The great folks over at Tuscany Now are running a competition called Hidden Gems. Why not pop over and take a look or consider sharing a hidden gem you have found on your travels? As soon as I heard about the competition through Jaime at The Oliver’s Madhouse I immediately knew the place I would write about, I’ve written about it before as it is, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful place in the world.
This is Cascade Ponds, located in the shadow of Cascade Mountain, just outside the town of Banff in Banff National Park, Alberta. The most beautiful hidden gem I have found, in fact I love this place so much I have a copy of this picture hanging on the wall in my dining room.
There are a so many reasons why I love this place, obviously the outstanding beauty of it is the most evident thing but also we first discovered Cascade Ponds at a very difficult time in our lives. It was Christmas Day 2006 and just two short months since my mother-in-law had lost her battle with cancer at just 56. We had booked ourselves into almost every activity available while on holiday including dog-sledding, hiking, snowmobiling, helicopter tour, ice skating and skiing in an attempt to escape the Christmas festivities as it was all too raw and too soon after our loss. So we found a local map, instead of a guide book, and decided to find somewhere quite close to the hotel for a walk before a full on Christmas dinner and saw the name cascade ponds and decided to go and grab some hot chocolate and head off to take a look. Little did we know the gem that awaited us.
I was awe struck by the natural beauty of it and as we had the place to ourselves, as it’s not on the tourists beaten track, we could be silly, throw snow, make snow angels and let go of the trauma of the past twelve months and reconnect as a family,
This place helped us on the way to heal and inspired us to reevaluate our life style and make some life changing decisions about where we wanted to be in the future, within a few short months of that holiday we had made the decision to emigrate to Canada.
We visited Banff for the next two years and every Christmas day we returned to Cascade Ponds with the camera and the hot chocolate.
If you are ever in the area, take a look and enjoy the peace and tranquility, feel dwarfed by the surrounding mountains
and keep an eye out for the incredible ice climbers.