Lakes, mountains, black bears and an awareness of how small my perspective of the world really is: These are the things I experienced in Canada’s Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. My lack of an international cell phone service plan forced me to pay attention to my surroundings and observe without distraction, and for that I am grateful. Below, I’ll share with you some of the things I saw.
When I first arrived with my family in Calgary, Alberta, a cosmopolitan city near Banff, I noticed the lack of people on the roads. My surroundings had definitely changed — the houses and people I’m accustomed to had been replaced by empty fields and a few trees.
I rode up to the glaciers of Columbia Icefield on a special bus with these oversized wheels for traction in the ice. It was just a 15-minute drive up, but the change in scenery was immense, shifting from somewhat warm weather to freezing temperatures, with glacial ice filling the landscape. Not only is the ice beautiful — its signature blue color is caused by its structure, which creates light scattering — but it’s also a great source of drinking water.
At about 1 a.m., I drove to an empty parking lot close by Pyramid Lake, hoping to view the Milky Way. I wasn’t expecting much, as the weather forecast had predicted clouds — not so great news for stargazing. But contradictory to the forecast, the sky was completely clear. The abundance of stars was amazing, especially when compared to the polluted skies of the Bay Area.
Just outside of Victoria, the Butchart Gardens include many different gardens, such as a rose garden, the Sunken Garden and a Japanese garden, and the plants are chosen seasonally. The Sunken Garden, above, was once a rock quarry.
There’s no doubt that this trip was a success, as it allowed me to broaden my perspective of the world — which is always a good idea.
Contact Yinan Su at [email protected].