My heart belongs to the mountains of the world, but none more so than the ranges found in British Columbia. As a child I roamed between the sweet-smelling blossoms of orchards and wineries that line the Okanagan Valley. Above the sandy shores of a lake-lined valley floor, dusty brown mountains towered with green- and caramel-scented ponderosa pines. Those trees may be scarred a charcoal black from fires that raged in one particularly dry summer, but they are still my playground.
I was seventeen when I arrived in Yoho. The town of 300 was dwarfed by the giant Rocky Mountains that enclosed my new home. Glaciers hung from emerald basins with fresh water melting off, cutting through the rock into deep valleys and pooling into crystal-clear lakes. I never imagined lakes could be so blue and green in real life. I never expected to claw up a scree ridge to arrive at the peak of a mountain. With the wind blowing in my hair, I could look out forever, onto an endless horizon of sprawling mountain spines. I fell in love on those peaks harder than I ever thought possible. The day I left was the day I started yearning to go back.
I didn't think I'd find a replacement for the Rockies, it was just too hard to compete with their beauty. But the Coastal Range is as good as rival as any. Above the rainforest valleys are jagged, granite peaks with snow that lasts until July. Three-meters-deep snow gathers in chutes and bowls alongside glaciers and glades, creating a snowboarders dream. I feel like I’ve spent the last two years trying to climb above every cliff and boulder and have an infinite amount left to try.
My heart belongs to the mountains. Every range is a new love affair.