Tales & Trails Review

 

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This is the world’s great­est play­ground and peo­ple do come from all over the world to see the Cana­di­an Rock­ies,” Mar­tel said, adding the Rock­ies are very acces­si­ble to any­one who wants to go out and have an adven­ture of any lev­el.

Mar­tel aban­doned her home­town of Mon­tre­al for the Bow Val­ley 27 years ago, swap­ping the night­club lifestyle of the mid-1980s for a life of adven­ture.

At first con­tent to sim­ply look at the moun­tains, she found – like so many peo­ple do – that they called to her, entic­ing her off the pave­ment and onto the dirt paths to dis­cov­er what was around the cor­ner.

And as she explored, she also began to explore the unique his­to­ry and cul­ture of the Moun­tain West, which she began to share as a reporter, free­lance writer and author, with her first book, Expe­di­tions to the Edge: Sto­ries of World­wide Adven­ture, pub­lished in 2008.

I’m hop­ing that any­body who reads the book can look at (the moun­tains) dif­fer­ent­ly, not just as phys­i­cal struc­tures, but as an inter­ac­tive land­scape where any­one can go and make their own sto­ries.”

And to do so is actu­al­ly quite sim­ple.

Even though a few of the adven­tures Mar­tel shares in Tales & Trails are more burly than the aver­age per­son might want to under­take, Mar­tel has tak­en great pains to help trav­el­ers under­stand that explor­ing a glac­i­er, climb­ing a moun­tain or tak­ing on a mul­ti-day cycling tour are actu­al­ly quite fea­si­ble by join­ing a tour or hir­ing a moun­tain guide.

You don’t have to be a marathon run­ner to walk on the glac­i­er for an hour with a guide. These moun­tains are full of peo­ple who have devot­ed their pro­fes­sion­al lives to shar­ing their land­scape. They have tons to share.”

But over­all, the major­i­ty of the adven­tures pro­filed in Tales & Trails can be expe­ri­enced from any lev­el.

For exam­ple, she said climb­ing Mt. Rob­son isn’t the only way to expe­ri­ence the high­est peak in the Rock­ies; walk­ing the trails at the base of the moun­tain can be suf­fi­cient as a way to appre­ci­ate that place.

As part of the guide­book aspect, Mar­tel includes fam­i­ly-friend­ly and begin­ner options, as well as chal­leng­ing dou­ble and triple black dia­mond options.

Mar­tel also uses Tales & Trails to share the region’s his­to­ry, but instead of going back a cen­tu­ry or more – a peri­od that has been well cov­ered – Mar­tel takes a small­er step back­wards to tell sto­ries of the more recent his­to­ry, such as the rise of mod­ern rock climb­ing in the Rock­ies.

Mar­tel loves the Rock­ies and it shows.

Her enthu­si­asm is infec­tious and she wants to share what she has dis­cov­ered with oth­ers, while encour­ag­ing them to find their own piece of par­adise in the Rock­ies along the way.

These moun­tains are the world’s great­est nat­ur­al play­ground and they are so full of fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries of dif­fer­ent adven­tures peo­ple have every day of the year. There’s a fas­ci­nat­ing and excit­ing his­to­ry of peo­ple explor­ing and play­ing in these moun­tains, not just 100 years ago, but last week­end. There are so many dif­fer­ent kinds of self-pro­pelled out­door adven­tures every­one can have, no mat­ter what their lev­el of fit­ness or expe­ri­ence, you just have to start by get­ting out of the car and head­ing up a trail, win­ter or sum­mer,” she said.

But be patient – it can take a life­time to dis­cov­er this place.

I’ve been doing this for 27 years and I’m just get­ting start­ed,” Mar­tel said.

Telling sto­ries about the his­to­ry, cul­ture and human life con­nect­ed to the Rock­ies is rich ground as Mar­tel said she could eas­i­ly fill five books of this nature of what she described as an exquis­ite­ly beau­ti­ful and inter­est­ing mul­ti-dimen­sion­al cor­ner of the world.

Tales & Trails: Adven­tures for Every­one in the Cana­di­an Rock­ies retails for $22.95.