Travel Realizations

Celebrating Experiences

Spirit Island in Canada – A famous icon of the Canadian Rockies

Spirit Island in Canada, a famous icon of the Canadian Rockies, is remote and is only reachable by a boat, a kayak, or canoe. When I was exploring the majestic Canadian Rockies, the wilderness all around evoked in me a quest for remoteness – a place completely cut-off from the complex world we live in. The postcard-perfect Spirit Island which is not easily accessible seemed a viable option to taste the essence of a far-away remote land, surrounded by untamed nature. I embarked on a cruise from Maligne Lake – a boat trip that revealed the ongoing metamorphosis of my sensations to me unlike any other. My mind at the time was untrammeled by convention and could listen to the inner flux. The postcard-perfect Maligne Lake and Spirit Island, which is part of Jasper National Park in Canada (a UNESCO world heritage site) filled and flooded me with inspiration. I was drowned in their poetic impressions.

Visit Spirit Island in Canada, a famous icon of the Canadian Rockies, & taste the essence of a far-away remote land reachable only by a boat. #Travel #Nature #Canada Click To Tweet
Spirit Island in Canada - A famous icon of the Canadian Rockies, Travel Realizations
The postcard-perfect Spirit island, located on the southern shore of Maligne Lake is featured innumerable times on calendars around the world.
The postcard-perfect Maligne Lake and Spirit Island, which is part of Jasper National Park in Canada (a UNESCO world heritage site) filled and flooded me with inspiration. I was drowned in their poetic impressions. #Travel Click To Tweet

Maligne Lake cruise – One of the best boat cruises in Canada

Cruising through the glacial water of Malign Lake to the world-famous Spirit Island is undoubtedly one of the best scenic boat cruises in Canada. The jagged mountain peaks, surrounding glaciers, long pine trees decorating the edges of the shore, and the deep turquoise water present an ensemble reflecting harmony; no conundrums, no contradictions, unlike the modern world. Book your trip to Maligne Lake and enjoy the silence, solitude, and stunning scenery!

Spirit Island in Canada - A famous icon of the Canadian Rockies, Travel Realizations
Our boat left the shore and I remained oblivious to the world I left behind!
Cruising through the glacial water of Malign Lake to the world-famous Spirit Island is undoubtedly one of the best scenic boat cruises in Canada. #Travel #Nature Click To Tweet

I waited for a short while on the pier for the boat. The soothing and solemn scenery all around was silently permeating and penetrating my whole being. I went inside the glass-enclosed and heated cruise boat and took a window seat quietly. The boat started, and our guide welcomed us. I loved listening to Maligne’s history, geology, wildlife, weather, flora, and fauna. After a few minutes, I decided to step outside to the deck of the boat and feel the cold and pure air.

Spirit Island in Canada - A famous icon of the Canadian Rockies, Curly Phillips historic boathouse, Travel Realizations
Curly Phillips historic boathouse on Maligne Lake!

Along the way to Spirit Island

The vastness, the peace, the beauty, and the serenity all around jolted me into a reflective and contemplative mood. I was suffused with a peculiar kind of calm, which I never experienced before. One subtle realization dawned upon me. Amidst the relentless busyness of everyday life, the spectrum of my existence has become limited to a few dimensions. And I go on living. Life perhaps slips out of meaning and sinks into meaninglessness. I was suddenly overwhelmed by this profound thought. The icy cold air made me shiver and I went inside the boat.

The vastness, the peace, the beauty, and the serenity all around jolted me into a reflective and contemplative mood. #Travel #Realizations #Journey Click To Tweet
Amidst the relentless busyness of everyday life, the spectrum of my existence has become limited to a few dimensions. And I go on living. Life perhaps slips out of meaning and sinks into meaninglessness. #Travel #Realizations #Life… Click To Tweet

Our guide inside the boat was naming the different peaks that we could see; Mount Samson, Mount Warren, Mount Charlton, and Mount Unwin. I slowly immersed myself in the reality of the soul-stirring beauty which I was witnessing and suddenly I was plunged into the thick heavy abundance of existence. I realized that existence invades us suddenly, masters us, and fills us with openness to new.

I saw a few tourists paddling across the world-famous Maligne Lake to remote backcountry shorelines, Travel Realizations
I saw a few tourists paddling across the world-famous Maligne Lake to remote backcountry shorelines!
I slowly immersed myself in the reality of the soul-stirring beauty which I was witnessing and suddenly I was plunged into the thick heavy abundance of existence. I realized that existence invades us suddenly, masters us, and fills… Click To Tweet

When our boat was passing Glacier Coronet, our guide informed us that the glacier-fed Maligne Lake is the region’s largest natural lake at 13.7 miles in length. Undoubtedly, Maligne Lake offers some of the most interesting and spectacular scenery found anywhere in the world. While cruising through the lake, I remembered about a voyage across Lake Geneva in Switzerland! That day too I witnessed a perfect string of moments when the sun rays glistened on the white snowy Alps.

Spirit Island in Canada - A famous icon of the Canadian Rockies,  Glacier Coronet, Travel Realizations
Glacier Coronet – Feeding Maligne Lake since time immemorial

Spirit Island in Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park – one of the most photographed natural landmarks in the world

Finally, the crowning moment arrived when we reached the spectacular Spirit Island, one of the most photographed natural landmarks in the world. I disembarked from the boat and walked through a short nature trail leading to a viewing platform to witness the beautiful Spirit Island – a sacred site for the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. Although it was summer, I saw a glimpse of fall colors. I imagined this place at night, under the sky full of stars. The sound of short waves lazily lashing on the shore would be the perfect melody to accompany the starry night. Peaceful moments in wild and beautiful places allow us the leisure to compose ourselves behind them. The daily drift of modern lives which leaves a profound scar on our existence by limiting it to a few material choices, remote and wild places become the savior. They make us aware of our freedom to exist the way we want. Our being is a movement – ever dissolving, ever-evolving mist!

Finally, the crowning moment arrived when we reached the spectacular Spirit Island, one of the most photographed natural landmarks in the world. #Travel #Canada #Nature Click To Tweet
Spirit Island in Canada - A famous icon of the Canadian Rockies, Travel Realizations
The Spirit Island in Maligne Lake. Postcard-perfect. Isn’t it?
The daily drift of modern lives which leaves a profound scar on our existence by limiting it to a few material choices, remote and wild places become the savior. They make us aware of our freedom to exist the way we want. Our being… Click To Tweet

Another thing struck my mind. When a privileged situation slowly and majestically comes into life, I prefer making a perfect moment out of it which later becomes my inspiration to create. I took out a camera and started taking shots. Are they perfect? Let me leave it to your eyes to decide.

Spirit island – A sacred site for the Stoney Nakoda First Nation

Spirit Island is a spiritual place for the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. They believe mountains are physical representations of their ancestors. The fact that Spirit Island is surrounded on three sides by the same mountain range is very rare and makes it particularly significant to the ancient people of Stony Nakoda. According to First Nations mythology, the name comes from the story of two young lovers. Perhaps the original Romeo and Juliet, they belonged to warring tribes and used the island for their forbidden trysts. The young girl finally confessed to her father, one of the tribes’ chiefs, and he banned her from ever returning to the island. Her heartbroken lover continued to return to Spirit Island over the years, hoping to see her again. Sadly, she never went back and he eventually died on the island, his spirit wandering there for eternity.

Interesting facts: Spirit Island is a tied island; it is attached to the mainland by a slim spit of land. In spring, with melting snow and heavy rains, it’s possible for the water levels to be high enough to cut the island off from the shore. The rest of the year, it’s connected to the shore. Spirit Island sits in a box canyon—a narrow canyon with a flat bottom and vertical walls. The iconic landscape was used by Kodak Photographic in 1960 in a display in New York’s Grand Central Terminal to show off color photography.

Peaceful moments in wild and beautiful places allow us the leisure to compose ourselves behind them. #Travel #Nature #NaturePhotography #Canada Click To Tweet
Spirit Island in Canada - A famous icon of the Canadian Rockies, Travel Realizations
Spirit Island is attached to the mainland by a slim spit of land.

On the shores of the Maligne Lake, overlooking the Spirit Island, my little daughter sat quietly and threw pebbles while enjoying the peaceful surrounding. Without the burden of the past, the anxiety of the future, she was all into the contingent present. The moment was extraordinary. I was there learning from the little one; the harmony of the whole. The moment was engraved in my memory forever.

On the shores of the Maligne Lake, overlooking the Spirit Island, my little daughter sat quietly. Travel Realizations
I am one with nature. A sigh of happiness; the scene stirs me from time to time!

On the shores of Maligne Lake

Finally, we came back again to the pier on the shores of Maligne Lake, from where we left for Spirit Island. I loved the small model of the lake and its surrounding mountains and glaciers, which gives visitors a wonderful perspective.

Spirit Island in Canada - A famous icon of the Canadian Rockies
A model of Maligne Lake and the surrounding mountains and glaciers!

After spending an hour exploring the place, I wanted a cup of black coffee and savory waffles.  I went towards the beautiful restaurant called The View but it was closed that day.

 The View restaurant, Maligne Lake
The View – An apt name for the restaurant on the shores of Maligne Lake!

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My trip to Spirit Island in Canada became a philosophical journey – profound realizations washed over me about existence, freedom, and being. Such places are like milestones and give us the opportunity to orient ourselves from our unaware existence amidst the daily grind of modern life. While bidding adieu to this remote island, I wondered, why do I have to plunge again into the strange universe of materials, exploitations, and frenzied excess; where life slips through my fingers? Why on earth do I have to sink deeper into the error? But then once again I remember that existence is to live in the midst of the world, with eyes wide open. Existence is a celebration in all forms; it is a fullness that we humans can never abandon. Also, existence is messy and the charm lies in its imperfection. To remain open is perhaps the only answer, the very essence of existence. Have you ever visited a place that made you contemplative about life, choices, and existence? Hope this memoir inspires you to visit the soul-stirring Spirit Island and Maligne Lake in the Canadian Rockies. Without further ado, book your trip to Spirit Island and Maligne Lake and enjoy the richness of memories sure to last a lifetime!

Hope this memoir inspires you to visit the soul-stirring Spirit Island and Maligne Lake in the Canadian Rockies. #Travel #Canada #Nature Click To Tweet
Travel Realizations, Spirit Island in Canada
My trip to Spirit Island in Canada became a philosophical journey – profound realizations washed over me about existence, freedom, and being.
My trip to Spirit Island in Canada became a philosophical journey – profound realizations washed over me about existence, freedom, and being. #Travel #Explore #Journey Click To Tweet

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Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a campaign with Pursuit and was hosted by the Fiddle River Restaurant. Opinions on this blog, as you can tell, are always mine.

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Chirasree Banerjee

Hello. My name is Chirasree. I have been traveling for almost 11 years to places all over the world. I enter into a separate reality during my travels and enjoy the allure of escape from the mundane. I seek beauty through nature and human-made creations. Because beauty is powerful. I seek knowledge. I observe, absorb, and write about the places I visit and the profound realizations and inspirations that each place has to offer.

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5 Comments

  1. An incredibly inspirational journey through Spirit island. You’ve captured the essence and beauty well!

  2. What a beautiful and iconic part of Canada. Your photos are fabulous – I felt like I was truly there.

  3. Spirit Island looks so beautiful & would be the perfect escape! Thanks so much for sharing your tips!

  4. We are heading west in Canada in a few weeks. We are starting to think about stops along the way. The view of Spirit Island looks intriguing. But good to know more about it before considering it for a stop on the road. Getting there only by water would make it a longer stop. Or be a good reason to stay overnight nearby.

  5. Wow, Spirit Island looks so peaceful! I’d love to travel to Canada to visit the beautiful lakes and scenery there. Thanks for sharing this beautiful spot!

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