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Oh man. It’s happening again. This happens to me every time I’ve attempted this, this time it took almost nine months but I’ve gone and done it again… I’ve completely neglected my blog.

Mom and I were chatting about the whole “writing blogs” thing. “It’s like – like going for a long drive in the car. Or going to a new city for the day. I just think… Unnnnnnnh, I don’t wannnnnaa…. but once I get in the car – or get to where we’re going – I’m completely happy and content to do so. I just gotta do it” Mom says in between puffs from her Pall Mall Menthol to me last night standing in the 45 degree night in Roosevelt, Utah. As I did a combination shiver/inhale of my Camel Filter I realized she was probably right. Stop feeling bad for myself and get going again. Besides – since when do I ever have this much to talk about?

I am over a month behind, however. Which is why this is going to be an epic two-part post. Part one is September, Part two will cover until we leave California.

I had a very intimate love affair with the West coast. I miss it. I love it dearly. I want to run back to it.

9/8

We’re camping in this little town called Coombs, which is known for this place called “Goats on the Roof” where there are… well, goats on the roof. Hiking is great.

Campsite is neat, huge. Downloaded Run Keeper on iPhone. Maybe since I quit smoking something good can come of it, something to keep me from starting again. We’ll see. Off to grab dinner and catch a sunset.

 

9/9

Had steak and wine with the Miniato’s in Tsawwassen or however you spell it – still can’t get it right – thru the border fine and now we’re in Birch Bay, Washington. Our new home for the next week, staying at Mom’s friends places – Agnes and Chris first half of the week, then Linda and Ron midweek.

9/10

Chris took us sailing! I’ve so rarely been. Jeff’s friend Jordan took us last year in Key West, but I could probably count the amount of times I’ve been on a boat with a single hand. Chris taught Mom how to steer and I pretty much relaxed the whole time, well not pretty much, that’s exactly what I did.

Agnes made some fabulous “classic Canadian” dish for dinner – some kind of meat pie thing – amazing. These guys are big wine drinkers. I think that’s a qualification for simply living on the West Coast. It’s boding well with me.

9/12

Mt. Baker today. Ron and Mom dropped me off at my trailhead while they took their hike. I saw SNOW! So pretty it looks fake.

After a great day of hiking we headed to Bellville for the weekly (monthly?) Libertarian meeting. Ron took us through the car wash on the way over!


9/15

The last few days we’ve been staying at Linda and Ron’s, which has been great. Good food, never ending wine, nice area to go for runs in. I can now run for .6 miles without stopping. Working on it. Got my earring in the mail today from Bassano.

Off for steak dinner at Chris and Agnes’s – then tomorrow we’re off again!

9/16

Took the ferry to Coupeville to visit Mom’s friend, Boom. Small seaside towns. My there are a lot of these.

Caught a nice sunset tonight. Another trend in my life. Am I starting to take all this beauty for granted?

9/17

Olympic National Park is amazing. Talk about Beautiful. Went on a big hike today, during which we met two ladies on our way up, and stuck with them for the rest of the hike.



One of them mentioned we must check out Port Townsend out, so we did. Just got back from a massive Thai dinner, will check out what this town’s got tomorrow.

9/18

Oh yeah. A writer, hippie, vagabond, free spirit’s dream town. Mom wants to move here. I want to follow her.

9/17

Things to check out in Seattle:
-South Lake Union
-Capitol Hill
-Ballard
-University District
-Pixies, bar
-Big Guitar Thing
-Pike Place
-Busking?

We just got to Seattle. So far all I can say is they have an electronic music station, so that’s a plus. I’m kindof nervous… I’ve got the plan to move here with Mary and Pat after our jobs are done this winter, what if I don’t like it? Will I even let that persuade me? Do I have a pair of rose colored glasses on? Ahh.. I just want tomorrow to come so I can get an impression.

9/18

Today was cool – we went to Capitol Hill, which is a really hip area. Cool vintage shops, good coffee. Some guy came up to me and just handed me four albums. Good omen. I feel exhausted today though – could barely get a beer down without wanting to pass out. Will hopefully wake up refreshed tomorrow.

9/18

I’m sick. Shit. I thought it was weird I was so tired yesterday. Hope this is just a 24 hour thing. Guzzling down water and OJ and haven’t even changed out of my pajamas yet today. Got 13 hours of sleep last night. With this kind of care, how could it possibly last today? Off to watch breaking bad, til my eyes fall out of my head.

9/19

Good news is breaking bad is an amazing show. Bad news is I’m still sick as a dog.

9/20

Still sick. Mom went to do the interactive music experience thing today. I wanted to go but couldn’t even fathom the idea of getting out of bed. I did see the sunset tonight though, Mom dragged me to it, saying fresh air would do me good.

9/21

And still no improvement. This sucks. Of all the places to get sick, it has to be the place I wanted so desperately to explore, the place we gave ourselves so much time for. On the other hand, maybe this is the best place to get sick – because I’ll be coming back?

9/22

Went to Pike Place market this morning. Beautiful. Great vendors, and a busker told me you can busk for free in Seattle – excellent. It was a short day out (still not on my “A” game yet) but nice.

We took the bus in. On the way back, the bus driver had to stop to try and wake up this sleeping dude at the back of the bus. It didn’t work. He was shouting directly into his ear and the guy didn’t even twitch. Finally he had to pull over to the side of the road, call the EMT’s and they had to drag the guy outta the ambulance  It was all quite exciting. I was nervous but when the driver assured us he was breathing, and he made some responses to the EMT my mind was eased a bit. Guess he had a big night of drinking.



We’re driving out of Seattle now to – guess where – Birch Bay. My nose is still runny, throat still dry, still exhausted. We’re staying with Linda and Ron a few days so I can get better before we’re off to Portland. Trying not to stress, what’s the point. Man I could go for a cigarette right now.

9/25

Finally out of bed and onto the road again. I don’t do boredom well. Today we’re hitting Mt. Rainier!

We mosied along down the coast of Washington and now we’re posting up in Yakima (the town responsible for 75% of the hops of the world currently) for the night.

9/26

Well hello there Oregan… you are mighty pretty.

See that bit of smoke behind the vine in focus here? Thought it was from a waterfall – turned out to be a forest fire…

Yikes. On a lighter note, the rest of Oregan is absolutely amazing. Such a beautiful serenity here…

11pm – sold my soul for a pack of cigarettes. Was doing so good. 5 and a half weeks. I’ve been waking up every day for the past week with my first thought being – god I want one – and I went out for a drive, and just pulled into the 7/11… thought about not smoking one, but ofcourse I did. Felt so foreign, the cigarette. Been so long since I’ve touched one. Wow. My heart rate has finally slowed down.

9/27

Today we went to the Concordia neighborhood in Portland… there was a street fair going on and I met a bunch of cool people … this is the kinda town my friends and I would all fit right in at…

9/28

Tried to busk today – made something like $8 in over an hour. Yikes. There’s no real spot in Portland where people congregate. This doesn’t bode well to me living here. On the bright side, Powell bookstore is amazing. A city of books. The vintage clothes stores are kickass too – I vowed not to buy anything, to save – didn’t work out. This place seems great, but, not what I imagined… I guess I figured it was this small utopia the way people talk about it… I’m not so sure though. Anyway, off to see Willy Porter now.

Concert was amazing. One of those, ohmygodIwannagohomeandwritesongsnow kinda show. Mmmmm!

9/29

See ya later Portland. Time to get away from the cities for a minute.

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Vancouver Island

As I scroll through my photos of the recent weeks of my vacation, I’m realizing there’s a theme. Sunset, sunset, sunset, sunset, sunset. Well, of all things to repeat, this isn’t the worst, I suppose. Be prepared for lots of pinks, oranges, yellows, etc in this post.

Following Victoria, we jumped back in the car and first stop took us to Chemainus. This was a much cooler town than we had anticipated – lots of little shops, cute houses with gardens, oceanfront, and murals all over the city.

After spending the afternoon, our final destination was to make it to Tofino. This is one of those places that everyone seems to recommend… Mom and I try to to make sure we go to a place if 3+ people recommend it, as was the case for this little town on the west edge of the island. It was certainly good for picture taking, meeting energetic hippies, gorgeous camping, and good food.

Ocean, hiking, local beer – what else do you really need? I’d certainly pass on this recommendation as a spot to check out, if you find yourself in Vancouver Island!

On the way back, our previous hosts in Tsawwassen invited us to stop in for dinner – steak, potatoes, wine – my kind of meal. After our delicious food, we said see you later to Canada and hello again to America, which the remainder of our trip will be in….

 

Ferry ride from Tsawwassen to Victoria

Gorgeous


Yacht Club

A quiet afternoon

Beacon Hill

Rhonda, our gracious host for the weekend

It’s beginning to look a lot like Autumn

The Empress Hotel

Downtown

The porch we spent hours on

Sleepy roommate

Down by the water

Street art

Vancouver

Vancouver, home of Robin Scherbatsky, the Canucks, Stanley Park, the Suspension Bridge.

Mom’s friend from boarding school has set up shop in North Vancouver, so we were able to crash at her place and head out to any touristy things we’d like to do from there. Touristy thing #1 was Granville Island. This is a little area inside the city that has lots of shops, restaurants, buskers, etc.

Such a pretty city to take pictures of…

This is a shot taken from Stanley Park, which we hit up after Granville Island. Some places say this park is the largest in North America, some say it’s the third largest, others the sixth – I’ve got no idea – but it’s really, really big. Mom took a gander at the totem poles while I went for a run around the lake, and with this above picture as my background, you can imagine it wasn’t too shabby.

After the park we treated ourselves dinner in Gastown and a stroll around the area…



We headed briefly over to WestVan after that to say hello to my cousin and take a stroll through the park after our indulgent spaghetti dinner… as we were leaving my cousin Tara’s apartment we once again saw a gorgeous shot of the skyline…

We reserved the next day as our tourist day. This ofcourse meant starting the day off with the Suspension Bridge. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River. The current bridge is 136 metres (446 ft) long and 70 metres (230 ft) above the river. It draws over 800,000 visitors a year. There’s a plethora of other activities to join in on within the park as well – a “cliff walk”, a nature walk, mini “zoo” (with a stuffed owl, which I only realized was fake after spending far too long staring at it), as well as a gift shop, lots of fountains, and a restaurant.

Then, in true tourist form, we were off to hike Grouse Mountain. Only, when we got there, we found out it would be $5 for parking, it would be a grueling hour and a half walk straight up, and we were required to take a gondula back down (another 10 each) because it’s “far too steep” to walk down. No thanks.

We ended up finding a great little place to hike around called Lighthouse Park. We barely were able to see the lighthouse, But all the many paths through the woods were beautiful!

 

After a couple hours of hiking, we eagerly accepted our friends Kathy and Paul’s invitation to join them for dinner. Wine, black russians, cheese and crackers, and a delicious chicken pasta dish… we get treated well. Their son, Brett and his girlfriend Julia joined us for dinner too, and we got to know each other standing on their gorgeous balcony…

We went home full and happy, the next morning packing our bags and heading to Tsawwassen, with a quick stop in White Rock on the way to have some fish and chips with Hilda…

And before long we were on our way again… Staying with my Mom’s friend Paul, from the Libertarian Party. That night I was able to meet the wonderful Carliegh – we have tons of mutual friends (since she used to live in Key West, now relocated to Vancouver) who have said we should get together if we can, so we thought why not?

We met up at the bar – the Only Bar – in Tsawwassen. Paul’s son Al told me to look out for “cougars” – I see why now. It was great for us to be able to kick it and toss a few brews back, however. Although there was a lot of shouting, as the music was blasting at full volume…

We had a few strange people stop by our table – an 80-something year old man inquiring about my bracelets, a middle aged guy asking us why we didn’t bite people in New Orleans? and a guy on crutches offering to buy us drinks… though I’m not sure how he was intending on getting them to us from the bar….

The next day Paul put together a little Libertarian barbeque, with a few people Mom knew from the Canadian Libertarian Party group joining us. Also my Mom’s friend from school and her son, as well as Paul’s kids Dennis and Al.

And that’s a wrap on Vancouver. Tune in next time for Vancouver Island. 🙂

A Wedding in the Sky

There have been very few dates during this year long road trip where we’ve absolutely had to be somewhere at a certain time. Coachella, Indio, California, April 19 was one, Van Morrison show, Belfast, Northern Ireland, February 3rd another. We also knew we had to be in New Hampshire at the end of June for the Porcupine Freedom Festival. Besides these few examples, it’s all been pretty “whatever, man” – we’ll get there when we get there. August 25 was an exception, a date marked in pen on our calendar from the beginning of the trip.

My cousin Jen and her fiance Sam decided to make August 25 their wedding day. Mom and I RSVP’d Yes! immediately, but the idea of a plane trip seemed so dull. The idea of the roadtrip began to form, and it seemed obvious that we should, you know, go south, go to Ireland, back to Florida, head west, then back east, then north, and west again – and THEN arrive in Golden. A tad back and forth, but my Mom and I aren’t two to do the “normal” thing anyway.

1 – The Bridal Shower

Jen’s wedding shower was the Wednesday evening before the wedding – so after a dull drive from Edmonton to Calgary, we arrived to my Aunt and Uncle’s house in a flurry of hugs and kisses, and were dropped off at Adrian’s house (Sam’s Mom), our eyes to find beautiful flowers and decorations all around, our mouths watering at all the food set out, and our taste buds jumping for joy with the pina coladas Adrian continually made for us.



After some tasty food and drank it was time for Jen to open her presents. As she opened up some great gifts the rest of us took to work at making a hat for her with all the ribbons/tissue paper that adorned the gifts.

Probably all too soon for Jen, the hat was ready, as my Aunt Mary and family friend Anne helped to put it on…

After presents, we continued on to the “mystery” activity… all the women who were married were asked to bring their wedding dress along, because we were going to play a “game”. The game was that Jen has to try on each dress and guess who the dress belongs to. If she got it wrong, she ofcourse had to drink. I’m pretty sure that she was drinking whether she won or not, but who’s counting? This was actually a really cool game, and really interesting to see how the wedding dress style has changed over the years. “We’d never wear a sleeveless wedding dress back in the ’80s – especially not in a church, our parents never would have let us!”

After that everyone was eager to see how well they’d still fit in their dress…

Beautiful ladies! We finished the night up by a few drinks by the fire…

It was the perfect end to a perfect evening. The next day was planning, packing, as well as catching up with family I haven’t seen in years, and also family and friends I’ve never met before… Friday morning Mom and I hopped in our car, Anne and John in theirs (the family friends), Jodie and Mike (Jen’s Aunt and Uncle on Mary’s side) in their rental car, Adam (the best man) and Courtney (his girlfriend) in their car, Scott and Val (my Aunt and Uncle) and Grant and Mary (my Aunt and Uncle, Jen’s parents) at the head of the pack in their car loaded with wedding supplies. We then drove in a little caravan through Lake Louise and onto Golden, British Columbia.

The drive was absolutely beautiful. Little drops of rain here and there, but the fog that rolled over the mountains was totally gorgeous.

It’s so infrequent that I get to see this side of the family, we ofcourse had to make sure we got a group photo taken… along with the hundreds of other tourists there…

After our quick shot, we all jumped back in our cars and zipped off to the Kicking Horse Resort in Golden. Some of us were staying in the Lodge at the bottom of the Gondola, and a handful were staying at a beautiful mansion Mary and Grant were renting out for the weekend. It slept something like eleven, had a bathroom in each room, a sauna, many balconies with a gorgeous view of the mountains, a hot tub, etc, etc…

2 – The Party

The wedding party was hosting a barbeque the night before, starting at 5:30. We arrived in Golden around 4- but we all thought there was a time change, so figured we had two and a half hours to get ready, decorate the house, make food… until our first guests showed up at (what we thought was) 4:30, they informed us it was indeed 5:30. That put a little bounce to our step, and we all quickly hung up decorations and laid out all the chips and dip we could find.

Once the preparations were finished we all took to the important task of drinking, and as I wandered around I got to know a fabulous group of people, failing to find a single person I didn’t like.

View from the main balcony

As was the theme for the whole weekend, there was certainly no lack of food…

Jordan (the Best Man’s brother) was kind enough to give me a lift to my hotel after the party wound down (which was some late hour), and after sleeping in our hotel suite Mom and I were sharing with Scott and Val, the dawn brought in the day we’d been looking forward to…

3- Wedding Day

Jen and Sam were getting married at the top of a mountain. Which meant we got to climb thousands of feet in the Gondola right outside our hotel. Certainly the most unique travel-to-a-wedding experience I’ve ever had.

When we stepped out on top I was all smiles – one of my favorite places in the world is on top of a mountain, as you know if you’re a reader of my blog. This was one of the most beautiful settings I have ever seen for a wedding, and I’ve been to close to a hundred (whether as a guest, the photographer, or the musician). I started running into all the new friends I’d met at the party last night, and before I knew it, it was time to take our seats, and the ceremony began…

An absolutely beautiful ceremony, and a beautiful bride (which makes it impossible to take a bad picture). I found myself swatting a few tears away – Jen, as I said is a beautiful girl, inside and out, and it’s so wonderful to see her so happy, and to be with the man of her dreams.

But anyway, mushy stuff aside, the champagne and candy table was out, so I found plenty to entertain myself with before dinner.

I think I was too excited to eat to snap a picture of the main coarse, but I remembered to grab a shot of the appetizer, which was so tasty.

Dinner was great – we got our wine glasses constantly refilled, got to listen to speeches from Adam, Dana, Grant and Mary, Sam’s Grandpa, and Andrea, and ofcourse got to eat wonderful food. I snuck outside right after the meal to grab a few photos of the sunset.

I ran into Courtney and Adam while I was out there…

When I came inside I ran into Erin and Dana tying Jen’s dress up in preparation of her and Sam’s first dance…

I won’t pain your eyes by making them look at the photos I took of their first dance.. think it was some combination of bad lighting, a focus problem, and the variety of alcohol smushing around in my stomach, but I quickly realized I should put the camera down and just enjoy the dance, which they pulled off beautifully!

The dance floor opened up then, and after a couple gin and gingers you couldn’t get me to stop dancing. Except when they started doing some line dance that I’d never seen before, and though no one was really pulling it off, I would have likely looked even more pathetic, so I hung back for that one.

All of a sudden everyone started to congregate outside, and as I joined the crowd I saw it was to set off lanterns into the night…

We all went back inside for a few more dances, a bit more cake, coffee, wine, hugs.

As if I haven’t said it enough, a beautiful, perfect wedding! Wonderful scenery, better people, fabulous food, and ofcourse, free drinks. What else could you need?

All the best of luck to you, Jen and Sam. You’re two very lucky kids.

After eleven nights of camping, Mom and I couldn’t be any readier for bed, a fresh cup of coffee, and some home cooking.

We pulled into my Uncle Scott and Aunt Val’s driveway just outside of  Edmonton to find a fridge full of beer, food on the table, and chairs on their back deck just asking us to take a seat and relax. When my Aunt returned from work, she took us to her community garden down the road so Mom and I could ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ over the flowers and abundance of vegetables.

The flowers were fantastic but the bugs were horrible, so after 10 mosquito bites in 10 minutes, we ran off to the car to polish off our case of beer, and before Mom and I settled into bed we smoked our last cigarettes out on the back porch. To this day we are still going strong!

The next morning Scott let Mom and I pick out books from his library. This is just a small pocket of said library:

I grabbed ‘the End of Elsewhere’ by Taras Grescoe- a great travel book that I failed to be able to put down once I opened the page. I love reading travel books, especially while I’m travelling around myself. A few quotes I liked from the book:

This travel sickness, which no amount of Dramamine can cure, is expensive and exhausting. I pay for the euphoric rush of movement with back pain, lost luggage and friends, and escalating feelings of disorientation and rootlessness.

The sole cause of mans unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his own room – Blaise Pascal

Another day of delicious food and beer in the evening, and my Mom’s cousin MJ that lives close by came through for a visit and we spent the evening watching the sun go down on Scott and Val’s great porch.

Wednesday morning came and it was time to say goodbye to the kitties, and see you soon to Scott and Val, who would be joining us in Calgary the next day, in preparation for my cousin Jen’s wedding.

This is a leg of the trip that Mom and I have been most looking forward to since we set out on this journey eight and a half months ago. As New Hampshire-ians, we have a great love for the outdoors, wildflowers, mountains, lakes, etc – and British Columbia’s motto is “Beautiful British Columbia” for a reason.

We decided to hit Nelson – Penticton – Kelowna – Revelstoke – Banff – Jasper, each one offering something different, but all with a gorgeous backdrop of mountains covered in glaciers, waterfronts, and cute little towns.

1) Nelson

Our first, and (unbeknownst to us at the time) favorite stop. We rolled into town late afternoon, found a campground right by downtown, and got the last spot available. I love it when things like this happen – little good things to brighten your spirits. We set our tent up and headed into town, which for Nelson consisted of two, maybe three main streets adorned with cafe’s, mountain gear stores, bakeries, bookstores, and restaurants. I passed a guy strumming his guitar on the street with a tip hat out, but wondered to myself how he’d make any money with such light foot traffic. We found a delicious little Greek restaurant and enjoyed some local Nelson beers. After dinner we took a walk down to the lake for a stroll before heading back to our campground, and were asleep by midnight, easing into our new go to bed with the sun – wake up with the sun schedule that we’d have to get used to for the next week and a half…

Rise and shine and we’re off to a windy windy windy 20-km road that took over an hour to climb, to get to our destination – Kokanee Glacier Park. Mom and I had our intro to hiking a few days prior at Grand Teton National Park with hundreds of other tourists – now it was time to exert our strength uphill to beautiful meadows of wildflowers, killer views of glaciers and lakes with ice caps floating at the top.

After 4.5 km up we made it to the destination, Kokanee Lake.

I got a frightening little surprise when I went to use the bathroom up top and this guy jumped out from behind the toilet…

We made the trek down and after our night 2 of camping we packed up and headed Osyoos for lunch and a dip in the beach, before heading to

2) Penticton

Penticton and Nelson are polar opposites – while Nelson is a cute, quiet little town, Penticton is huge, bustling, and crowded. We barely got a space in at the 400 spot campground (which is one of many campgrounds in town). No matter. We had a dinner of PB&J’s, card games, and a sunset on the beach, which no amount of crowds can ruin. We got a good night sleep and headed to the Skaha Bluffs for some hiking in hot, dry land…

It was a great hike – lots of climbing over rocks, steep grades, guessing of where the trail leads… and quite a workout. After our hike we sprawled out on the beach, taking to our books and to the water frequently. Once we decided we’d soaked up enough sun, we jumped in the car and headed to a pub nearby to watch the Olympics closing ceremonies while eating salmon terryaki burgers and drinking Kokanee Lake beer. We watched a beautiful sunset, and with the sunrise in the morning, headed to

3) Kelowna

A town bigger than Nelson but smaller than Penticton – looking good. We got a fabulous campground right on the beach, and after enjoying the beautiful rays for awhile we went into town to enjoy some ribs at a Memphis BBQ spot, and as we were sipping our lattes by the beach, watching the sunset,

A huge parade of people came by, danced the YMCA, handed us flags, and we joined the LGBTA parade thru downtown.

We left with our flags as souvenirs, and the next morning were off to

4) Revelstoke

A small town with what seemed like next to nothing going on – but who doesn’t like a little break from the action? We got a nice campground (only downside is trains drive by almost every half hour, horns blaring, stirring you awake in the middle of the night – but hey – every place has it’s downside) and headed to town for some food and to enjoy the free music they have every night of the summer.

As we were about to head back to the campsite, the sky turned into a painting-like thing. Totally gorgeous.

After oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing it was back to the campsite, for card games and conversations with our neighbors, who were in the middle of a huge climbing and cycling trip around BC. Made our little hikes look like walks in the park…

Rise and shine, a beautiful day, and we’re off to Mt. Revelstoke to see what all the fuss is about. I think our hike was 14 km in total – absolutely gorgeous. Here are some shots I got.

Yay for pretty things!

After our big hike we treated ourselves to an even bigger dinner – a shrimp po’ boy with mounds of guacamole and other tasty things. And more beer. All good things. From Revelstoke, we continued on to

5) Banff

Which is an absolutely must-see for anyone passing through the BC/Alberta area. (We are now in Alberta, so I am sortof cheating by calling this post ‘the interior of BC’ – but who’s paying me for this blog anyway?) My Mom worked in Banff a few summers when she was a teeanger – so as she wistfully strolled down Nostalgia lane I took to making some money and admiring the gorgeous city.

And we had a run in with some cute animals.

Our campground had two great things: a fabulous view of the stars and a lake to swim in.



Very cool place – hiking, stargazing, beaching if you want, but also hoards of shops and restaurants and nightlife if that tickles your fancy. A+.

6) Jasper

Last but certainly not least is Jasper, located North of Banff. We took a recommendation from a waiter in Banff to do Parkers Ridge en route to our next destination, which was a great idea…

A gorgeous hike up to a fantastic view of glaciers…


We arrived in Jasper and to our dismay all the campgrounds were full.. however we were able to get a spot in overflow camping, where we pitched our tent in the middle of a large field and had a great view of the stars…

The next morning we packed the tent up and luckily got a site at a campground nearby, which was a bit nicer than camping in a field with a pit toilet…

Once the tent was set up Mom dropped me off at the Valley of the Five Lakes so I could go for a little hike while she went off to check out the waterfalls…

Mom and I, if you haven’t noticed, quite like to treat ourselves to a brew once we’re done with a day about town, so we went to Jasper Brewery to try some local beers and have some salmon before heading in for the night.

And with that, we wrap up our lovely hiking/camping wanderings. The next morning, Mom and I awoke at 8am to a car honking its horn, driving around the campground. I grumpily turned over and cursed the driver under my breath, as Mom did the same. Come to find out: a black bear had been rummaging around OUR campsite, sniffing at Mom’s and my tent just as the car pulled up, so they honked to scare the bear away! Close encounter. Freaky. After 11 nights of camping and a week without a shower, Mom and I were more than excited to head to my Aunt and Uncle’s spot for a little R&R. That’s next time.

Beds/Campsites/Couches I’ve slept on: 86
States I’ve been in: 38
Countries I’ve been in: 3