Reality Check

My muse and I hit the road for our first road trip of the summer on Thursday. This could be a travel post but it’s not. I feel like a bucket of cold water has been dumped on my head. Only once I get the water out of my eyes, there’s just doors everywhere in front of me. Decisions. Too many directions to go towards for someone who would usually needs an extra push for those difficult choices.

My best friends pregnant. I’m not sure she’s fully grasped just what’s about to happen in her life, I still can’t wrap my head around it. We were suppose to backpack South East Asia in January, now she’ll be about ready to give birth at that time. I watched the cousin I grew up calling my twin get married. Two of my other cousins and a friend are also engaged. I guess I’ve finally hit the age when everyone starts settling down and getting married and I’m over here trying to decide which country I want to live in.

It’s not exactly the fear of missing out I’m experiencing, but the fear of falling behind. I thought I’d be engaged by now if I’m being honest. I figured I’d be able to force myself to settle down, get an apartment in the city, have a group of friends all doing the same thing, simple. Yet here I am, back from another too short trip home and I probably won’t see anyone of them for another 8 months, at that. I don’t miss them when I’m gone. I’ve always been able to keep in touch with the ones who matter. I’ve had a non stop conversation going with an exchange student from high school for 7 years. We’ve visited in Germany and in Canada 5? maybe 6 times since her original exchange and will continue to do so.

I’ve fallen out of love with Banff, hard to believe some where so beautiful seems so dull to me. I’m not sure what changed, something inside of me? Seeing Vancouver, the city that will never be beat for me might have done it. Everything I loved now seems second rate. I spent today in bed, there was a mix of junk food, crying and sleep. I’m going to take tomorrow to open my heart. Try and fall back in love with the town I call my home. I fall in and out of love so easily. But I struggle to ever let go.

I want to live near the ocean. Maybe I’ll move to Tofino and learn to surf. I want to do the West Coast Trail next summer. I still want to move to Australia, I hate pushing it back because it makes everything seem less attainable. Maybe the reality is I stopped viewing this relationship as having a deadline. My grandpa asked me if he was permanent? How can I answer that about something so new? And if there’s no deadline, when is Australia suppose to happen? What if I stayed for a boy and everything fell apart? What if What if What if.

I once read that a woman is ready once she finds out she’s pregnant. A man is ready once he holds the baby. Only I’ve always had more manly tendencies. I think I won’t be ready until I buy my ticket across the world. I just wanted to sit and vent and probably cry while going over everything with a fine toothed comb until some kind of end result is realized. I miss having someone who knows you so well they can tell from a text that something’s wrong. Take one look at you and say “lay it on me”. Each day is coming off as a struggle. I hate having to force myself out of bed, hiding from conversation, feeling empty. Tomorrow is a new day.

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Johnston Canyon

Now I’ve done this hike 3 separate times. Once in winter, twice in the summer. It is always crazy busy, this is a hike you would recommend to the kitchen sink and you’ll see exactly what I mean if you ever visit Johnston Canyon in the peak of summer. Bus tours, group tours and individuals flock to this hike like bees to a hive. It is fairly easy, about 30 minutes to the lower falls and 1 hour to the upper falls.

I don’t even know how to rate this hike, I feel like it’s a must see in the town of Banff. It’s probably wormed it’s way onto every top 10 list when in the Bow Valley area. The lower falls are through a small but short tunnel and you will be splashed standing at the front. The upper falls has 2 view points, from the bottom of the falls and from the top. I’ve been lucky enough to have the rare moment at the bottom all to myself, twice.

In the winter, I strongly recommend cramp-ons. I know you can rent them in town, or buy them and resell them before you leave. These are essential to maintaining the trail as well as avoiding the multiple butt bruises you will receive if you choose to go without. The amount of people taking the trail will wear away any and all snow leaving a beautiful icy runway. I spent more time sliding down on my behind then actually walking, heading to and away from the falls. I’m not even being bias when I say I love the falls in the winter 10 times more. Yes, the significantly less amount of people makes a huge impact on my decision but there is something to be said about standing under a massive frozen waterfall.

If you know a local in the area, find out where the cave is as it trumps all else in the area. A hidden gem at a tourist trap. The next waterfall I’m dreaming about is Bridal Veil Falls in Chilliwack, BC. I’m hoping to pop by quickly when I’m on my  way home for a family wedding this weekend.

Silverton Falls

My roommate asked me to give her a list of all the waterfalls I’ve been to in the area. Seeing as I’ve challenged myself to write about the ones I make it to and the one I’m dreaming of I figured it wouldn’t be too hard and will hopefully keep me on track. As well as, my muse is talking about writing a fansign on the area, maybe this will help me come up with what to write for him.

Silverton Falls is a waterfall I stumbled upon when I had a day off in the winter and decided to drive half of the Bow Valley Parkway. I parked at Rockbound Lake trailhead because I’d driven quite a ways, didn’t know where I was and was alone in my rickety VW Golf. When I went up to the sign post marking the trailhead and stating YOU ARE HERE, I saw that there was a 0.7 KM hike to Silverton Falls. Obviously this only caught my eye because of my love of waterfalls. I started to head out right away, but there was a foot of snow on the ground, I was alone and we’d just been talking about the local wolf pack at work. Being from an area where there are no wolves, I decided not to risk it and filed away this adventure for either the summer or a trip with a friend.

That day finally came. A friend asked if we could go on a hike and said the choice was mine. I work overnights on Tuesday and didn’t want anything to strenuous so I suggested Silverton. I’m horrible with distances. Whenever someone says “oh it’s only 3 KMs” I just nod my head like I know how long that is and how far you’ll travel. I figured 0.7 KM would be short but can’t say I expected it to take less than 10 minutes. Never the less, after 10 minutes of a light stroll, there we were beside a beautiful, thundering falls. 

I know this is the hidden gem on bow Valley Parkway as its beginning of July and I had no trouble finding parking. We also had a peaceful 10 minutes lounging by the falls before anyone else showed up. It’s a good spot to take a moment pre/post Johnston Canyon where the tourists come by the 1000s. 

If you’re interested and in the area, check out Silverton Falls on trailpeak.com for better directions. The next waterfall I’m dreaming of is Troll Falls, in Kananaskis.

A Masters in falling water

I helped a friend move on hill at a ski resort the other day. She’ll be living secluded on a mountain with 30 other people. They are only 30 minutes from town and have a constant influx of tourists who want to climb to the tops of the chairlifts where they ski all winter long but still, she’s cut off. She was filling out her paperwork and discussing the living situation differences between winter and summer when I overheard natures lullaby.

The most comforting sound to my ears, right after falling asleep to a British accent, rushing water. I probably looked like I was crazy as I whipped my head around and started searching out the window for where this glorious sound was coming from. Across the village and behind the hotel, I could see it. A beautiful cascading waterfall, calling my name.

I turned to my friend and called to her in a voice that sounded far off even to my own ears. She asked me if I was okay and I told her I had to go as I ran out the door. Standing at the foot of the falls all I could think was beautiful. There’s no words. I can’t describe a waterfall in sentences, all that runs through my mind is magestic, beautiful, serenity.

That doesn’t even begin to capture the true essence of a waterfall. When I reached the bottom, I started searching for a place to sit, to just close my eyes, breath in the scent of freshly melted snow. But I wanted to be closer. Like at Cascade Falls, I want to sit right next to it, be in the middle of it, feel the splash as water tumbles by me. And so I climbed. I climbed and climbed without looking back; without stopping to think of where I would go next or how I would get down.

I finally reached a point where I’d jumped on top of a rock to avoid stepping in the falls and could climb no further. I perched on the edge, looked around me and felt one singular overpowering emotion. Peace. All thoughts ceased, all worries disappeared. The water glistened like cascading diamonds, splashing up around me every once in a while. The roar took over and there was nothing but my personal lullaby to be heard.

Sometimes we forget beauty. To me, beautiful is not materialistic, flashy or glam. Beautiful is a calm lake, a snow capped mountain or that perfect waterfall.