Ever since I had seen a photograph of a hidden cave located in a canyon deep in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, I became obsessed with seeing it for myself. And here I was, crossing the foothill bridge over Johnston Creek to the start of the 2.75-kilometer trail, which pass by two sets of waterfalls, known as Upper and Lower. The path quickly turned into an iron bridge bolted to the side of the canyon. Suddenly, I was floating above the rush of the creek and looking down on this beautiful location surrounded by forest. At times, I climbed down by the water to have a piece of the Bow River to myself, photographing the distinctive rocks or admiring a unique plant. The creek was lined by thin, towering trees that displayed a tired green ready for fall to begin its’ course.
I followed the crisp aroma of the Canadian Rockies along the trail. It quickly led me to Lower Falls after 1.1 km. The main waterfall poured out of the narrow canyon walls in a white rush plunging into a turquoise pool which created a beautiful, yet shy rainbow. I was able to cross a bridge over the chilled water, walk into a tunnel slightly while slightly ducking to avoid hitting the rock above, and out to a wet viewpoint within feet from the falls.
Since the trail itself was limited by the rocks surrounding it, I did not think reaching the hidden cave would be possible. I would occasionally stray from the trail to get a better view of the creek. 30 minutes after leaving Lower Falls, I turned away from the path stepping over roots and headed toward the sound of the water once again.
Below my standpoint was the rock next to the waterfall I had seen in the photograph. This must be it! I excitedly climbed down the muddy wall as my heart raced faster as I saw the cave materialize before my eyes. I scurried, stepping on rock after rock to reach the innermost point of the cave. I slowly turned around. The view that I had questioned actually existing was in front of me. The lining of the cave framed the large rock that was chiseled by the persistent waterfall around the lower portion. The waterfall plunged into a shallow pool of a crystallized blue and flowed down the creek as the sounds echoed off the sediment of the rocks.
I roamed around the area building a tower of from the loose rocks, writing in my journal, taking photographs, and feeling the cool drops of water falling on my hand as they streamed from the bank above. The hidden cave was now a story I will carry forever. It is comforting to know that such to unbelievable and beautiful locations still exist in this world and that there is a lifetime of inspiration to be found in them.