Lonely Planet Writer

A year spent hiking in the Canadian wilds captured in photographs

Meet Marta Kulesza, a Polish travel photographer who has been documenting an incredible journey across Canada’s breath-taking mountaintops with her partner. She and her fiancé Jack Bolshaw have a mutual love for photography and travel and met on a six-month backpacking trip in South America when they were both volunteering in a hostel in Ecuador.

Ha-ling-Peak sunrise
Ha-ling-Peak sunrise. Image by Marta Kulesza

Marta has been travelling the world the past 13 years, but the mountains have always drawn her, and she knew that Canada had some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

Mount Robson Canadian Rockies
Mount Robson in the Canadian Rockies Image by Marta Kulesza

“We spent 14 months in the Canadian Rockies researching for our Canada Travel Guide and it was one of the most exciting times of my life,” she told Lonely Planet. “So many trails, the extreme temperatures, the topographical and geographical features along with the friendly Canucks really make it one of my favourite places to live”.

Mount Assiniboine Niblet view
Mount Assiniboine Niblet view. Image by Marta Kulesza

As soon as Marta was granted her Canadian visa, she began planning her trip to Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. “It’s a really remote area in the Canadian Rockies where no cars can get to,” she said. “Assiniboine is a pyramid-shaped mountain, much like the Swiss Matterhorn, and the surroundings are of unprecedented beauty. I have hiked there before, but for me, the inbound helicopter flight is the way to go. From the Mount Shark helipad, you bank to the left and Mount Assiniboine comes into full view and you can see Lake Magog glistening in the sun. For a split second nothing else in the world matters.

“It’s also where I had my first proper grizzly bear encounter,” she added. “As we were walking back to civilization we bumped into a large male. It was casually walking in our direction but it ran off as soon as it saw us. Considering this was our second week in Canada we were pretty lucky spotting a grizzly! I know Canadians who’ve spent their whole lives hiking in the mountains without ever seeing one!”

Lake Ohara Opabin Plateau
Lake Ohara, Opabin Plateau Image by Marta Kulesza
Hiker on East End of Mount Rundle
Hiker on East End of Mount Rundle Image by Marta Kulesza
Joffree-Lakes
Joffre Lakes in British Colombia Image by Marta Kulesza

The pair plan to head to Europe in the summer for their wedding and then back to Canada for the winter. You can find out more on Marta’s website, In a Faraway Land, here.