Our Beautiful Backyard Treasure: Kananaskis Country


“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you…
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

~ John Muir

Kananaskis Country

Less than an hour from Calgary is a beautiful natural treasure called Kananaskis Country—a 4,000 square kilometer area of foothills and mountains in the Canadian Rockies. Kananaskis is an easy get-away for us. All summer long, every chance we get, we like to visit one of our many favourite places in Kananaskis Country to hike, picnic, dangle our feet in a cold mountain stream, read in a comfy chair in the dappled shade of a spruce grove at our favourite mountain pond or chase butterflies in a wildflower meadow. We feel blessed to live so close to this incredibly beautiful place.

8083423751_a371e101dc_oMountain Wilderness

Kananaskis Country encompasses 10 different provincial parks and two ecological reserves. It is adjacent to Banff National Park, which itself is connected to Jasper National Park, Yoho National Park, Kootenay National Park and other parks. Together, this series of Canadian parks form a vast protected area of contiguous mountain wilderness covering over 14,000 square kilometers of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.


It is written on the arched sky;
it looks out from every star.
It is the poetry of Nature;
it is that which uplifts the spirit.

~ John Ruskin


“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

~ John Muir


“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

~William Shakespeare

Mountain Wildlife

Kananaskis Country provides an important habitat for many wildlife species, including grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, elk, lynx, mountain sheep, mountain goats, moose, fox, badgers, beavers, a wide variety of smaller mammals and many species of birds.


6029817511_aa7aebb2ee_oI have a soft spot for moose. They are large, gangly-looking gentle herbivores that roam the mountain valleys, lakes and bogs in search of tasty vegetation. We spotted this one as we drove along the Spray Lakes Road, a fabulous back-country gravel mountain road which winds through Kananaskis Country. Moose love shallow lakes and muddy bogs, where they can submerge their heads underwater to scoop up mouthfuls of aquatic vegetation. This particular moose was quite unperturbed by our presence and continued trolling the bottom of this mountain lake for its lunch.



Mountain Picnics and Hikes

For my partner and I, a perfect summer’s day is one spent somewhere in Kananaskis Country. We keep two folding arm chairs in the trunk of our car so we can make an easy get-away from the city and spontaneously set up a picnic at one of our favourite mountain spots. No matter how we choose to spend our time in the mountains, whether we go hiking, picnicking or just take in the majestic scenery as we drive, our time there is always a balm for the soul.


Summer Wildflower Meadows

I love summer wildflower meadows. Getting getting lost in the splendor of a wildflower meadow always feels transcendent to me. I wander about the meadows taking photos, identifying different wildflowers, listening to birdsong, taking in big gulps of fresh meadow-flower and pine-scented mountain air; or I simply sit quietly amongst the flowers, listening to the hum of bees buzzing and contemplating the beauty that is life. For me, few things are sweeter.


In summer, the song sings itself.

~ William Carlos Williams



‘I thank you God for this most amazing day,
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,
and for the blue dream of sky
and for everything which is natural,
which is infinite,
which is yes.”

~ E. E. Cummings


No matter what we end up doing in Kananaskis Country, we always return to the city with refreshed minds and a deep sense of well-being, our hearts brimming over with happiness and our souls full of appreciation for all the beauty this world offers us.



Image Credits:

All photos by madlyinlovewithlife unless otherwise specified;
© 2014 madlyinlovewithlife.

30 thoughts on “Our Beautiful Backyard Treasure: Kananaskis Country

  1. I love the photos! They capture the tranquility of the Canadian Rockies that is often so hard to capture. You live in such a beautiful part of the world and you certainly show an appreciation for it. Makes me miss my old retreat back in the Robson Valley.

    • Hey Teddy! :))) How nice to have you stop by! Well, you would certainly know all about the beauty of the mountains. The Robson Valley is truly a spectacular place and you literally had it in your backyard! You’ll have to plan a visit back there once your current world travels are over. Wishing you and everyone there a very happy evening! :)))

  2. Hello dear Jeannie :)
    Oh, wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW :)))))
    My heart is soaring as I view these images, and get a feel for your experience through your words. What an amazing place! As always, I love your photos (and your partner is a photographer too? :))) and how your capture and ‘give tribute’ to everything – from majestic mountains to small critters.

    It’s a cool coincidence, because my husband and I went on a mountain hike this weekend (just returned to Tokyo, actually). It was *wonderful* and much needed! ;) Although I couldn’t make many photos – as it was quite a hike and I was more worried about not slipping – we definitely will definitely go back, and I hope to take some snapshots then.

    Thank you again for your beautiful post! A perfect way to end my weekend.
    Wish you and your partner a lovely Sunday, and a great start to the week!

    Warmest wishes,
    Takami :)

    • Good Morning Takami! What a wonderful synchronicity that you returned from the mountains on the same day as I decided to do my mountain post! I love your enthusiastic response because that is exactly how I feel about the mountains too. You asked if my partner also takes photographs: he loves photography and is quite a good photographer, but he only sporadically picks up the camera. We currently only have one camera, so while I photograph in the mountains, he usually shoots video (I shall be posting some of his video work that we edited together in the near future).

      Your time in the mountains sounds fabulous and I am very much looking forward to seeing some shots of your beautiful mountains.

      Wishing you a beautiful day and a happy week ahead! :))

      • Good morning, and thank you very much for your reply! I will certainly do my best to take some photos the next time we go back to the mountain (we’re aiming for August!). In the meantime, my husband and I will admire your photos, and plan for the next trip ;)

        If it’s OK, may I re-blog your post on my site? Naturally all credit, copyright and blog links will go directly to you. I thought it would be nice if I could show more people here you wonderful site :)

  3. What a truly wonderful place..Fantastic series of photos Jeannie..I have to visit there soon….I hope :) Have a great SUNday

  4. I came through Takami’s website, and these pictures are truly beautiful. The wildlife, the flowers… everything looks amazing. I especially love the little chipmunk :-) Canada is on my to-do-list, and soon this place :-)

    • Oh, thank you so much for your lovely comments. I know you would love the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and British Columbia. There is so mucn natural beauty to explore. Wishing you a happy day! :))

  5. Jeannie, my apologies for being away for a bit… :-( I particularly loved the first few landscape images… So stunning. The still, clear waters, the fields. Truly so fortunate for you and your partner!

    And you weren’t able to coax the little critter onto your hands this time, eh?

    And you closeup of the flower and butterfly in a breeze was fantastic!

    • Thanks, Koji. No worries ever about how often you stop by. We are fortunate to live so close to these beautiful places and we try to take advantage of that every chance we get. And that little chipmunk was very active and moved so quickly and was not at all interested in getting too close! I was lucky to get the shots I did. :))

  6. OMG… Again, I think your photos are wonderful . I have been to Kananaskis a long time ago…but what you show here is just amazing… Wow , wow, wow… i should come back and look again at your post when it is raining here and I fell a bit down !
    I am so happy you have this great backyard to enjoy. Tks for sharing all this with us.

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  9. Thank you so very much for that. It was wonderful. Coming from Vancouver, I just needed your wonderful visuals and great descriptions, and I could fill in the sounds and scents pretty much from memory. Thanks a lot.

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