Explorata Canadian Rockies

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Jon Krakauer during his summit of Mount Everest stated that he “thrilled in the fresh perspective of turning the ordinary plane of existence on end.” The Canadian Rockies provide every opportunity to turn that plane right upside down. The Rockies are a gateway to an ultimate adventure; an adventurers dream with adventure knocking at ever corner. And for those looking for a quick escape from the city for a day of backcountry snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or even exploring on foot, the drive from Calgary is under an hour. The Highway 40 corridor begins once you exit off of the Trans Canada, towards Nakiska, Kananaskis Village, and the Upper and Lower lakes. Highway 40 is barricaded 50 km down the road from the Trans Canada highway turnoff during the winter months, but there is enough backcountry to keep you exploring a winter wonderland for years.

Winter hiking, scrambling, and exploring either the marked trails in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park or choosing to go it alone in the backcountry in search of ice falls and unexplored canyons, is an opportunity to experience the beauty of pure and remote wilderness with mountain scenery that tells infinite stories and provides infinite memories to pass on. Sensing every moment, like the smell of a rare warm air pocket in the cold or the echoes of rocks tumbling within avalanching snow, weaves us into those stories. Moreover, the feeling of standing alone in the middle of vertical rock walls along many of the trails such as Chester Lake or Sawmill, with a view that has been in the making since the beginning of time, is priceless.

The awe-inspiring vistas rival the mental challenge of traversing snow-laden trails, where motivation lies in the anticipation of the view from the top or at the end of the journey. The solitude of the Kananaskis backcountry also serves as a reminder of the instantaneity of time by recognizing the preciousness of each moment we have to enjoy the places we love. The Rockies are an empowering destination and I have realized after all of my adventures and travels that you can take a girl away from the mountains but you cannot take the mountains out of the girl. The Rockies are where I and many others feel like we belong; providing a gateway not only to adventure, but to a national treasure waiting for us to come and play.

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