A handful of lasting impressions come to mind when we consider our recent stay at Storm Mountain Lodge in Banff National Park, but it’s the raven we’ll remember most.
We were venturing along a snowy path (yes, there’s still snow in the Rockies!) from our tiny log cabin (yes, it’s as adorable as it sounds!) to the main lodge when the huge bird swooped alongside us. It was flying so close, I swear I could feel the wind off its thick black wings. But more than that, the curious creature turned its head, all big beak and shiny eyes, and looked intently at us before maneuvering expertly into the forest with a throaty “kraa, kraa.”
Given the high elevation of this remote setting on the edge of Canada’s oldest national park, our raven encounter shouldn’t have surprised us. After all, to visit Storm Mountain Lodge is to walk where birds fly. It’s part of the nest-like charm of the place.
For more than two decades, we’ve been road tripping past the historic mountain retreat — built for tourists in the early 1920s by Canadian Pacific Railway and home to a series of delightfully appointed miniature log cabins, wood-burning fireplaces and all. With the arrival of friends visiting from Europe, we finally had an excuse to experience for ourselves what has to be, upon reflection, one of the most cherished properties available to the public on the Alberta side of the Canadian Rockies.
Kudos to lodge owners Kim Fraser and Steve Fear, along with general manager Cael Cook, for nurturing the property’s Canadian history and character while offering up delicious cuisine (elk carpaccio with birch vinaigrette, anyone?), comforting Canadian soundtracks as background music in the main lodge and dining room (including The Tragically Hip, Bahamas and Great Lake Swimmers) and a gift shop featuring quality Canadiana from around the country with items such as Alberta bison leather wallets (we may have splurged).
We’ll definitely be back. If not for a girls’ weekend, then a romantic getaway. Or maybe for a business retreat or a birthday celebration. Honestly, any reason will do — not the least of which is a chance to walk again where ravens fly.
— Kim Gray
*Editor’s Note: Our writer was a guest at Storm Mountain Lodge. This post was not reviewed or edited by the lodge before publication.