canmore kananaskis
Team Outpost's writing duo, Lena and Delano, in Canmore Kananaskis.

Saying Goodbye to the Triumphant Spirit of Canmore Kananaskis

Dispatch by Lena Desmond

Photo by Sergio David Spadavecchia

We’ve only just scratched the surface. I woke up this morning to Canmore’s monumental mountains, the Three Sisters, standing against the sky like charcoal on a white page. The little remaining shoots of snow cling to their flanks like ice cream dripping down a cone. So close to the city, those wild peaks cut the horizon and impress themselves on you. There is no escaping them. Why would anyone want to?

I stand on the patio outside my room. It’s 6:30 a.m. The air is cool and the town is silent. A couple loads gear into their truck. I imagine hikers already trudging up Ha Ling Peak, which looms a stone’s throw in front of me. I wish I could join them.

Time. There’s never enough of it. The things Outpost Magazine sent me here to do: skiing through sunshine and fog, hiking with a mountaineering legend, small-mountain restaurants with big-city tastes, caving deep into the underbelly of a mountain. I can't express thanks enough.

The things we’ve seen: my first grizzly bear, his coat like silk caught by the sun, barrelling back into a forest; the mirage of mountains through an April whiteout; the ghostly reach of washed-out branches through glacial lakes. We’ve experienced four seasons in a week, but it would take a lifetime or more to give this place the attention it deserves.

Despite being absolutely bagged, my eyes have been opened to that fact that this lifestyle exists in a way I never knew it could. To work not bound by hours, but by seasons. To explore not bound by traffic, but by cliffs. To live not bound by arbitrary limits or fear, but with the spirit of possibility.

Already I’m so tired. Zapped. I think back to Team Outpost’s conversation at the Alpine Club of Canada, about how Canmore can make you pray for a rainy day just so you can have a rest. My muscles have the tender ache that comes from a week of living. Jealousy isn’t a good look on me, but I find myself envious of people who live here—Mecca, Nirvana, Heaven, Wonderland, whatever you want to call it; if you’ve got a hot crush on the outdoors, Canmore Kananaskis is an enabler. 

There’s an energy we couldn't quite put our fingers on. Maybe it’s the excitement that comes from being on a mission, whether that’s a simple day trip or a big hairy goal that involves months or years of training. Maybe it’s that this town has struck a balance of work and life, wilderness and comfort, big city and small town. Maybe it’s the consequence of wild places. Maybe it’s just me.

But I doubt it.

My bags are packed. My notebook is full of numbers, email addresses and the names of friends I didn’t come here with. I’m leaving with an energy I didn’t arrive with, too. Despite being absolutely bagged, my eyes have been opened to that fact that this lifestyle exists in a way I never knew it could. To work not bound by hours, but by seasons. To explore not bound by traffic, but by cliffs. To live not bound by arbitrary limits or fear, but with the spirit of possibility.

Yeah, I think I could live here. 


If you want to follow the rest of Team Outpost's adventure in Canmore Kananaskis, search #opxCanmore or check us out on social media:


Want to read more? Check out our full expedition to Canmore Kananaskis: 

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