Posing for the perfect photo, I leaned away from the mountainside and put on my most confident face. Only two carabiners kept me attached to my safety harness, yet I wasn’t concerned—except with getting the perfect shot.
I was midway through Mount Norquay’s via ferrata (“iron road,” in Italian) course, a series of iron rungs anchored into the mountain that allows even novices—albeit brave ones—to climb thousands of feet up. From my perch, Banff National Park stretched all around me. The graceful peaks, electric-blue lakes, and miles of green pines and firs seemed the stuff of oil paintings plucked from the depths of an artist’s imagination.
“I’m hanging off the edge of a mountain, and I feel totally fine,” yelled Casey, who was visiting from Toronto with her boyfriend, Matt. “I just want to scream!” (And so she did.) A marmot whistled in the distance, seemingly cheering us on—or, more likely, annoyed by our presence—then later scampered by.