As the van in front of us pulls over on the otherwise empty highway, I noticed a black fur ball bounce down the short hill to our right. The black shape slowly made its way across the highway, not paying the stopped vehicles or its passengers any attention. I grab Alex’s arm and shake him awake in the passenger seat, “Look, a bear!”
On the road through the Canadian rockies, I’m anxiously searching for the wildlife that I’ve heard so much about: bears, deers, goat, and even cougars. Four days ago, we left Vancouver and drove across the border to Alberta. Conquering 600 kms each day, we raced under the open sky, surrounded by mountains.
Summer in the rockies promises of beautiful lakes, great camp grounds, and plenty of wildlife. We shared the road with bikers and motorcyclists, families spending their vacation in a RV, and nomads searching for the next adventure. Despite the 20+ C weather, on mountain tops covered with snow and glacier, winter was still in sight.
By the second day, we had already seen a handful of deers, a couple of goats, and one bear. The weather in the mountains hastily switched between sunny and stormy. Only stopping to see lakes, waterfalls, and for meals, Alex and I quickly grew sick of being cooped up in the car. When Lake Louise welcomed us with clear skies, we made a 11km roundtrip hike to a teahouse tucked away in the mountains behind the lake. The Plains of Six Glaciers teahouse sits at 2100 meters high, right below where a large glacier breaks off.
There was no electricity at the teahouse. The staff that worked there lived in cabins near the teahouse to save themselves from the 5.5km uphill hike every morning. From there, I had a clear view of the glacier above me and the lake below. Something about that moment made me desperately want to live in the mountains, at a cabin that mirrored the same view I had now. I would unplug and live without electricity.
Back in the car, I explained all of this to Alex. “Could we live in a place like that?”
“OK, but only if I can also fish in the lake”.