A lifetime is short. Don’t forget to slow down and experience the beauty in yours before time runs out.

Tammy Hader
Jul 9 · 4 min read
Grassi Lake near Canmore, Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains — Photo by author

People are everywhere.Even in a forest it’s hard to escape from the noise of humanity. The shadowy tendrils of strangers’ voices probe into my mind and aggravate my thoughts.

Standing at the edge of Grassi Lake near Canmore, Alberta, Canada my attention is focused on the gymnastics of photographing this wonderful offering of nature without accidentally capturing the image of fellow tourists. With mission accomplished, I pocket my cellphone and take a moment to experience the calm, clearness of this beautiful turquoise body of water nestled like a resting peacock into the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

I wonder what it must have felt like to be the first person to trek up this mountain through thick forest brush, climbing over haphazard piles of rocks and tripping over veins of tree roots randomly surfacing through the dirt.

No hiking path to direct you to a promised spectacle of natural beauty. No Google maps or tourist reviews to communicate what lies ahead. To behold the translucent blue green water hidden within the forest like a fist opening to reveal a precious gem in the palm of a hand.

Pale blue waters of the Rundle Forebay Reservoir and the cascading water of the Lawrence Grassi Waterfall — Photos by author

We opted for the circuit route for our Grassi Lakes adventure. Hiking up the moderately difficult trail pays off with a bird’s eye view of the southern tip of Rundle Forebay Reservoir and glimpses of the Lawrence Grassi Waterfall.

Parts of the trail are more challenging with steep and rocky switchbacks. This Kansas girl was obliged to stop from time to time, granting her body the chance to adjust to the rising elevation.

A light rain showers falls upon Grassi Lake — Photo by author

The translucent blue green water of Grassi Lakes reveals a dark mottling of the landscape lying below the surface. Surrounded by walls of forest, the lake is well worth the journey.

To complete the circuit, we began traveling down the easy hiking trail to the parking lot marking the beginning and end of our exploration. This hiking trail, suitable for all ages and physical abilities, is more heavily trafficked than the path we had traversed up the mountain.

Wide and smooth with a gently sloping grade steering us through the forest with little risk and seemingly little reward.

The constant chatter of nearby people annoys me into stopping even though there is nothing spectacular to see. As the chatter passes by and fades away, I begin to notice what had been hidden in plain sight.

The creeping vines of meaningless conversations begin to reluctantly dislodge from my body. Fragments of tension tag along, pulled by a gravitational force following the masses herding down the mountain trail to return to places of self-proclaimed importance.

They have seen what they came to see. They have witnessed the gem but have forgotten to notice the cradling hand beneath.

Along the Grassi Lakes Hiking Trail near Canmore, Alberta, Canada — Photo by author

At first glance the array of simple trees before me is peaceful, quiet and unimpressive. As my mind travels along with my eyes deeper into the forest, my senses are ignited, exposing emotions touched by a deeply personal sense of reality.

The aroma of damp cedar mingles with the sweetness of a smattering of tiny wildflowers. The calming effect of nature’s aroma therapy spreads through my body as muscles relax with each breath.

Listen closely.

The wind is laden with the nearby stream of water bubbling over rocks and cascading down the mountain. Only visible to the ears and mind, the flowing pace is steady and rhythmic.

Leaves are rustling gently all around as the trees stand as silent guardians blocking the intrusion of humanity. The forest presents a solemn air of majesty.

This place with nothing to see is full of life that will remain long after I am forgotten. The one hundred year life span of a human is a microscopic speck in time.

What must the trees think of us?

Generation after generation propelled ever forward by progress and necessity; not stopping, not seeing, not listening. People passing by trapped in a semblance of importance, racing to reach the finish line while the forest endures with resilient patience.


Journal of Journeys

Each of us are the narrators of our own unique stories, dramas and sagas. Journal of Journeys is a publication that takes pride in helping share those stories.

Tammy Hader

Written by

Ex-accountant exploring a creative path during the second half of my existence. Reflecting on past experiences as a guide to living in the world today.

Journal of Journeys

Each of us are the narrators of our own unique stories, dramas and sagas. Journal of Journeys is a publication that takes pride in helping share those stories.

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