The following is the text for the narration of the award-winning film, Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies, which had its Canadian premiere at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in November 2012.
NARRATION – MOUNTAINS IN MOTION
by Meghan J. Ward
All mountain landscapes hold stories:
the ones we read, the ones we dream,
and the ones we create.
March 7, 1912
The weather was unkind to me today. Unkind, yet typical of the ever-changing systems that pass through these mountains. Deep snow accumulated underfoot, making each step more arduous than the last. I was defenseless against the strong gusts that raged from the South while white wetness soaked straight through my overcoat.
Still, I persevered.
The weather finally shed its unkindness as I ventured higher. A dense fog lifted and revealed a vista suited only for those who forage for the Earth’s utmost wonders. Yet, I was a lonely traveller in a vast landscape. Overlooking that lake, and the magnificent peaks that flank its shores, I had no companion to take joy in my discovery.
I know others had been there before me. I have spoken to them and read about their journeys. They are the great wanderers, who quest to be the first to survey and climb the Rockies’ crown jewels. What is more, the native Stoney people have shown the way to many alpine lakes. They seem to have a connection with this terrain so deep it verges on magical.
I wonder who will follow in my footsteps and return to this place when the icy lake melts? As I write, I realize that even when I am alone, I am in great company. We – the explorers of the past, present, future – may not share the same timeline of life, but we are bonded by our passion for the magnificent.
We share our stories through words – like the ones I write this very second. And we share our stories through photographs.
Nothing can quite capture the life of this place, but we try.
Middle Segment 1 – Narration
James Outram wrote, “There is a wonderful fascination about mountains. Their massive grandeur, majesty of lofty height, splendour of striking outline – crag and pinnacle and precipice – seem to appeal both to he intellect and to the inmost soul of man….”
Middle Segment 2 – Narration
About one of her explorations, Mary Schaffer Warren once wrote, “…our real objective was to delve into the heart of an untouched land, to turn the unthumbed pages of an unread book, and to learn daily those secrets which dear Mother Nature is so willing to tell to those who seek.”
No one could plan a more perfect landscape, a more phenomenal reward for the ardent traveller… one where great mountains meet deep, mysterious canyons; where wild animals abound and wildflowers spread like carpets; where glaciers carve and erode the Earth, but rocky pinnacles remain standing.
For this humble explorer the calling of the heights is strong, irresistible. I face hardship, yet I plod forward. What is this power that lures me upwards, into the unknown? That pulls me deeper, despite snow, wind and exhaustion?
Today the answer seemed to be staring right back at me – in the quiet beckoning of evergreen trees bending with the breeze; the soft snowdrifts crawling down chutes on the surrounding peaks; the eerie creaking and cracking of ice on the lake as it ebbed with the flow of water beneath.
But soon those icy waters will give way to the gentle movement of aquamarine blue and that answer will change again. These mountains are in slow, almost imperceptible, motion. Only Time can tell the stories of their transformation.
Here, beauty meets harshness. Splendor meets seclusion. I meet a part of myself I never knew existed.
Travel is a demanding feat here amongst the Rocky Mountains. So few people wander into the remote corners now, I wonder how many more will come to follow? Who else will lace up their boots and cut trails through forest in pursuit of those secrets told only by wild places?
I have so many questions, but the landscape cannot answer. It is only there to greet us with open arms when we arrive, to show us a different side of itself each and every time we encounter it.
“We were not pioneers ourselves,
but we journeyed over old trails that were new to us, and with hearts open.
Who shall distinguish?”
-J. Monroe Thorington