I took some time for myself to go on a little road trip towards the rocky mountains. With work taking the majority of my conscious time, I felt I needed a break away from my regular daily routine and travel somewhere different. I got all of my camera gear, warm winter clothes, and a little bit of optimism for nice weather. That last request is usually a real gamble. Heading along the highway, I always get excited when I start seeing the mountain ridge appearing out of nowhere in the distance. Living in the prairies that mostly cover Alberta Canada, the massive grey stone structures stand out. The closer you get towards the enormous landscape, the more immersed you feel when you get into it. My intent of this run was to check out some hiking trails that lead to Taylor Lake. It’s located 18 km (11 miles) southeast of Lake Louise and west off the Trans Canada Trail. It’s a less talked about lake compared to the more popular spots like Vermillion Lake or Lake Minnewanka or Morraine Lake, so it sounded like a great location to check out.
After getting in a hotel in Canmore which is just outside the Banff National Park, I unpacked my bags and slept. The next morning I woke up to the moon slowly setting over the west side of the mountains, so naturally I bolted out of my room with my camera and tripod and found a location to capture the beautiful setting. Day one has commenced. After grabbing some much needed coffee and breakfast, consumed in that order, I was on my way towards Taylor Lake. I parked my car and got my camera bag strapped to my back. With a deep breath and unbridled confidence, I opened the gate that separates the wild animals away from the highway, and walked along the trails that slowly brought me away from the noisy vehicle traffic and into a peaceful and tranquil state of silence.
The trails are alongside a mountain so if your into walking on an uphill grade than your in luck. A little piece of information I failed to consider when I stuffed my camera bag with more gear than I needed. Lesson learned. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for March. The sun was out, there was no wind, the trails we’re solid enough with plenty of traction. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. The distance between the parking lot to Taylor Lake is roughly over six kilometres (3.7 miles). The trails went along on a steady uphill grade with switchbacks and bridges. If it wasn’t for the railings, you’d never know there was a bridge at all with all the snow piled on top of it.
At one point in my walk I came across another trail that went to a different direction. There wasn’t any signs indicating where it went and the foot traffic didn’t seem heavy so I thought that I’d take the heavier trafficked route since I assumed that people are coming out here for the lake. I hiked along towards the trail and the area started to open up. Hopes we’re high in thinking that I finally made it to my destination. I came across two hikers that we’re having lunch in the snow so I asked them how their day was going and if they knew I was close to the location. “ It’s going great but I don’t think we’re on the right path.” “Oh? What makes you think that?” I asked. “ Well the sign at the beginning of the trail said Taylor Lake was 6.3 kilometres(3.9 miles) away and according to my GPS watch we’ve walked 8 kilometres (4.9 miles) so far.” I was stunned. “Seriously?” “Yah, we’re just having a bite to eat and we’re turning around. The snow is starting to get too soft at this point without snowshoes so we’re gonna call it a day.”
I was floored that with all the work and planing I had done to get here was going be a complete waste of time. I had to sit down. I sat in the snow and grabbed the lunch I brought with me and as I was about to close my bag, there was a heavy snowfall that came out from nowhere and caught us in our tracks. I found whatever little shelter I could and stayed there eating my frozen cliff bar and pieces of fruit till the snowfall passed.
After the snowfall cleared, I gathered my gear bag, made sure I wasn’t leaving anything behind, and began my walk down to the car. I couldn’t help but think of how discouraged I felt with not having the opportunity of seeing the lake. To some people I can understand that it’s just another body of water, but to me it was goal I set myself to do. Working the majority of the time away from home in an economy that has been in trouble for over a year in a province that’s within a recession, little things like this can become a big deal. I walked along and kept my mind away from the negativity with admiring my surrounding.
I continue descending the hiking trail and I came across the alternative route I examined at earlier. I had nothing to lose at this point so I decided to walk along for a little bit and see where it went. The trail had a descent grade to it and the last thing I wanted to deal with was more uphill walking, but I persevered and sure enough I started to see something familiar. About several minutes away I could see the rock face that I had seen on the internet that sits on the backside of Taylor Lake. I was here. I finally made it. A massive load of relief fell upon me. I’m not paying attention to where I’m walking . I just want to get there. I was absolutely ecstatic to be here. When I arrived and sat in the snow I kid you not the sky cleared up and the warm sunshine landed down on the untouched snow. This was heaven. I managed to gather my thoughts and get the photographs I wanted. Time stood still while I was clicking away. I wasn’t paying attention to what time it was. I didn’t realize I left my camera in manual mode up until I looked at the previews. My work life and personal life was out of sight from what I was looking at in that moment. I felt free, liberated, and connected. I didn’t want to leave. The temperature was perfect, the snow was so comfortable, my head was in a great place. Eventually I did have to go so I got all my camera gear put away, looked at gorgeous scenery I daydreamed about for weeks and continued my walk back down. While I was walking all I could think was how I felt when I first saw the Lake. That feeling of regaining touch to a side of me that gets neglected when I have to work in order to facilitate a secure and comfortable life. It’s something that I easily forget. Everyone has a different method of connecting deeper to themselves. Whatever that method happens to be, don’t lose sight of it. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hustle that surrounds us. What I learned out on this trip is to make time to connect to that deep part of you so that you can remind yourself of who you really are, what your capable of. It’s so refreshing to step out of your comfort zone when you get so fixated onto a routine that doesn’t change. I felt like myself, getting together with an old and familiar friend.