It was too hot in my apartment. It had been hours and I was tossing and turning with my covers pushed back to the end of the bed and my laundry scattered all over the floor. I was slowly growing more irritable as i realized getting to sleep tonight would be an impossible task. I was wired from the cappuccinos I’d stupidly downed at Analog a few hours earlier. My heart thumped in my ears and I lay there, wide awake at 2am and debating whether or not to follow through with my day trip plans with some Seattle based photographers at Moraine Lake. I’ve often been a bad ruminator, and a muggy evening was not helping with my bad thinking habits and i stared grumpily at the glowing clock face in the dark, the second hand almost echoing loudly to remind me that time was ticking onward
After another half hour, I decided it was a stupid idea to try and sleep at this point, and forcibly threw my legs over the edge of the bed, knowing that if I didn’t force myself up and out of bed… I was likely to convince myself back beneath the comfort of my fluffy duvet. I packed up my gear, threw on my new raincoat and was buzzing out of the city at 3:30am, blearily throwing back an energy shot and remembering how much I hated those little caffeine packed energy boosters. Despite my initial exhaustion, I was soon alert and relaxed as I whizzed along an unusually quiet Highway 1, passing the odd freight truck as i headed west to that iconic little lake nestled at the base of those 10 imposing peaks.
This particular morning the rock-pile was packed with photographers, and I realized the days of being one of the first few in the parking lot at 6am were long gone since tourism in the Canadian National Parks exploded in the last few years. I managed to get a spot, keeping an eye out for the Seattle photographer I was meant to meet up with, Emily Thomas. As I waited patiently along with the rest of the tired photogs as we stared out into the bluish, pre-sunrise tones with anticipation. As we waited I also somehow also ended up being a prop for a few talented photographers in my limited edition yellow Canada Goose rain jacket. It wasn’t raining, but it was chilly enough for a jacket and proved to also be a very pretty accessory in contrast to the blues of the lake. The adjustable cuffs, venting and multiple pockets made the coat both practical and trendy and I’d already made good use of it at Bow Lake the weekend before during a sunrise photo shoot.
There was something completely magical about seeing the morning light hit those famous peaks for the first time in my life. Over the 5+ years i’ve been shooting landscapes, I never managed to catch a good sunrise at Moraine. I’d tried year after year and usually ended up with beautiful foggy conditions but never the clear, windless day that everyone else seemed to be so lucky to capture. Despite the crowded environment, there was still a quiet hush amongst everyone as the light slowly spilled into the valley and caught fire to the tips of the peaks. As shutters clicked, the light slowly dripping downward, casting flaming pink and purple tones across the rock face as the sun began to reveal itself. The water morphed slowly from an ice blue to a softer turquoise, and then eventually began to mirror the mountains perfectly in its still, glacial waters. Almost in a similar manner, the stresses of the week washed away as the environment glistened with a fresh morning glow, and as with every mountain trip, life shifted back into perspective. Out here things just stay the same, and perhaps thats the comfort for a lot of people when they come to the mountains to hike or take pictures. Perhaps the idea that we have this consistent outlet, a place to escape to and live slowly for a few hours, is what keeps us coming back to it. There is a feeling of release and we can return back to our busy lives with renewed purpose and appreciation.
When I finally looked at my watch, I was surprised to note it was 7:30 and I’d been sitting there pretty contentedly for nearly two hours. Without cell service I realized I’d have to go hunting for Emily on my own before she assumed I wasn’t going to show up. Thankfully that turned out to be quite easy as I descended the rock-pile and bumped into her and her crew coming up. For the rest of the morning we chatted away about the ups and downs of social media and our experiences over the years as i wobbled my way along a stray log at the lakes edge. It was a reminder of what made social media so great, and we discussed how much we missed and cherished the community aspect of Instagram. We agreed that often those new connections we made around the world would result in some of the best experiences and creative work. While things must move on and develop in the online world, it was nice to reflect and feel nostalgic about those good moments that had brought us both a measure of happiness, and admittedly, personal success. We walked around and I modeled my yellow Canada Goose jacket for her, which happened to stand out wildly against the contrasting blues and greens of the lake. We scouted out logs and rocks to stand on, told stories and watched the light spill into the valley, turning the water a vibrant blue and the warming our faces as the valley lit up and the hanging glaciers above us glistened in the sun.
Eventually with hunger pains starting to set in, we headed back to the parking lot which was now overloaded with vehicles and tour buses. My 3am start was beginning to catch up with me a little bit, but my heart was so overwhelmingly happy. We had breakfast in Lake Louise village and said our goodbyes before parting ways. Emily headed up to Jasper and I headed back to Calgary for a much needed afternoon nap. Sometimes the most spontaneous plans can reap the best results, not just creatively, but also in inspiring new friendships and bringing about a fresher perspective.
So cheers to new friends, yellow jackets, and unforgettable sunrises at my favourite place on earth! Comment below and share some of your unforgettable outdoor experiences.
- banff national park
- canada goose
- canada goose wolfville
- chloe hibbert photography
- emily thomas
- moraine lake