When you travel, you see everything in a new light. I was on this highway a year ago, and again I was in awe of the ever-changing grandeur of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Everything was the same, yet it was entirely different this visit. The faraway views were spectacular and ever-changing. Near views of sheer rock faces climbing straight up, only feet from our car, was breath-taking.
I landed in Calgary early in the afternoon from Ontario, lakeside, a short walk from the turquoise water of Georgian Bay. Now, after a four-hour plane ride, I was a different world. We headed north and west on Trans Canada Highway #1. When we drove through Banff, the sun was kissing the mountains making them appear clear and colourful. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky – a perfect August day to soak in the splendor of this incredible National Park. An hour further north-west, we crossed the Alberta border into British Columbia and continued through Yoho National Park.
The view began to change, almost imperceptibly. The mountain views, previously crisp with detailed colours and jagged edges, we’re now softened as if viewed was through a filter, a haze.
I commented on how particularly beautiful the misty view was.
Stephanie said, “That is smoke, from the forest fires. Can’t you smell it?”
With my sniffer alert on, the faint pungent odour was indeed discernible.
I asked, “Are some of the fires close?”
Steph answered that she didn’t know where they were now but a few days earlier they were raging in the Okanogan, a three or more hour drive south. I was incredulous that the airborne detritus carried this far away.
Continuing our drive, we veered into Field, B.C. with majestic views of Yoho National Park, now muted in a smokey mist in every direction.
Mountain roads cut into and around rock face are a wonder unto themselves.
We near our destination of Golden B.C., a town in a ‘mountain trench’ surrounded be the Rockies, the Selkirks and the Purcell mountain ranges and by five National Parks: Yoho, Banff, Jasper, Glacier and Kootenay.
So, approaching Golden is a visual treat. Roadside signs become more plentiful:
“Approaching Ten Mile Hill“. Really, a hill that long?
“Test Your Brakes“. Okay then!
“Runaway Lane”. ‘OMG’, I think. And there it is – a road veering off the highway, climbing a steep grade, only to stop abruptly at the mountain wall. Handy for those out-of-control transport trucks.
This Ten Mile Hill world becomes a circular, downhill kaleidoscope of images – steep mountains on one side of our car, unbelievable depths on the other, and the road winding out of sight behind each new curve up ahead. And so it goes, around every bend and every downhill mile, each one more spectacular than the last.
Finally the view opens to expose Golden nestled in its mountain cradle.
Farther up, Steph and Jeff’s home is tucked in on the side of the Rocky Mountain range.
We enjoyed ending the day with a glass of wine, dinner of Atlantic salmon (ironic since we are near the Pacific), asparagus, kale artichoke salad, & rice. Dessert was one of Steph’s delectable creations …
Last summer, I recorded my British Columbia adventure in my sketch journal. This year, I will blog my way through our daily doings.
Day one. Good night.