My 1st Solo Road Trip

I have been working 6 day weeks since the middle of July. I had 4 days off to go home for a wedding and other than that it’s been work work work work work. But I don’t really mind. Last year, my position in Waterton had a contract where we worked 6 day weeks the entire summer, so the transition didn’t affect me. A few weeks ago, I had planned to return to the hidden town of Waterton but had my heart broken when my car died. So I arranged with my manager to have a morning-day off-evening scheduled so that I could fulfil my plans of a solo road trip.

It’s weird to drive 4 hours by yourself. The drive from Banff to Waterton is uneventful but easy. Mostly single lanes with a speed limit of 100 the whole way. I’ve recently started a Google Play trial so I was excited at all the new songs I’d added to my phone to listen to. I can’t say I had any major self reflections on the drive. I’ve been at the same point for a while where I’m happy waiting for the next “one”. I have a tendency to date 4’s when we all know I can do better; them, me and any one on looking. I think I need to wait till at least a 7 comes along before I retry that whole relationship thing. I’m craving a mans man. Someone who knows what he wants and is going to go for it, fight for me. Not physically start fights in the bar because of a creep who can’t keep his hands to himself but put in the work that a relationship requires.

Waterton. This town hasn’t changed one bit. Liquor store Jeff is still as hot as they come, Bayshore staff still hate their lives, Pats boys know all the gossip and by the end of the summer, everyone is an eskimo brother/sister for sleeping with the same people, repeatedly. Don’t get me wrong, Banff is much the same. Waterton is just so much more…condensed. I’m sad to say I didn’t get to paddle board like I’d dream since the weather didn’t work out for me, I didn’t hike since sleep didn’t really happen either. There was an incredibly easy access to substances that I don’t recall from last year, but it could be the girls I was friends with last year just weren’t into that scene.

I’m not sad that I didn’t go back. The hotels all seem to be struggling to stay a float. I love having a kitchen in my staff accom even if the rates are $200 more per month, the pay is higher anyways. I loved seeing the faces though. I had a wonderful conversation at the bar about boys and how they’re never worth the struggle. One girl regretted her decision to go back, said that too much of a good thing never works out. Everyone also asked about the girl I dated for 7 months and what a wreck she is as a human. She then commented on a photo I’d been tagged in, I wish she’d take a hint that she was a mistake in my life. One that has been blacked out from the majority of my memories.

I’m craving another adventure though. I’ve been trying to research Saskatchewan towns, anything that stands out there seeing as I’m about to have 3 days off in a row. It’s hard since I haven’t found anyone blogging about road tripping Sask. Growing up in BC, it wasn’t really a province anyone visited. I also started researching an overnight hike in the Jasper area, to the Valley of a Thousand Falls. Obviously that’s right up my alley, pretty much I saw a photo of Emperor Falls and can’t stop thinking about it. But I’ve never done an overnight hike, so going alone for my first one is a little daunting.

I’m not sure what will happen next weekend. Maybe I’ll go to Calgary and visit my friend. Maybe I’ll end up back in Waterton. All I know is I’m going to make the best of the end of this summer sun.

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Cascade Falls

In light of falling back in love with Banff, I’ve been forcing myself to go out. I’m trying to be more independent, I mean I want to drive around Australia in a Sprinter, I need to like myself more. If all my friends bail on me and I have one day off, I can still go where ever I want right? They say there’s bears but who doesn’t love our furry friends of the forest. That’s not to say I’m not bear aware.

So the one place I’ve never written about but I spend a lot of time at is Cascade Falls. Now the first time I ventured here I was with the muse. It’s an on going joke with myself and hotel guests that it is the number one make out spot in Banff because when we went up, there were 2 other couples just going at it. Besides not only are you standing next to a beautiful waterfall, you’re looking out on the valley with a clear view of Rundle mountain, Tunnel mountain and the area surrounding Lake Minnewanka.

It is a fairly short hike but it is also straight up hill the entire way. My friend described it as a mini scramble, due to all the shale on the trail. What I like most is you can see your final destination the entire way. So the whole time when I’m struggling to breath, cussing myself for thinking I like nature, I just keep telling myself it’s not that much farther. Even though I know how much farther I have to go and I’m blatantly lying to myself.

The last time I went up, I took a good book and a beer. I laid out on the second cliff edge to avoid the masses and put my feet and beer in the running water to keep cool. It was so relaxing. Reading about Ray Smith scaling mountains in Dharma Bums as I sat on the edge of my favourite mountain. I was inspired, so I decided to pretend I could rock climb and climbed to the 3rd ledge with the help of some liquid cougar. It’s beautiful once you get that high up, it’s flatter so you can walk along the falls for quite a ways.

I’m always day dreaming about this day now. Recreating it. I’m rereading  Shantaram since I never finished it. Maybe I’ll buy On the Road by Jack Keourac next. Either way, until the snow falls and the ice climbers come out to play, I will be at Cascade Falls. With a book in one hand, a beer in the other and not a care in the world.

To access the Cascade falls trail head, head towards Lake Minnewanka. Just on the other side of the overpass, you’ll see a turn on the right saying Cascade Ponds and on the left side a pull over. Straight ahead of this pull over, you will see Cascade Falls tumbling in the distance, cross the field from the parking lot and you’re on the trail.

nothing really matters

Last night, I was speeding up highway 1 along side a beautiful Audi R8. This car is my exes dream car, the convertible version is my number 2 dream car only after any type of Maserati. There were two separate lightening storms happening, one over Lake Minnewanka and another striking out at the Three Sisters. One of my favorite Canadian bands, The Barenaked Ladies came on the radio belting out It’s All Been Done.

In this moment, I felt at peace. I’m reading The Dharma Bums, given to me by the muse for my birthday. It’s my first real glance at Buddhism I’ve ever had. This practice or the way Ray Smith practices in the book is the first religion to ever truly resonate with me. He states that “nothing is everything and everything is nothing.” Like Queen said in Bohemian Rhapsody: nothing really matters. 

I’ve just had my heart broken. I knew it would happen, I just didn’t imagine to be cut off, I would prefer an actual conversation or hatred or I’m just not that into you. Verses this ghosting technique, just disappearing never to be heard of again, that has become so popular with men. I knew the muse was temporary, we always had a deadline looming overhead of us, put on by us. If we’d wanted the relationship to last, there never would’ve been a barrier of visas, oceans and distance. That’s probably why I’ve only ever referred to him as the muse or introduced him to my family by just his name, no title. It didn’t fit to say boyfriend because at any point he would drop off the face of the earth, no break up, just no more. 

I gave myself the best piece of advice when I decided to pursue this relationship. Whether it was 6 days, 6 weeks or 6 months, during that period I knew i would be truly happy. And I was. I’ve decided to not analyze any of it, just leave the memories as they are in my heart. Pure and happy and full of love. I’ve never read something more beautiful than the way he described me in Something Beautiful. He is a wonderful boy, I hope he finds what he’s looking for out there in the big bad world. The only part I’m struggling with is sleeping alone every night, not having forehead kisses to wake up to every morning. And we never finished Lord of the Rings.

I know one day I’ll meet a man who is not intimidated by a self assured woman. Who I won’t describe as a boy. Who won’t turn into a coward and run away from something beautiful although difficult. This three month summer romance may have been what I needed to realize I could love and be loved again. A lesson has been learned that I couldn’t see for myself on my own. Now I’m more determined then ever to be in Australia by March. Sun kissed skin is in my future.