The grandeur of the Canadian Rocky Mountains never ceases to amaze me. There is nothing quite like standing on top of a mountain peak, surrounded by the first light of dawn. This Tent Ridge post wedding adventure session in Kananaskis was no different. In fact, it is etched in my mind as one of my favorite mornings to date. We knew we were going to be waking up at 2am, so we decided to sleep in our vehicles at the trailhead.
The Night Before the Hiking Adventure Session in Kananaskis
Shaelyn and Daimyn arrived about 8 or 9pm the night before, and I had already been there for a couple of hours. That area of the mountains is one of my favorites. There is no service, and on a weekday, hardly any people. It was absolutely dead silent when I arrived the evening before. The sun cast a soft glow of light across the meadows as it dropped in the sky. Nothing moved, except the occasional breath of wind teasing the spruces.
We had about 4 hours to sleep. Did we sleep? That’s up for debate! My shrill alarm woke me from a very shallow sleep at abou 1:30am. When I opened my SUV door and looked outside, I’m almost gasped in awe! A dense scattering of stars peppered the sky. I have never seen stars so incredible. When Shaelyn and Daimyn emerged from their vehicle, I immediately pointed out the stars. We all stared in a amazement for a few seconds. Wow! Even the milky way was clearly visible as it flooded in a distinct path through the sky.
The Hike up for the Adventure Session
This was August. It had to be the absolute coldest morning of the entire summer. We shivered as we packed up our gear, double checked our headlamps, and threw in some hand warmers. Having done many a sunrise hike prior to this, I knew that as soon as we started hiking, we’d warm right up. And sure enough! With me in the lead, we headed down the road and turned off onto the trail. There’s something so adventurous about trudging through the denseness of the mountain wilderness with just the light of our little headlamps to mark the way. It was just us. Not a single other soul around. Just us, in the middle of the bush, at 2am, with a very clear goal in view.
We came out into the first clearing before starting the ascent up the east side of the ridge. Tent Ridge is a horseshoe, so it offers stunning views for the entire hike. But of course, we didn’t have any views besides the sticks and trees in front of us in the pitch black. As we started to climb the ridge, we could see the tiny little lights of Mt Engadine Lodge below. It was almost a comfort, knowing that at least there was some life nearby. Finally, we reached the top of the east side of the ridge and the weather station. It was quite cool, so we hunkered down behind the huge concrete block of the station and ate a little snack. I looked over to the east and saw the first light of dawn finally glowing faintly over the distant peaks. Soon, I thought.
Arriving at the Summit of Tent Ridge for our Adventure Session
We carried on, going down now through the saddle at the south end of the ridge. The climb up to the west ridge was quite steep, but it kept us warm on this brisk morning. When we reached the top of the west of Tent Ridge, we realized it was still an hour until sunrise. Our friends who had come along for support, boiled up some hot coffee in their jetboil. Then we waited. What a surreal feeling, being just us on top of a mountain in the wee hours of the morning. It is an epicness that not many have the fortune of experiencing.
As the dawn brightened, I suggested Shaelyn and Daimyn start getting into their wedding attire. It was cold. They were troopers. Just as Daimyn finished buttoning Shaelyn’s gown, the sun crested the peaks, painting the mountains around us golden, and casting a warmth that was felt.
We spent the next couple of hours shooting, hiking, and soaking in the breathtaking views and morning light. The heat of the sun strengthened as it rose, peeling away our shivers. The photos from this epic adventure session in Kananaskis are some of my favorites ever. Tent Ridge is an incredible option for your hiking elopement for those of you who are avid hikers. The views are some of the best I’ve ever experienced. In every direction, the mountains rise in layers against the sky. Spray Lakes sits nestled in the valley to the North. Definitely consider Tent Ridge for your hiking adventure session or elopement in Kananaskis. It is well worth the effort.
PS. Be sure to check out Mt. Engadine Lodge if you are looking for a secluded little spot for an intimate mountain wedding. And if you’re thinking yes, this is definitely where I want my hiking elopement, you can inquire through my contact form here!