I was in Calgary for the wedding of a friend, and after several days of mani-pedi parties, bridal teas, and logistical rehearsals, I desperately needed a break. So, I rented a car and fled to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, just a couple hours away. Driving through this area made me downright ashamed not to be more outdoorsy. Home to some of North America's most spectacular ski slopes and trails, these mountain vistas beckon with a promise that makes the citiest of slickers yearn to don hiking boots and embark on a climb to commune with Mother Nature.
By late afternoon, I arrived at Lake Louise, a jade glass welcome mat at the doorstep of the Victoria Glacier. There is no way to anticipate the effect the first sight of this place will have on you. If your jaw doesn’t drop, and you don’t have to resist an urge to spin around and sing the Sound of Music, you just might be dead inside.
Instead of finding a terrace at the stately Chateau Lake Louise where I could park my unathletic behind and have a toddy while taking in the ethereal view in comfort, some siren in the lake—perhaps, Louise herself—called me to the quiet trail that traces the edge of the placid water. Even in my strappy, city girl sandals, this trail was an easy, meditative stroll, that provided me the precious balm of serenity I had come here seeking.