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"The biggest highlight for me was being able to see everyone show their support for the Rypien family."
- Rory Snider  
   
   

 

Story
Photo submitted
Sandra Dyer and the group of friends and family who
accompanied her on a climb of Turtle Mountain.
 
Bellevue resident Sandra Dyer, along with a group of friends and family, climbed Turtle Mountain on Saturday, September 17th, completing a personal challenge two years in the making.
The group departed from Bellevue at approximately 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, beginning their hike at around 8:45 a.m.
Taking their time getting up the mountain, due mainly to struggling to find footing on the loose stones and shale which make up the majority of the mountain’s surface, the group arrived at the summit between 12:30 and 1 p.m.
Story 1
Photo submitted
Bellevue resident Sandra Dyer at the main summit of Turtle Mountain.
“It was hard to figure out where to put your feet and where you were going,” said 48-year-old Dyer, who completed the climb with a group of six friends.
She said the other main challenge to not only them but also other groups of hikers on the mountains were the high winds.
“The wind made it quite a challenge,” said Dyer.
After reaching the main summit which is marked by a Canadian flag, the group stopped for group and individual pictures, followed by lunch, before making their way back down.
“Coming down was the hardest part,” said Dyer.
“Going up was kind of a struggle with trying to find the right place to step, but coming down was terrifying.”
Dyer said she held on to her brother’s backpack the majority of the way down, stepping where he stepped and taking things slowly and carefully.
The group arrived back on solid ground at roughly 5 p.m., after eight hours of hiking.
“When you get to the bottom, your legs are just like jell-o,” said Dyer.
“My whole body was stiff for two days after, but it was so worth it.”
Dyer said she decided to do the climb as a personal challenge to herself, after recovering from a broken hip which she sustained two years ago.
After falling on her way into the doctor’s office in September 2009, the then 46-year-old proceeded to walk around on a broken hip for over three months, with the aid of a walker, before doctors caught her injury.
 

Doctors discovered her hip was broken on November 17th, and two days later, Dyer was in hospital in Calgary being prepped for surgery.
“It was very shocking – I had never broken a bone in my life,” said Dyer, “and I had never undergone that kind of procedure.”
Doctors were unsure of what caused her hip to break so easily, as the only deficiency they could find was that of Vitamin D.
Since that time, Dyer has been taking Vitamin D and calcium supplements.
“It took a long time to recuperate,” said Dyer, adding that she had to work from the hospital for months, as she was physically unable to go in to work.
“Sometimes when you’re down and out, you’re really down and out,” said Dyer.
“When you’re hurting it can be really hard – it can be awful – but you have to remember that it will get better.”
Dyer does not describe herself as a “fit” or “active” person, but said she was motivated to do more outdoor activities after moving to the Crowsnest Pass.
Since then, she has been doing lots of walking and hiking, and set a personal goal for herself to conquer Turtle Mountain earlier this year.
“This one was a big challenge and it was really scary,” said Dyer.
“It was windy, it was hard to catch your step, and it was really scary, but there was such a sense of accomplishment when it was over.”
“That makes it all worth it,” she said.
She said another significant motivator was the company of friends and coworkers on the hike, and the fact that her brother came from Saskatchewan to do the hike with her.
“He was so happy to be able to be with me for this accomplishment, and I was so happy to have him there,” she said.
“Everyone’s support really meant a lot to me.”
Dyer said she encourages others to go outside of their comfort zone and push themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to achieve their goals.
“You just have to try and get over your pain and your fear and go accomplish something you’ve never done before,” said Dyer.
She said she can see Turtle Mountain from her home in Bellevue, and that now whenever she looks up and sees it, a big smile crosses her face.
Dyer is already planning another bike hike for next year, and is considering a few different options.
“Who knows what next year will bring,” she said.
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