I needed some joy today, so went searching for it! I should have known I would find it in the mountains! I always do!
I needed to embrace today, make it worthwhile and come away being thankful. I mapped out a plan on Friday night that meant getting up and out the door early. I was on the road at 6:45am, in the pitch black, hoping to get to Canmore to watch the sun come up which was to happen at 8:30am. I arrived with not a minute to spare and ran up the hill to the high spot to watch the show. It was so pretty and just what I hoped for!
In one direction I watched the sunrise show and in the other direction I watched the alpenglow show. Actually, I was surrounded by alpenglow! I have a new appreciation for this optical phenomenon now that I know what it is and it actually has a name.
When the show was over, I headed further west into Banff National Park to explore Cascade Ponds. I didn't know this little place existed until I checked out my maps last night. This was where I found "joy" as you can see in the top photo. It was just under a 2km loop around the Lake, crossing two bridges, through meadows, by lots of picnic tables, all surrounded by mountains.
It was still only 9:45am and already I am in that place I wanted my plan to take me. Then I headed even further west along the Bow Valley Parkway to Johnston Canyon. I had the Canyon to myself on the way in.
The Upper Falls area was absolutely gorgeous looking so frozen and so blue.
I was surprised to see these guys as I was the only car in the lot. I watched them for awhile as they demonstrated how to embrace today! I found myself thinking this looked so hardcore, yet I would love to try it one day! Am I hardcore enough?
On the way back to the trailhead, I passed a few dozen folks just heading in. My timing was perfect for getting out of there and getting on to my lunch destination. I found a spot along the road by Vermillion Lakes to enjoy my tuna salad on 12 grain bread sandwich, red pepper slices, cherubs, mini honey mandarins, raspberry tea and of course the scenery. The typical photo from here is probably Mount Rundle on its own but I liked this one with Rundle on the far left and a reflection in the middle.
An opening in the bushes caught my eye on the drive back out along that road. I never thought that tree stumps and shrub reflections would be a photo op and worthy of my time but when I was out to appreciate every little thing, I could not pass this by.
Another place I discovered on my map was Fenland Trail. It's just off the west entrance to Banff. It's a 2km loop through a forest, across a couple of bridges and a portion of it follows along a river. This could be prettier in the summer, so I will come back then.
Being so close to Banff, I wanted to check out a B&B along Cave Avenue at the other end of town, that I thought I might like to stay at one night when I could get the last minute deal. It looked nice but it was just "oh" and not "WOW".
I always feel welcome when I'm in the mountains! It's almost like I belong there! I knew I would accomplish what I set out to do this morning! By now I was pleasantly depleted and full of joy! I was ready to call it a day and hit the highway.
|sign on cabin door at Johnston Canyon|