Lake Minnewanka

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Let me begin by saying that it wasn’t my idea.

Perhaps if you see the pictures of the majesty of the mountains and the beauty of the lake, you might be tempted to believe that anyone would want to venture up to this gorgeous place. But, you’d be wrong. Because at the time of this trip, I was, most emphatically, not just anyone. I was 38 weeks pregnant, nauseated, prone to car sickness and just about the surliest person on the planet. Like a nap-deprived toddler, I cried, I made a fuss, embarrassed myself, made demands and called names. But, as we departed for this journey, I didn’t yet know of my husband’s treachery.

From our current home in Calgary, the gateway to the mountains is not only convenient, it is also the type of day-trip that can be made on a whim, as it is just a matter of turning onto the highway and heading up to what is seemingly a different world from buzzing city life in the rearview.

If the mountains are lovely in the winter, then they are indescribably magnificent in the summer. It is mesmerizing to see the trees that dot the mountainsides, each mighty pine appearing to be no more than a blade of grass. It is impossible to fully grasp the scope and scale of these behemoths, and they line up on either side of the car, a constant succession of impossibility.

But on this day, I was not feeling it. My husband had suggested a day out in Canmore, north of Calgary, a day of shopping and lunch and then home. I did not suspect an ulterior motive – though, truly, after so many years of marriage, I should have assumed. His real plan was to stop by Canmore, shop a little, grab a bite, sure – but then … then, we would be on to his real destination: Lake Minnewanka.

Lake Minnewanka is within Banff National Park. There are several stunning lakes in the area, Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, Moraine Lake, among others. But as he drove, he announced our new destination. “Just ten minutes from Canmore,” he said. (Not true.) “We’ll just drive by the lake and look out the window as we pass.” (Again, not true.) “There are no twisty roads that will upset your stomach,” he continued. (Again, false.) I was … displeased.

As we pulled into the parking lot of the park, I stopped briefly to vomit, and then carried on, dutifully waddling my very pregnant self to the lake, every step a symbol of my long-suffering martyrdom, punctuated with sighs and harrumphs so that my husband would fully understand my feelings.

However, when we arrived at the edge of the lake
and took seats in the Adirondack chairs lining the dock, it was difficult to maintain my poor attitude. Lake Minnewanka was marvelous and most definitely worth every bit of nausea and discomfort. It was sparkling and deep, dark blue and every synonym for beautiful.

We stayed a quarter of an hour, just looking out onto the water, and staring into the mountains that loomed above, protecting the lake. The breeze blew past our faces, but not chilly, just refreshing. We took big gulps of that mountain air and took in the scene around us for all those lingering moments. Finally, he stood, and we walked back to the car. And though the trip home was murder on my 9.5-months pregnant body, it was worth it. Adventures always are, in the end – even if they’re not my idea.

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