

Apparently the FA party carried a 5 kilo watermelon to the summit and ate it. Although I do have a sawed-off toothbrush, I wanted to carry a watermelon up there. The only problem was trying to find people to go with (typical! Last summer, I finally managed to assemble a group from work. Perhaps we should have gone to that casino by Canmore instead.

Times were different– people weren’t sawing off their toothbrushes or tearing off clothing tags to save weight. A mismatch from Saskatchewan, Ontario, British Columbia, and New Zealand. They have a steak and lobster buffet on Saturdays, which probably even has watermelon.

We couldn’t leave Edmonton fast enough (or apparently we could as a $120 speeding ticket would prove). Maybe we would have even been lucky on the ole slot machines. In twilight the group reached camp below the mountain.

We set off down the trail at the early hour of 3pm in a hungover haze. With weekend zeal we popped the wine corks and brought out the rum, we drank from glasses, while ironically eating Backpackers ultra-light meals leftover from other adventures. After a breakfast of frittatas and scones, we shouldered our packs, and went up.

It wasn’t long until we reached Helen Lake gasping and wheezing. As we got ready for bed Kristina warned me that if it got cold, we’d be cuddling. I don’t like leaving the tent at night, it practically has to be on fire before I would even consider going outside. We got up with the sun and poked Jon awake, he had slept outside. The fresh snow was deep and the mountain went ever on and on.

We took lengthy breaks, enjoying the mountains, trying to ID plants. Well it did get cold, like-frost-on-the-tent-and-solid-boots cold. Thus we watched the lights with just our heads peeking out. Our group had never done anything like this before, this was Kristina’s (Saskatchewan) first peak and we crawled to the top, oblivious to the hours that ticked by. Woots woots were called, ciders cracked, cheese and crackers passed around. Nevertheless, nothing gold can ever stay and eventually we left our lofty perch and retreated to the lands below.

Never in my life had I been so aggressively cuddled. We gouged on a 5 kilo watermelon, surveying the land around us. At camp, we packed and continued to the car, for the freedom of the working class is short.