Thursday, August 26

Rockies Revisited

I've been back in Jasper for a few days now. I spent
a summer here back in 2001, and almost ended up
staying for the winter. This place really is
incredible, but at the same time, walking around town
now is a bit lonely. Almost all of the friends that I
had here have moved on. In fact, a lot of them are in
Montreal. Only two are still here, but even they're
moving soon. Still, I've said it before and I'll say
it again, Jasper is very special, and definitely worth
checking out. During the summer, the majority of the
population here is between 18 and 25, doing the same
thing that I did when I lived here - having a good
time. In the end, though, the combination of the lack
of opportunities for decent work (it's very rare to
make more than $12/hour at any job in the area, and
the cost of living is high) and the fact that not many
people stay here for more than a year makes long-term
stays less appealing. I've heard similar things about
Whistler, with the major difference being that high
season is in winter, compared with summer here.

I ended up staying in Edmonton for much longer than
I'd hoped or expected. After resting up for four
days, the area had rain for almost a week, and since I
expected to camp out while I was here, the prospect of
being in a tent on a rainy day didn't tempt me. So
after waiting for five more days (gawd, and a long
five days they were), I found a few Swiss-German guys
that were going to Jasper on the first sunny day as
well. And better still, they had a car. In the end,
I got a ride with them straight to here. And after I
got here and looked up my friend Jason - the other
friend that I have who's still here is his roommate -
I was offered a couch to sleep on for as long as I

Although I'll probably head south to Banff after I
leave here, my immediate plan is a mini-trip to Prince
George and back. A super-nice guy that I met on
Denman Island (one of the gulf islands off of
Vancouver) owns a tattoo shop there, and after talking
to him on the phone today, I offered to drop by to
catch up a bit. Plus, the guy is very talented, and
I'll likely get a second tattoo off him while I'm
there. He gave me my first (and thus far only) tattoo
while we were on Denman, after he and his friends picked me up while
I was hitch hiking across the island. They offered me
a place to stay for as long as I was there, and after
a few days of wicked partying (and watching him doing
some great work on his friends) I couldn't pass up the
opportunity to get a little souvenir for myself.

On a bit of a side note, one thing that I forgot to
mention about my trip up north was a family that I met
at the camp site there. They were extremely nice, and
offered to let me stay at their house if I was ever in
Peace River (a town about 5 hours northwest of
Edmonton). As a matter of coincidence, I ended up
getting dropped off in Peace River towards nightfall
on the hitch back to Edmonton, and sure enough, they
were only too happy to put me up for the night while I
was there. If I had to pick one thing as the
highlight of this or any of my trips, it's been the
people that I've met.


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