Tag Archives: Bow Lake

Time. Unplugged. Unpressured. Unstructured.

There is something sublimely magical about time spent in the mountains.

Time. Unplugged. Unpressured. Unstructured.

So rare in these days of constant connection. So challenging to attain in these times of pandemic and environmental disasters and political discourse straying far from the peaceful way.

Num-Ti-Jah Lodge from the far side of the lake

I am back from my sojourn in the mountains. Back from time spent savouring unmapped moments along the shore of Bow Lake and Num-Ti-Jah lodge.

I am back but I carry with me those days of breathing clear mountain air and hearing nothing but nature calling me to slip into reverie beside her running streams.

I carry those moments with me and still I struggle to hold onto the untrammeled path, the silence and the space to simply be present to whatever is unfolding in this moment right now filling my heart and mind and body with its beauty and possibilities.

I struggle and in my struggle am reminded to let go.

To let go of ordering time and managing my thoughts into what I want to be present.

I let go and remember the glacier high above the lakeshore, spanning the gap between two mountains. It has lain there throughout time watching in majestic silence life unravelling and passing by. It has been witness to the travels of Indigenous peoples who called these mountains home long before the first settlers arrived. It has lain unphased through the wars and pestilence befalling humankind and held space beneath clear blue skies turning dark.

I spent an afternoon painting by a window of the lodge. This is what I saw. Watercolour on watercolour paper – 7 x 6″

The glacier is smaller now. Receding. Drawing back. Releasing its ice cold waters to the streams and rivers flowing steadily down the mountainside. And still, it lays in silent majesty, watching, bearing witness, baring its bones, revealing the land beneath its icy blanket.

I close my eyes and breathe deeply. My pulse quietens, my heart slows down, my mind and body meld together. I become the peace I seek. I become the quiet.

And I wonder. Does the glacier love the mountains holding it against the sky? Does the sky give thanks for the glacier’s icy ways? Does the waterfall give thanks for the water?

I think it is so.

And I give thanks. For this day. For the time by Bow Lake. For the quiet along the trails and the moments shared with friends around a dinner table. For the beauty of this moment right now and above all, I give thanks for the love that fills my life.

Here I am, I whisper to the sky and the trees outside my window and the river flowing by. Here I am. Thank you for this day. Thank you for these blessings that make my life so beautiful and rich and oh so full of love.

Namaste.

_________________

As a side note — it was easy to keep social distance as the lodge is closed for the season — it’s gracious and generous owner, a dear friend, chose not to open it under Covid’s risks. It gave him an opportunity to keep a small staff onsite to do maintenance work.

It also meant, he occassionally invited a few friends up to spend time with him in the beauty of his home away from home.

What a beautiful gift of time and space. Thank you TW!

A weekend retreat at Num-ti-Jah Lodge

The forecast was for clearer skies in the mountains.

The rain followed us out of the city, into the foothills, across the Great Continental Divide all the way to our destination, Num-ti-Jah Lodge, nestled on the shores of Bow Lake.

At 6700 ft above sea level, spring lumbers into Num-ti-Jah with the speed of a glacier receding. The lake is still frozen, the ground still covered in snow.

It didn’t matter. Rain or shine, C.C. and I set off at the crack of noon on Saturday to spend a delightful long weekend surrounded by the majesty of the peaks and the warm hospitality of our dear friend, TW, owner of Num-ti-Jah, and his staff. We didn’t need the sun to feel content. Contentment surrounded us in every breath, every view, every conversation and morsel of food.

It is early season at Num-ti-Jah, yet, the Lodge was full, the guests animated as they wandered the halls or sat in the big chairs by the fire, reading or playing crib.

There is no TV at Num-ti-Jah (yeah!) (nor cell phone service either). On Sunday, C.C. desperately wanted to watch the Gold Match in the world hockey championships and I really wanted a hike. We drove up to Chateau Lake Louise and with C.C. happily ensconced in the pub, I set off on the trail to the Lake Agnes Tea House, or at least as close as the snowy conditions at the top of the trail would allow.

As I hiked, I gave thanks to my former husband for teaching me how to be safe in the Rockies. It’s never just a walk in the park. Weather in the peaks can be unpredictable. Anything can happen. You must always be prepared.

The trail at the lakeside was bare but as I climbed up through the trees, it became less and less easily passable and more and more slushy and ice covered. I wasn’t worried. I was wearing good sturdy hiking boots and had my rain jacket, water and snacks in my backpack.

It wasn’t the case for many of the people I met. From Keds as footwear to every day runners and one girl in a pair of short shorts and halter top and designer shoes, I passed an assortment of ill-equipped people all along the trail. Few had backpacks or water and most had inappropriate footwear for the time of year and trail conditions.

The saving grace was the trail was busy. If anything should go amiss, there was always someone just a few minutes away along the trail.

Hiking is a very in the moment of now endeavour. It’s important to watch where each footstep is planted, where each next step takes you. It offers lots of opportunity to pace yourself, to be present, to be aware of all your surroundings and to stop and breathe in the air, take in the views and simply feel the exhilaration of being alive.

It was bliss. it didn’t matter if the trail was busy or what others were wearing. What mattered to me was that I was there, present and aware, savouring each footstep, each breath, each glimpse of distant peak and wide open vista.

And when I returned to join C.C. in the pub, I got to celebrate Canada’s win and enjoy a perfectly chilled glass of Pinot Gris. We laughed and chatted and woo hooed with another couple who had watched the game with C.C. as Canada’s flag was raised and as we drove back to the lodge to read and nap and then join TW for a late dinner, we both felt the satisfaction that comes with time spent together, and apart, doing the things we love.

It was a perfect day in the Rockies. A perfect weekend retreat.