“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
The Landscape Through My Lens
Oh, how I love a good road trip, especially a drive through beautiful country. When it comes to road trips, my partner and I usually find ourselves driving eight hours east, across the prairies from Calgary to Saskatchewan, to visit my mother. But this time we are driving eight hours west, on a little autumn getaway to beautiful British Columbia. The landscape is whizzing by at 120 km/hr but I can’t help myself: it’s such a beautiful morning, I take my camera out and start snapping away as soon as we leave the city limits.
Heading west on a trip through the Rocky Mountains to the Okanagan Valley, in the southern interior of our beautiful neighboring province of British Columbia, we couldn’t have picked a better day for a scenic road trip. The sky promised lots of high drama between the mountain tops, lingering fingers of fog, patches of moody dark clouds and large swaths of blue sky—and rays of morning sun streaming through it all to illuminate the bright yellow leaves of the trees in their spectacular autumn glory. What a show! Everything looked utterly beautiful to me.
Leaving Calgary: Golden fields meet foothills, foothills meet mountains, mountains meet clouds and sky.
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
~ Martin Buber
Nearing Canmore, Alberta, we find low clouds skulking moodily between the mountains. It’s utterly breathtaking and my photographs do not do it justice. The journey promises to be a great one—driving the most beautiful part of the Trans-Canada highway through several contiguous National Parks in the Canadian Rockies.
Banff National Park. Brilliant swaths of yellow flash by my window.
“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.”
Why Did the Bear Cross the Road?
Wildlife Crossings over the Trans-Canada Highway
When it became apparent some years back that the Trans-Canada highway running through Banff National Park was going to be twinned, concern was raised about more wildlife meeting their demise trying to cross this major highway. In an effort to protect the wildlife in the park, the four lane Trans-Canada highway was completely fenced in, effectively cutting one part of the park off from the other. In order to try to remedy this problem, six huge wildlife overpasses (at a price tag of 4 million dollars a piece) together with 38 highway underpasses were constructed to provide access to the other side of the road for animals (especially those with large ranges). Initially, no one knew whether these overpasses and underpasses would be successfully used to increase breeding ranges between the two sides of the park divided by the highway. Good news, though: over the past few years, several studies have shown that these access routes for wildlife are indeed working. To read more, check out: Banff Bears Use Wildlife Crossings to Find Mates.
Castle Mountain, Banff National Park.
Although we’ve been to Lake Louise many times time before, it’s been years and years since we’ve last laid our eyes on this amazingly beautiful, world famous turquoise-coloured mountain lake. It was fun to stop there and stretch our legs a bit with a walk down to the lake. The day was forecast to be warm and sunny, but much to our surprise we found that ice and frost had covered the boardwalk in the night, turning it into a skating rink. The lake sits in the morning shadows of the surrounding mountains and an icy wind blew off the glacier that feeds the lake and gives it it’s characteristic turquoise blue colour. I’m glad I donned my warm woolen hat and down-filled coat for the walk to the lake.
Lake Louise is one of the most photographed scenes in the Canadian Rockies, and it seems that no matter when you go, you will encounter crowds of people standing at its shores with selfie sticks, iPhones and digital cameras, taking that classic shot of themselves standing in front of the lake. In the short time I stood there people-watching, I heard excited exclamations in Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Spanish. People travel from all around the world to see Lake Louise and it never disappoints. It’s beautiful, indeed, even on this morning without the sun to set off its outrageous turquoise blue colour. Everyone was so excited, so happy, and getting so much enjoyment from the beauty of the lake that it made my heart soar. And to cap it all off, I spotted a Clark’s Nuthatch surveying the crowd from a perch on a park bench. A perfect pit-stop!
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Leaving Lake Louise: back on the highway, heading west to British Columbia.
Runaway Truck Ramp near Golden, British Columbia. Whenever we pass this particular runaway lane (the very short road off to the right), my partner says that the two yellow signs on either side of it which read “Runaway Lane” should instead say, “Bend Over and Kiss Your Sweet Ass Goodbye”. It seems to us that anyone actually needing to use this incredibly short runaway lane at the bottom of this very steep hill is not going to fare so well when they collide with the solid wall of rock at the end. The small sign at the far end, we often joke, should read, “If You Can Read This, You Are In Heaven”.
One of a series of snow sheds (for avalanche-prone areas) in Glacier National Park, British Columbia.
Glacial streams roll down the mountainside near the summit of Roger’s Pass. At this elevation (4,364 feet), snow often lingers all year round.
Giant Cedar Boardwalk Trail, Revelstoke National Park, British Columbia—a great place to stretch our legs, taking the half kilometer boardwalk trail through an old growth cedar forest.
The light on the water is magical as we enter the Okanagan Valley. We made so many stops along the way to take in the vistas, go for a few walks and enjoy a couple meals, that we extended our trip by several hours. We finally arrived at our destination just as the sun was sinking over the lakes. But our real destination for that day was to simply enjoy the journey—and that we certainly did.
All photography by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2015 madlyinlovewithlife