From Up Above


Last week I had the opportunity to see something I’m so familiar with from a completely different perspective, and it amazed me how almost unfamiliar it seemed.

My dad took me on a morning flight in an American Champion Citabria from the Springbank Airport out to Canmore and back. It was a beautiful cloudless day with a bit of a chill and no wind, the perfect day to head out to the mountains. Apparently lots of people had the same idea because there were about seven planes in front of us waiting to take off at the same time. As each pilot communicated with the control tower about their route, we realized that we were not the only ones headed out to Canmore!

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“Springbank tower India Bravo Bravo is on Charlie ready for departure 26.”

We started accelerating down the runway and I noticed a big ol’ coyote running beside us, out for a morning stroll. We lifted off the ground, climbed to 4500 ft and followed the Trans-Canada highway, a road I’ve driven too many times to count and know all the turns and mountain views. From the air, however, it all seemed brand new. I saw the gradual shift from the sparse prairies to the forested foothills to the rocky outcroppings of the mountains, their faces covered in a dusting of fresh snow. I saw estate homes nestled in the trees, hidden from the view of the highway. Herds of cows grazing on exposed grassy hills, and the Bow River making its way through the untouched land of the Stoney Nakoda Reserve.

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We climbed up to 7500 ft as we entered the mountains, flying right next to the bold face of Mount Yamnuska and hugging the north side of the valley. It almost felt like I could reach out and touch the sides of the mountains. At this point, the motion of the small aircraft was having quite the profound effect on me and my stomach, so we decided not to go all the way to Lake Minnewanka, but loop to the south side of the valley and head back. The Three Sisters stood like Queens, the morning sun illuminating their rocky faces. We flew next to Ha-Ling Peak, which Zoltan and I climbed back in 2010, and over Heart Mountain, which I climbed on a youth group trip when I was 14. We saw a cabin and heli pad on the top of another smaller peak and many lakes and rivers and hidden valleys tucked away in crevices in the mountains.

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High above the ground, looking at life below with bird’s eye view, I felt so small in comparison with the grandeur of the land and the mountains that surrounded us. Just a speck in the passage of time, a humble being among so much beauty. It was a moment of peace, and enlightenment, broken only momentarily when I threw up my breakfast from motion sickness.

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Coming out of the mountains, the flatlands spread out before us with Calgary in the distance. We flew to the junction of hwy 22 and hwy 8 and then headed northeast up to YBW (Springbank Airport). We landed, back on solid ground, but with an entirely new perspective on my surroundings. It’s amazing how one perspective change can make something come alive again, perhaps a practice that can be applied to other areas of our life.

Have you had any experiences lately that have changed your perspective on something? Comment below with a story!

Until next time,


2 thoughts on “From Up Above

  1. A pilots license has been on my literal “Life Goals” list since I was a little boy. This makes me want to check it off even more!


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