Spring!

I am writing this at the very end of my break so bear with me and my bitterness. However, I had a really nice and balanced break. A friend from Toronto visited me which was a complete surprise and made me feel loved. I also went to Jasper for the first time! Jasper is like a weird version of Banff and like, major Twin Peaks vibes. It was rainy and foggy, which kind of made hiking not the greatest but we managed two very baby trails and snapped some lovely pictures.

After a lovely time seeing the mountains, I now have a mountain of marking and planning to do! Which is fine, and will get done. I am looking forward to getting back into a routine again and getting through this final term of school.

I’ve been pretty good at keeping my work and life balanced. It’s been really hard learning that this year. As a teacher, I find that my to-do list is neverending. There is always something I could be doing, could be organizing, could be “fixing”, or making better. There is always a parent to call or a lesson to plan or something to grade. And sometimes you just need to say no and know that it’ll all get done by June. Oftentimes, you also need to know what to prioritize. In the first term two hours would go by after school and I wouldn’t even know what I did but I did do something. Now I *try* to make sure I leave by 4:30 with the exception of specific busy times of year like report cards or parent-teacher interviews. I’m doing better and recognizing that my time is valuable – as a teacher and as a human being.

The Mountains of Banff, Alberta

I saw mountains for the first time two days ago. I was struck with awe and wonderment, almost moved to tears, as we drove further into the range towards town. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing and I felt true, genuine happiness from just the beauty of these natural wonders. The fresh air filled my lungs and the trees and mountains filled my sight from all angles. This was everything I had ever hoped it would be.

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Driving the loop surrounding the large glacial Lake Minnewanka in Banff, Alberta.

Justin was right in describing these views as primordial. These mountains are primordial and whether you are seeing them up close or far away, they evoke this very visceral feeling. It makes sense why I was so innately driven to tears.

After driving for several hours, we made it into the town of Banff. It’s about a 4 / 4 and a half hour drive so we were feeling excited but definitely needing to rest and figure out what our plan was. We knew that one thing was for certain – we needed to get out there and be even closer to the giant wonders surrounding us.

We came up with a rough plan and headed to a trail near Mount Rundle. This trail was quite long so we didn’t do the whole thing. I hope to come back with bikes in the near future and head along some of the trails in this area and another area as well. Mount Rundle is seen from various parts of Banff, but it was amazing to see amongst Bow Valley. This trail also had Hoodoos, which are rocks that are formed from years and years of erosion.

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Hoodoos are located in the bottom left of this photo.

We walked for a while along this trail and eventually turned back after several stops at the lookouts. After our walking, we decided to eat at a simple but really cozy Irish pub in town for dinner, all the while taking in the mountains surrounding town.

The next day, after various changes of plans, we decided to drive along the Lake Minnewanka loop. This drive takes you all around the large glacial lake with various stops for hiking trails, picnic areas, and camping grounds. We stopped at several different places, the major one being directly at Lake Minnewanka where you can boat, rest, bike, or hike. We, however, got fries and ice cream cones and sat near the lake on some rocks, taking in the reflective, still water and the mountains surrounding it. The lake and mountains together were stunning; one of the most beautiful views we saw during our time in Banff. It makes a lot of sense why Minnewanka literally means “Water of Spirits” (in Stoney / Nakoda, a Siouan langauge).

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Lake Minnewanka, Banff, Alberta

From that point, we continued along the loop and made a few more stops at various parts of the lake and mountain ranges. I can’t express how genuinely happy I was, seeing these mountains merely exist. They are here because of nature and time. They are just here. It takes time to become that collosal.

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Justin and I realized how grateful we are to be this close to Banff. The 4 hour drive is not long, especially considering how much time was needed for these gigantic, towering beauties to form.