Just me and the Rockies.
Last August, my family and I flew into Calgary, rented a car, and drove up to Banff. We stayed at a rented and completely-furnished condo off the side of a peaceful and picturesque highway. I remember climbing out of the car and having my heart and lungs nearly-collapse as my overwhelmed ears, mouth, nose, and mouth took in all that was before me. At that time, the skies were turning a dark hue of pink, surrounding and stretching as far as we could see. The gigantic looming mountains were ominous black rocks outlined by the glare of the departing sun. No lanky, tall apartments or swanky-looking skyscrapers. Just me and the Rockies. I had just spent two months in the bustling cities of New York and D.C., so Banff was a refuge where I could recover my health (emotionally, and physically) and rediscover the wonders of nature.
In all, Banff has the perfect combination of sparkling bodies of water, marvelous mountains, and dazzling blue skies. This part of Alberta is renowned for its beauty, which comes from the huge amount of resources that people of Banff (and possibly the whole province of Alberta) invest in retaining wild nature’s beauty. Moreover, Banff is more than just a picturesque region; you can also get your hands dirty. In Banff, we galloped through woods on the backs of horses, trotting pass seductively beautiful lakes; sped downstream the Kananaskis River in our whitewater raft, racing against other rafts; and tirelessly hiked hours around Lake Louise, Lake Winnewanka, and Maligne Lake, letting our curiosity be our tour guide. For the days we spent in the outdoors, we would find ourselves struggling to catch our breaths, not only due of physical fatigue, but from the breathtaking scenery. We hiccupped our way through Takakkaw (translation in Cree: magnificent) Falls and the Columbia Icefield (which was breathtaking in a freezing-cold way.) Even more, we participated in a wildlife tour to see animals in their natural habitats and often encountered bears, elks (which, not to be confused, are not moose,) and deer on our drives.
Banff was a place for my family and me to max out our camera memory cards, for us to unwind (hot springs!) and for us to explore trails, lakes, and mountains. Just as thousands and thousands of sunlight particles fade away when the sun retracts behind the mountains, so my worries and burdens dissipated away into nothingness the longer I spent immersed in Banff.
When I think back to the moments spent in Banff, I am reminded of the Rockies and how incredibly small they made me feel. I remember basking in that feeling because it reminded me that my troubles are smaller than I make them out to be and that regardless of what has happened in the past, there is still so much life to live, so much more exploring to be done.
Article written by Cherrie Chen.