The sounds of birds singing around a small pond. Tall, slender trees bend over a quiet, curving pathway. Wildflowers grow in the long grass in the spring. A sea of little yellow leaves fill the valley in the fall. The feeling of safety and calmness as I walk through this trail immediately brings a smile to my face.

This path is my happy place. This path feels like home.

We all have them. Places in the city that bring us joy, big and small. In an era of chaos, Calgary Journal editors have taken time this fall to reflect on the public spots that bring us happiness and peace.
You can read the whole series here.

The trail is not too busy but you can always find dog-walkers, runners, bikers, as well as deer and other small wildlife. A small pond sits near the base of the valley as little paths branch off and lead through the dense forest up to the top of the hill.

I find peace walking down this path located on the north side of Nose Hill Park, nestled next to the Macewan community. Not only does this trail feel like a place of refuge but it holds many beautiful memories; both simple and meaningful. 

I remember walking this route with my mom on a warm, beautiful June evening. We strolled from one end to the other together spotting deer, porcupines and small wildflowers. I loved that we explored these paths until the warm pink sky turned dark. 

This path is where I escaped to breathe the fresh air while a worldwide disease raged on. I fled the house to chase my dog around as he eagerly sniffed and searched every inch of the forest ground he could reach. I felt free exploring with him.

This path is where I walked with my family while yellow leaves fell and covered the forest ground. We explored these yellow pathways on a beautiful fall evening as we had family photos taken. I love that we share this path together.

This path is where I ran with my boyfriend at the time. It was another chance to escape the pandemic for both of us. This special place became more meaningful because I now shared it with him too.

My boyfriend then became my husband and this path became the setting for the first time we saw each other on our wedding day. I walked up behind him as he turned around to see me in my wedding dress. We took photos together as those tall beautiful green trees leaned over us.  The peace I felt in this place and all the special memories came flooding back, and once again, this path felt like home to me. 

Erica John walks down a path on Nose Hill Park in Calgary, Alta., on her wedding day on July 22, 2022. PHOTO: JUAN & ANGIE PHOTO & VIDEO

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