Planning our summer vacation, and knitting this light cotton sweater has me thinking about my favourite trips in the Canadian summer. I love Toronto, but in high summer, it can feel like you’re living in an easy bake oven. I’m dreaming of the more moderate, clear summer nights in the Canadian Rockies.
On our honeymoon in the Rockies, we engaged in most of the expected mountain activities: relaxing by the clear green water of Lake Louise, checking out the restaurants in Banff, and white water rafting and soaking in the hot springs in Jasper.
But it was one of the more tucked away parks that really stuck with me: Mount Assiniboine. I’ve never seen a mountain landscape as jaw-dropping as the area surrounding this one. Unlike its neighbours, Mount Assiniboine is accessible only by helicopter or 28 km hike over the continental divide from Canmore, Alberta. Few tourists make it here and they have to be committed. The hike was definitely not for the faint hearted, and I made the rookie mistake of wearing new boots – I still cringe when I think about the blisters. That being said, every step (even when you factor in my all-encompassing paranoia regarding grizzly bears) was worth it.
My husband had climbed the mountain before we met, and he wanted to share this special place with me after our wedding. We stayed at Mount Assinboine Lodge, since it was such a special occasion (although the much more reasonable huts will be the location of our inevitable family visit in the coming years).
I’ve really struggled to articulate how special this place is to me. Peace and serenity are not things that come to me easily, but being surrounded by such huge, timeless beauty and profound quiet had a really powerful effect. The Rockies, particularly in the places where you can find some solitude, are so big that they seem impervious to everything, even time. Lying in the grass and flowers in front of the mountain, and thinking about absolutely nothing, will be a moment I remember for the rest of my life.
On the creature comforts side, the lodge, built in 1928, is pretty special – in the middle of the wilderness, you can sit down to a delicious meal or even a sauna. It is still pretty rustic, and it’s important to remember that the price tag reflects the isolation (everything is flown in by helicopter) more than any of the modern trimmings. That being said, I challenge you to find anything as comfortable as a warm quilted bed, a glass of fine BC wine and these surroundings. The only question is: Is it worth it to bring your knitting on the hike?
I cannot wait to share this place with our son some day, and maybe I’ll even wear the sweater.