Always a Silver Lining

Wood Lily found along the Bow Valley Parkway. Photo by Meghan Ward.

In case you’’ve been too busy grumpily looking at the sky to notice, the wildflowers are really strutting their stuff this year.  I’’m no botanist, but my theory is that the combination of an underwhelming bloom last year and the recent hot weather we’ve had, interspersed with plenty of rain, has produced scenes that would put a Bambi cartoon to shame.

I can already hear the chorus of lumberjacks and -jills out there, chiming: “Wildflowers? Who cares about wildflowers? I’m usually going way too fast to notice sissy things like that!”

Whether you are an elite tanner or extreme athlete, it has not been the most amazing summer season so far. And among other things, I seem to have an exchange every day that leaves me feeling like I’’m stuck in a scene from Groundhog Day.

I recently had the pleasure of running into a member of Canada’s elite sun bathing team, who won gold in Beijing for her perfectly tanned back. This is how our conversation went:

Me: “How’’s your summer been so far?”

Olympic Sun Worshiper: “What summer? (scoff) It’s been raining every day! My coach is having a fit! Look at these pale arms. I’’m going to get kicked off the Canadian team! It feels like March; there’s a foot of new snow on Tunnel Mountain… ”

Good old Indian Paintbrush. Photo Meghan Ward.

Sound familiar?

Here’’s the thing, we all found our way to the Bow Valley so that we could “be in nature” more, whether that takes the form of climbing up rocks or wailing down hills. We take up sports to better enjoy and celebrate our lives and our home, and if all this rain has turned you into a pale ball of misery, you’’ve missed the point.  Recreating is supposed to enhance our lives, not give us an excuse to complain.

So next time your plans are foiled because frogs are falling from the sky, take a look around and enjoy the short-lived beauty of the wildflowers.

Here are a few places where the flowers have been truly awe-inspiring this week:

Yamnuska:  No need to grind all the way to the top!  Just getting your butt up to the aspen forests will unfold fields of wood lilies.

Benchlands: Seriously, the air smells like strawberries. Yes, strawberries.

Sunshine Meadows: Probably getting to be past their prime, but the avalanche lilies have been spectacular. There are acres of yellow flowers in bloom!

To use the old adage: there is a silver lining to every cloud, unless you’’re working on a tan worthy of a gold medal, in which case your summer may be better spent in Toronto.

Carlyle Norman

Carlyle Norman

Carlyle Norman passed away in a climbing accident in Patagonia in January, 2012. She is dearly missed by the people of the Bow Valley and her mountain friends beyond.

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