TAKE THE BACK ROADS
Day three was the last day of our trip. We would head into Lake Louise and then drive back to Calgary. Rather than remain on the Trans-Canada and aim directly toward Lake Louise, we followed the slower but more beautiful Highway 93 as it meandered through the forest. We sacrificed speed but gained immeasurably in local charm. The smaller road twisted and turned, passing through dense thickets of pine and allowing us to see wildlife standing along the roadside. We lost all track of time and even a sense of the drive itself. Our banter was witty and knowing, a reminder of how much better we knew each other, and of how much our love had grown, since our honeymoon. I will forever remember that day - gliding down that road, my beautiful brown-eyed wife at my side, the music turned down low so we could talk.

Eventually, we pulled into Lake Louise. The lake was just like we’d remembered, a cobalt jewel nestled between soaring peaks. Calene and I hiked the steep, graded trail in the forest above the lake, putting off that inevitable moment when we’d wander back into the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to see if, by some extraordinary chance, there might still be Lladró polar bears for sale.

There weren’t.

But, you know, it didn’t really matter. The road trip had been romantic and charming and wonderful in a way that we could not have imagined. Someday, I will find one of those bears and place it upon our mantel. But until then, searching for a ceramic bear is as good an excuse as any to take a road trip, even when we are in fact looking for each other.