Monday, 2 June 2014

Jasper 2014

There are two things in the world that bring an instant sense of peace, awe and serenity to my soul.  The ocean and the mountains.   I don’t live very close to an ocean, although there is one close enough to visit once in a while, but I live in a great province with some majestic mountain ranges.  And they are accessible – quite easily.
I get this feeling as soon as I see them in the distance, snowcapped peaks, and clouds drifting lazily across the summit, majestic creations.  They always bring out such a powerful sense in me of what nature is capable of.

Two weeks ago, I reserved a cabin at the place I have gone almost every year for the last 5 years.  I think it was 2 weeks ago but it felt like longer because the anticipation of packing up and getting on the road was overwhelming this time.   See, I have been blessed to have crossed paths with an amazing person and this was our first weekend away so not only was I thrilled to be able to spend some time with nature, but I was additionally thrilled that I would be spending it with someone whose company and time I enjoy so very much.  Really, if you had seen me Thursday night you would have thought it was Christmas Eve and I was a child waiting for Santa to get there.
So we are packed up and on the road (thank you for driving) having an enjoyable drive with great conversation – one bathroom break at some shady outhouse (thank you for having hand sanitizer!) and 3 hours later – through a bug streaked window, there they are, in the distance, bringing me that instant sense of ease, erasing any stresses that I have been hanging onto.

Friday evening was just spent unpacking,  exploring the campground, precariously (well for me) crossing a fallen log to the other side of a brook,  relaxing with a couple of glasses of wine, an amazing outdoor cooked steak dinner, and enjoying the view that Mother Nature decided to throw our way.  (How could you NOT feel at peace with that as your view!!!).
Saturday was hiking day.  I have hiked Maligne Canyon before but it has always been with children and they are not very forgiving of the terrain so I am generally turning back before I want to.  This time I also had a proper pair of hiking boots – one of the nicest gifts anyone has ever given me – and a gift that I plan on using a lot!  We started out at the Tea House, with plans to hike all the way to the 6th Bridge and back again.  I have never made it to the 6th bridge; I usually get to the 4th bridge when the ones with little legs want to go back!  The whole hike there and back is about 7.5 km and takes between 2-4 hours, depending on how often you stop to bask in the beauty of the canyon or find some great photo opportunities.  (I have a lot of pictures!)

I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful it is there.  I would not do it justice with just words, pictures don’t even do it justice but the roar of the water, or the peacefulness and stillness when you are in the wooded area is phenomenal.  Shhh, but we even snuck under a fenced area to sit on a rock to enjoy our trail mix and the sound of the water as it created new crevices in the rocks!
We made it to the 6th Bridge just in time to have the Park Ranger come speeding in through the gate to investigate a bear sighting (we did not see any bears).  Had a lovely picnic lunch of kielbasa, smoked Gouda, blueberries and raspberries right at the edge of the river – I think that qualifies as my picnic in the mountains and I can cross that off my list!  

Hike back up to the top, and decide that we have times to go and visit Athabasca Falls.  Again, another place where words can't do it justice.  Not as long of a walk to get around there but bringing up our walking time to A LOT!  And thanks to my lovely boots, I have no sore feet, my legs are feeling surprisingly okay, although a little shaky.  LOL, from my descriptions, can you tell which place I prefer :)

We drove back into Jasper to have a drink and a bite to eat at the Japser Park Brewery and to take an obligatory picture with Jasper the Bear and after a walk around for a bit it is time to head back to the cabin and see if we can actually stay awake to see the stars!  (And we managed to mostly make it!).  I reluctantly woke up on Sunday knowing that it was time to head back to home and back to reality (although a good friend of mine has pointed out that I need not be sad because this is my reality now!!)

When I started writing this blog again, it was to share my journey, the walk I was taking down my new path, a sort of therapeutic practice for myself, not even necessarily to share with the universe (although, thanks for reading!).  It's been an amazing journey so far and I KNOW that I am going to have a lot of new experiences and adventures to share.  I remember being so afraid standing at the proverbial fork in the road wondering which way I was going to choose, knowing it was my choice and that I was going to be fully responsible for the direction my life took.  I have to say I have chosen well. 

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