Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Sept. 2012

We had heard that Peyto Lake was a beautiful spot, so we turned off the Icefields Parkway 40 kms after its southernmost end to see the lake.  The trail was steep but not too long.  We took our time, among other travelers, walking up to the Bow Summit, past many fir and spruce trees.  Interpretive signs pointed out the differences between these two most prevalent conifers prompting us to attempt to identify which tree we were near at any one time.  This became a playful exercise throughout our trip.  I am very much in the dark about so much of what I see in nature and wanted to begin learning even the simplest of things to enlarge my horizons.  I believe the photo I’m including of conifers on the trail shows a subalpine fir in the centre.

Conifers Peyto Lake Trail

Conifers on Peyto Lake Trail, Sept. 2012


Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake and Mountains, Sept. 2012

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake, Sept. 2012

When we arrived at the lookout point, we joined our fellow hikers to look out on the mountains and distinctively shaped blue green lake.  For someone like me who has not grown up in such land, the beauty was almost shocking.   At the summit was an interpretive sign, this one about the Peyto glacier, which originally carved out the shape of the valley and the bowl of Peyto Lake.  During the past century or so, the glacier that once filled the valley has receded about two kilometres.  And before the glacier materialized, there stood a forest in its place. This was revealed through the discovery of 3000 year old wood fragments under the ice.

Mountain at Peyto Lake

At Peyto Lake Lookout, Sept. 2012

The Golden Spruce

I’ve just finished reading an extremely powerful, well written book called The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant.  Among other things, it’s the story of logging in North America and the destruction of a rare golden spruce sacred to the Haida people of the Queen Charlotte Islands off the west coast of Canada.  It’s also the story of the man who attacked the tree and the mystery as to his whereabouts.

When I write of humans and nature, the destructive side of our practices is always in my mind. John Vaillant speaks to this, but though his book is painful reading, it’s enlightening.  I have previously been ignorant of the extremes of our destruction of trees and forests on our continent and others.  Perhaps this has been a form of cushioning denial—in which I have refused to allow into my consciousness painful realities.  I say this because I have been aware that our continent had vast forests before the arrival of Europeans.  And yet, the scale and speed with which we have removed and continue to remove forests was something I never fully grasped until reading The Golden Spruce.

The denial and self-protection I have felt seems to me wide spread as we continue to live with the effects of the destruction of natural settings.  The book, The Nature Principle, that I wrote about earlier was written with this backdrop in mind.  I believe that Richard Louv, the author, wrote that book with a positive vision in order to turn people away from denial and despair. He calls us to face our essential need to live in nature for our healthy continuance.

An image of humans and nature in wholeness from Mirrors of the Heart card deck by Lily S. May

Here’s a card from my card deck Mirrors of the Heart which shows an image of humans and nature in wholeness.