For many people, moving to a mountain town is the realization of a dream, the final step in a pilgrimage to a relaxed lifestyle in a rugged and beautiful setting. After a long journey that began when he was a teenager in the 1980s with the vague idea there might be a better life somewhere “out west,” Jamey Glasnovic eventually fled the chaos and stress of the big city and tried to settle into an uncomplicated Rocky Mountain existence.
Canmore, Alberta, a small community nestled in a picturesque valley situated right at the edge of Banff National Park, should have been the perfect end to his searching. A rapidly growing town emerging on the tourism radar can strain anyone’s definition of paradise, however, and Lost and Found is Glasnovic’s account of his attempt, in the fall of 2008, to recapture the simple wonders of living on the boundaries of a vast wilderness.
A spirited amble by bicycle and on foot, inspired by the work of Bill Bryson, Lost and Found explores the heart of the Rocky Mountain Parks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its staggering beauty, and examines the consequences of celebrating that beauty too effectively with mass tourism and over-ambitious development. Eschewing the convenience of motorized transportation, Glasnovic earns every kilometre that passes beneath his feet, and along the way he learns a thing or two about feeling profoundly connected to place. An experience some would describe as being home.
The siren call of the West has long been heard across the North American landscape, and author Glasnovic, a Montreal-born photographer, followed this call to the Canadian Rockies. In this breezy, thought-provoking account, Glasnovic extols the virtues of traveling via "the pedal-powered steed," and he takes readers on a journey along the Bow Valley Parkway to Alberta's mountain hotspots: Kananaskis Country, Canmore, Banff National Park, Lake Louise, the Columbia Icefield, and Jasper National Park. He is particularly good at detailing both the wonders and disappointments of his surroundings, as he ruminates on the beauty of the Rockies but laments how the three-pronged assault of urbanization, resource extraction, and tourism intrudes on the natural splendor. Glasnovic's book is both an entertaining travelogue as well as a meditation on how the brawl between nature and modern development led him to replace "an idealized and somewhat naive view of the mountain West" with a view tempered by the reality of "commercialism and growth." But his narrative is also peppered with rich descriptions of wildlife, bumbling tourists, over-priced outdoor gear, finicky weather and history. This book provides a reverent yet refreshingly nuanced view of the Canadian West.