Hello from the train! We are now on the Jasper to Prince Rupert section of our journey – likely the last time we’ll travel by rail this trip. The mountains are spectacular, and yesterday in Jasper it snowed big fat flakes. Sean was delighted to see the big wet flakes falling like that – he always thought it was over exaggerated in movies. It was pretty cool for me too – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such big chunks of snow falling from the sky. We joked God was shaking his dandruff out.
Jasper was spectacular. I was there 2 years ago but at the time I didn’t stay in town because it was brimming with tourists in summer. I went straight to Mt. Edith Cavell with some Aussie climbers, and later to Mt. Robson. It was great, but a completely different experience in the August. The shoulder season is much nicer to travel in, and I’m happy to have my own Australian with me on this trip.
After enjoying a short ski trip to Thredbo – a ski resort in the “Australian Alps” – last April, Sean and I bought season passes. They allow us to ski half price at Lake Louise and Banff, amongst other North American resorts, so we decided to head down the Icefield Parkway (93) to get a feel for it and see if we wanted to spend December skiing there. I’ve always loved the little town of Field, BC (population 161), and thought it would be an idyllic place to spend 3 or 4 weeks cross country skiing and downhilling at Lake Louise. After a couple nights in town, though, we both turned to each other and agreed that something was NQR (not quite right). There were many places available for us to stay, but we had a funny feeling from the locals. A sort of “This is a local store…. for local people” (credit to League of Gentlemen. Field is so small it has no local store, but it applies nonetheless). I decided I can still love the small mountain town of Field from afar, stop in at Truffle Pig for a great dinner and venture off to Emerald Lake when in the area, but that Jasper is a much more welcoming place and suits us better.
So we returned to Jasper, splurged on a great hotel room for a couple days, and found the cutest attic apartment in the top of an old log home (circa 1926) where we’ll return to at the end of November. It’s a lovely spot and has everything we (I) were (was) hoping for: a clawfoot bathtub, fireplace, views of the mountains, walking distance to shops and around the corner from the library and swimming pool. Add to that list of wonderful things, is the rent – we’re getting it for a fraction of regular cost. When the lady told Sean that she’d rent it to us for a $1000 he, being from Sydney, had to ask: “per week?” (Face-palm).
We call the concept we live by “Lifestyle Banditry”. It’s almost overwhelming how many things I get to do and learn about living this way – working in a targeted way, having time for creativity and exploration. In December I plan to do levels 1 & 2 of CANSI cross country ski coaching, which I hope to put to use in Australia during the southern hemisphere winter. Sean and I have cooked up some good artistic ideas, and the island of Haida Gwaii (where we’re headed) is already inspiring me to get some water navigation courses under my belt. January should see us back in Busintana in Colombia, and my mind has also schemed up different ideas for working with the Arhuacos there. It’s exciting to see things coming together, and I am grateful to be in these awe-inspiring and wonder-invoking natural places.
In the meantime, we’re headed west….