I enjoy a lot of things about living in the UK but there are definitely things that I miss about Canada. One of these things is being able to escape into the Canadian wilderness. The UK does have beautiful countryside and wild coasts. But the vast wilderness areas of Canada are unique and have shaped me in a number of ways.
I have loved trees and forests for as long as I can remember. During the summers in between university I planted trees in Western Canada. The work was grueling but well-paid, and kindled a love for the coniferous forests of BC and Alberta. After one of these summers I cycled back to Saskatchewan from BC, through the stunning Jasper National Park. As I entered the never-ending prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, I felt a twinge of sadness. Leaving the comfort of the mountains and forests behind, I somehow felt more lonely and exposed, especially when looking for places to pitch my tent at night.
And then there is the smell of coniferous trees. It is the smell of Christmas. The smell of freshly cut wood also brings back many happy memories of woodworking and is one of the reasons I became an Industrial Arts/Design & Technology teacher.
My wife came with me to Canada for the first time in 2013, and I had been away from Canada for a number of years, so we took a few days holiday in Banff. Here are some photos from that trip. As we hiked up a trail near Lake Louise, my soul drank deeply from the beauty around me. The views, the smell of pine and spruce, the sound of silence. I had missed this more than I knew.