I was super excited to visit Banff National Park, but the time I spent there was almost all together disappointing (except for my hammock; there’s nothing disappointing about literally hanging out in nature.)
The weather was cold and rainy. I spent most of my time in the car, driving around not seeing too much because of the clouds. I went on only one hike, and it was miserable. I’d reached out to someone on Instagram inquiring about where he’d seen a view he posted, and he refused to tell me since “people are destroying the natural environment because of Instagram.” (Then why the heck are you contributing to it, dude!?) Anyway, I found the place (no thanks to him) and, though the weather was blustery, the trail was indeed over-crowded and littered with trash, which I collected in the rain. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so far away from nature on a hike as I did on this one. Too many people. No serenity. And sidewalks. The park built a pathway with guardrails through a cavern. (Mr. Instagram actually got me thinking about whether I and others are chasing a picture instead of an experience…and how nature might be affected by this – and also how national parks are catering to this trend.)
After that hike (and breakfast with a very grumpy server at a little spot in the park), I rushed back to my campsite to relax in the rain in my tent (and my hammock). I read and watched Hulu and just chilled out. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for in the very small window of time I had to spend at a place I’d heard and read so many incredible things about…but it gave me some time to think and reflect and plan and look forward. I’d set my alarm to go off very early the next day so I could squeeze in another hike before making the ten hour trek to meet Julie in western British Columbia, but I turned it off. Whose schedule was I accommodating? No one’s but my own, I realized. So why would I set myself up for losing sleep to squeeze another cold rainy hike into my “itinerary” before a long day of driving? #nope
I left my campsite later in the morning relaxed (and well-rested) and looking forward to meeting my friend. I took my time driving across lower British Columbia toward Vancouver (the views were incredible). I stopped when I wanted to stop and just…took big gulps of the Canadian Rocky Mountain air. I don’t love driving, but I settled into a groove early on in my journey (driving Lyft in the spring probably helped me prepare), and some of my best thinking (and listening to my intuition and the Universe) came to take place in the car. And the driving proved to be great “down time” before my next adventure began.
(Someday, I look forward to coming back to Banff in nicer weather and taking my time, maybe taking pictures for Instagram and maybe not.)