Our second Bluto trip was a five-day drive north to Banff in 2012. We took our time, went slow, and tried to attune. Why is it so easy to take for granted what’s close by and be lured by some far away place involving air fare or long hours on a ship? People come to explore BC and Alberta, “God’s country”, from all ends of the world while we who live here dream about going to Hawaii. Does the quality of a vacation improve with the distance you put between your destination and your home? On this trip we determined to pay attention to the relatively near-at-hand and to try, as much as possible, to see things as if we were seeing this part of the country for the first time. And you know what? It worked.
Maybe I should mention that geography was never my strongpoint. As a teenager, for example, I thought the Pyrenees were flesh-eating fish native to Africa. Even now, give me a map and I’ll likely try to read it upside down. Yes, it drives Roland crazy. But I’ll say this, even though I can’t read a map worth sh-t, I can recognize awesome scenery when I’m motoring through it. And heading up through BC and seeing the landscape change it really hit us how amazing this province is. Back in the late seventies BC Tourism came up with the Super, Natural, British Columbia slogan. Who ever was the brain child behind that one was totally on their game. Because we’ve pretty much got it all don’t we? Wind-torn and misty ocean coastlines, golden rolling grazing country, prize-winning orchards and vineyards, forests full of mushrooms and mystery, and, not least of all, massive mountains. We may not have the cultural history older parts of the world can boast of but, those parts of the world don’t have bears and big horn sheep hanging out along the side of the road in northern parts of the province. Super. Natural.
Anyway, moving on. As much as we could, considering that our end destination is a major tourist draw, we tried to avoid sightseeing hot spots. We still ended up fighting four busloads of photo obsessed tourists at a place called Natural Bridge, in Yoho National Park, and spent a hellish and tense half hour hunting for parking at Lake Louise. It turned out to be one of the low points of the trip but I was determined to go see if it looked like the jigsaw puzzle of Chateau Lake Louise my mother and I put together when I was fourteen. Otherwise though, short as the trip was, it was splendid.