Sunday, 27 November 2016


Images of darkened valleys, golden late summer light, icy-blue glaciers, white caps on an endless Pacific, small, hardy, yet perfect alpine flowers, spring to mind and each carries a small element but doesn't quite capture it. Heck, even our dog parks are ruggedly beautiful and by the sheer number of visits, would certainly define a large part of my west coast experience.

But the niggling thought is still there. Is there one a single element I could name that epitomizes this vast, diverse landscape? Sea to Sky, lakes to mountains, I've kayaked, hiked, sailed and lovingly explored a great deal of it. Through 40 degrees of latitude, from Yukon to Mexico, the Rocky Mountains are North America's geographic backbone.

This is the Great Continental Divide, where the interminable flatness of the interior collides with the Western Cordillera, a major mountain system of the world. From the highest ridges of the Rockies, the rivers flow to opposite corners of the land, north to the Beaufort Sea, south to the Gulf of Mexico, east to Hudson Bay and west to the Pacific.