Last week I wrote about my impromptu trip to Alberta due to Burnout. My first stop was Drumheller, the badlands that prior to this I hadn’t really known existed. Stop number two was another spot I hadn’t really heard of, Kananaskis.
We’ve all heard of Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise. Who hasn’t seen the iconic pictures of the turquoise waters of Lake Louise? Then of course there is the world famous Icefields Parkway that connects the three. I had been there 2 years prior, and while I enjoyed almost all of it, what I didn’t enjoy was the tourists! It was literally wall to wall people in Banff and Lake Louise. Jasper wasn’t as bad, but finding a place to stay, any place, was next to impossible even three months before I went.
I had never heard of Kananaskis. The only way I even found it was a google search for campgrounds with tipis. And that search led me to Sundance Lodges in Kananaskis Country. Here, not only could you rent tipis or trackers tents to sleep in, but you could also rent gear! To top it all off, there was still availability on short notice. Perfect.
Kananaskis, located about 40 minutes from Banff, is in the heart of the Rockies with stunning scenery and a noticeable lack of tourists and obnoxious development. It’s mostly campgrounds and filled with a large amount of well groomed and well marked hiking, biking, riding and climbing trails. Here wildlife is also abundant, most noteably the Bighorn Sheep, elk, and grizzly. Lucky for me, the scariest thing I saw in my campsite was a red fox.
Most of my hiking took place in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. The week before arriving a large portion of the park had been closed due to an abundance of grizzly bear activity. Back home my sister in particular was having a fit that I would get eaten by a grizzly. I had to check in everyday to say where I would be. While irritating, this is an important practice in case something unexpected happens. ALWAYS carry bear spray and know how to use it. And remember, you can’t carry it on a plane, even in your checked luggage.
The best, and most difficult part of the trip was my hike up the mountain to an indescribable mountain lake. I’ve attached the photo here, but it doesn’t do it justice. Getting there was an exercise in endurance and the use of many, many stops. For those who might be interested, it’s called Rawson Lake Trail. The reward of this climb is indescribable. Make sure you have sturdy hiking books, lots of water, your bear spray, some snacks, and of course, something to take photos with. I just used my iPhone. Go earlier in the day so you have lots of time. While not heavily travelled, you will run into other hikers on this trail.
Doing a hike like this helped my flagging self confidence and gave me more time to disconnect (no cell phone service at all here) and just clear the mind. When you are struggling to just make it another 20 feet you don’t have time to think about much else. And maybe that’s what more of us need, to be forced to disconnect and have that “in the moment” time where the only thing we are thinking about is the task at hand.
Next week I’ll have a few more things to offer about Kananaskis and Jasper. Until then, what can you do to be in the moment?