“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
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.
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.”
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.
I 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.
All photos by madlyinlovewithlife unless otherwise specified;
© 2014 madlyinlovewithlife.