One black bear, one elk, four of five big horned sheep, one scraggly coyote, and a metric shit ton of deer. (Deers?) All that and not a single rocky mountain forest monkey was to be found on my trip into the mountains. How disappointing.
I love going to the mountains, everytime I do I can't help but stare around me with a childlike sense of wonder. As you drive towards them, you start to see them looming in the distance; I always wonder what it must have been like for early explorers. They would have likely been travelling across some the flatest most barren terrain in North America for months, only to be faced with the shear rock faces of the rocky mountains. What must have been going through their minds? I would wager a guess it would be something along the lines of, "You've got to be fucking kidding me." The fact that they mushed onwards and actually found routes through the mountains is almost unfathomable to me. I mean, even today navigating them is not an entirely easy task. On our way home we got caught in the wrong side of a huge mudslide, 3 meters deep and 500 meters wide that closed the Trans Canada highway for a day and a half. It's called highway 1, and there IS no other highway, everyone travelling simply had to stop and wait for mother nature, she gives no fucks about our travel schedules. That kind of shit simply does not happen on the prairies.
I've often wondered what makes the moutains so allureing to me. I mean, besides the breathaking views, luxurious hot springs, crystal clear lakes, abundant wildlife, and insanely fun twisty winding roads. There's just a certain something extra to me, what the french would call, "I don't know what."
I think I found my answer on this last visit. It was explained to me by someone much wiser than myself, and it's simple.
In the cities and towns everything is people sized. Everything was built by people, to be utilized by people. We have complete mastery of our surroundings. We ought to, we made it. By contrast, everything in the moutains is earth sized. No matter what we do, what we build, everything that we attempt is utterly dwarfed by the mountains. I've seen a helicopter in the shadows of a mountain, looking no bigger than a gnat, and no less threatening to it. While in the city, the unmistakable thump of a helicopter rattles window panes, and everybody knows its there. The mountains couldn't care less that we are there, and we are at thier mercy, no matter what we tell ourselves. The city I'm living in will likely be wiped from the face of this planet with hardly a trace of it to be found in a thousand years or so, the moutains will not have aged a day.
It's these thoughts that make me feel incredibly humble, and privilaged to be able to experience it and for a brief time, be a part of it. I am a mote of dust to the moutains, and the earth is a mote of dust to the galaxy, and the galaxy is a mote of dust to the universe, this is what I am reminded of when I visit them. However, I don't feel small, or insignificant. I don't feel marginalized, or inconequential. I feel like I belong, I feel, for lack of a better word, correct.