Nostalgia, or Pining for the Mountains

A few weeks ago I wrote about the road trips that we used to take when we lived far from the Coast. There was definitely some nostalgia in that post – a recollection of past enjoyable times on the road.

But nostalgia can take other forms, too. Think about the music you enjoy – scientists say we are most connected to music from our formative years. I have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of music from the 1990s, which spanned my high school and undergraduate years. While I now also listen to contemporary alternative music, I reserve a special place in my heart for 1990s grunge rock and its offshoots.

Or maybe you’re like my husband who had a favourite pair of hiking boots that took him all over the Coast Mountains and Rockies before they had to be retired. He just managed to find a second-hand pair on EBay and is looking forward to reliving some of the adventures he had in his old boots.

Old, used up hiking boots.

I also have nostalgia for a way of life we used to have. Wherever we lived, we would always get to the Rockies a few times a year. From Edmonton we went almost every weekend, from Prince George we went a few times a year, and from Lethbridge we went to Waterton National Park several times a month and to the Icefields Parkway a few times a year. We enjoyed these visits immensely, drinking in the mountain scenery and doing our favourite hikes. Sharing the landscape with our dogs and revelling in our much-needed time in nature.

Hilda Glacier (my photo).

It’s been eight years since we last went to the Rockies, even though we have mountains engraved on our wedding rings and were married at Hilda Glacier in Banff National Park. This begs the question: is this just how life has changed, and we’re no longer mountain explorers? Can we relive our mountain days, or is that just nostalgic and not realistic?

I’d like to think that we can make a 180 degree turn that will bring us back to those mountain days. Step one is to move closer to the Rockies, as a one- to two-day drive is an almost insurmountable obstacle to getting to the mountains regularly. Step two is to make time to get outside once we’re there. Step three is to make the most of that outdoor time, to remember why we loved it in the first place.

Snow Dome glacier, Icefields Parkway (my photo).

But is it even possible to go back in time and recapture a feeling from ten, fifteen years ago? Can we go back to how things used to be and make the mountains part of our everyday experience again?

Part of me thinks that, once we’re in closer proximity to the Rockies, we’ll make the effort to get out and enjoy them. Also, given budget constraints we’ll necessarily have to live in a house with a smaller yard, which means fewer house chores (i.e., yard work) to take up our spare time and more time for outdoor adventures. And while there may be more tourists in the Rockies, we can still hike our favourite lesser-known routes like Hilda Glacier, Boundary Glacier, Saskatchewan Glacier, Stutfield Glacier, and others. These were never popular hikes (with the exception perhaps of Saskatchewan Glacier), and I’m not sure if that has changed.

Icefields Parkway
Icefields Parkway (my photo)

Living closer to the Rockies is a dream for me, one I hope we can make into a reality. There are many hurdles to overcome, including the fact that moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life (like I need more stressful events). But perhaps it will be short term pain for long term gain – giving in to nostalgia and returning to our mountain roots.

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2 thoughts on “Nostalgia, or Pining for the Mountains”

  1. Ack. I have the same nostalgia for 90s grunge music. I also have a pair of MEC rad pants from the very early oughts that are now threadbare, but that I just can’t make myself throw away yet. 🙂


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