Sometimes the lure of nature makes you do crazy things… 

By Jane Marshall


You know that impulse? The one you get when you visit somewhere so utterly beautiful you say, “I could live here”? Well, what if you acted on it?

After years (and years, and years) of pining for the mountains, I did it. I moved to Canmore.

On August 28 my husband Mike and I packed up our home in Edmonton. Our vehicles stuffed to the max, we embarked on the biggest move of our lives. Before this, we’d never lived outside the west end of Edmonton.

Within days, our kids started at the Canmore high school. We unpacked and began to embrace our new home, a smaller, simple space nestled into the spruce and aspen forest near the Canmore Nordic Centre. Everything felt shaky and new, and the backdrop of sharp peaks almost knocked me off-balance every time I looked up. But I felt almost instantly at home.

Perhaps it’s because I turned 40 this year, or the fact that my kids will soon start setting up their own lives, but the time came to take action. We were previously driving 2 or 3 weekends a month to backpack, hike and ski, we could no longer ignore the fact that we were in love with the land and the lifestyle it inspires.

The first day of our ‘new life,’ my son Ben was already powering through the mountain bike trails behind Quarry Lake and the Nordic Centre. My daughter Julie was biking to school through the forest and encountering deer and elk, and collecting moss to examine under her microscope. We’ve become vulnerable and open to a whole new way of life and a new range of experiences.

One weekend we went random camping at Carnarvon Lake. On our hike out, Ben kept saying, “I can’t believe we’ll be home for dinner! Usually we have to drive for so long!”

Something inside me, and seemingly inside my children, is mountain-made and magnetically drawn to the wilderness of the mountains. We’ve arrived, and the land itself is transforming our daily lives and habits.

Ha Ling and the peaks of Rundle are now a constant backdrop. I watch as sun shifts over their stone bodies. Every day they look different, cast in a different light, unique aspects illuminated, and yet they always stand high and strong. When I gaze at them, I feel an immense gratitude that I finally listened to the impulse inside me (no matter how much work it took). Some people are at home near the crashing ocean. Some, on still lakes, or in the deep green forest. For me, I’ve come home to the mountains, and my heart is spilling over.