Part 1: The Rockies & Calgary, Alberta here
Do you know where Peachland is?
Yeah, me neither.
But, as I found out, a remote coworker lives there.
“You’re gonna come visit, right?” she asked during one of our meetings.
“Where are you?”
“Well, I was planning on driving from Calgary to Vancouver.”
“Yeah, it’s on the way.”
I look it up. “Word. Guess I have another stop. Sweet.”
I popped by Revelstoke as per a tour guide’s recommendation. I just had a quick lunch at a bar. I didn’t really explore much as I was more concerned about arriving at my friend’s before dark though it was a cute little quaint town.
I then went on my merry, beautiful way.
The drive was pretty epic.
I passed by the town, got some gas, and continued on to her home… which was situated on a mountain… damn.
We had plenty chats about work, her story, why they moved out, etc. They’re actually from Ontario. They decided to move out here for reasons I visited. I was meeting a lot of people who were originally from Ontario and Quebec.
This place is paradise to me but I knew that it wasn’t perfect. Nothing ever is. I was having a blast but I only just skimmed through the social aspect of it. That’s when it usually gets… complicated.
Apparently right around the time Floyd happened and people were protesting and such, a brown family’s home was vandalized complete with broken windows, graffiti, ruined furniture etc. The writings were of the hate crime nature towards visible minorities.
They’re an interracial couple (she’s Indian, he’s caucasian) so that comes with certain struggles in itself (here’s a great doc on the unique realities of belonging in a mixed-race/interracial family)
*Please note that just because I’m talking about this it doesn’t mean that I’m demeaning the equally harmful effects of reverse racism. I’m just telling you about our reality.
Having said all that, it doesn’t stop them from enjoying life there nor did it stop me from loving the mountains. I mean we ate cheese, crackers, veggies, and she prepared an Indian dish that we consumed with red wine… so… whatever.
They grow their own weed… BC buds. It’s so much work though and you have to wait a couple months before you can harvest it. I guess, much like everything else, you just need to get started, keep the ball rolling, and get the hang of it. You need a good amount of space and artificial lights and such.
I can’t even keep a plant alive for 2 weeks lol… uh, maybe at some point when I care enough to do this. I personally prefer edibles so if I grow my own, I have to go through a whole process.
To me, it’s one of those art & science things that we can integrate into our lifestyle like it’s not just a passive endeavour as you have to be mindful, proactive, and nurturing.
All my stuff was just on my luggage the entire time since I was just there for two nights.
The next day, I woke up around 5:30, brushed my teeth, headed back to bed (too early), and later realized that I didn’t close my door shut.
They have a big German Shepherd, which I had seen from cameos during some of our meetings. I’m generally scared of big dogs (got bit when I was 8) and would require some time (about an hour) to be comfortable around them. Once I did, “Oh dude you’re adorable!”
He got in my room and went on top of me and the sheets. I had to wrestle my way out. My face was covered with drool, “Oh dude you’re annoying.”
But I loved him 😊
“Good morning! Were you in the living room the entire time?” I asked her. I woke up to a woman screaming on television so I thought she fell asleep on the couch.
“No. I was weirded out too. It just turned on by itself.” (creeeeppy)
We ate breakfast then I joined the daily meeting to say hi to our team. I then went off. I was meeting up with another friend (I’ll call her Rachel) who was staying at Penticton, at the time, which was about half an hour away from Peachland.
We actually met in Thailand last year at the hostel in Phuket. Funny enough I had all these long convos with random people there but Rachel and I only very briefly interacted yet she was the one I had the most chemistry with.
I met her the night before I went on the liveaboard. I needed to replace my SIM card and make a phone call for some reason (I forget what) and I didn’t have the ejector tool. I asked everyone in the hostel – from the receptionist to everybody I came across in the lounge area.
“I have something that you can use,” Rachel said. “It’s not the thing though but it’s like a hairpin. It should do. Let me get it from my room.”
She came back with the actual tool, “I didn’t realize I actually had it!”
“Sweet! Thanks!” I replied.
We hung out at the lounge for a bit. As it turns out, she’s from Toronto too (well, one of the suburbs surrounding the city). She was working in China as an English teacher and couldn’t go back because of Covid so she just took the vacation. After the liveaboard, I went back for one more night before Cambodia. I bumped into her and we talked about diving things. Once we were both back in Toronto, we talked about hanging out “once all this Covid kerfuffle is over”… but it’s still not over so we didn’t get a chance to hang in Toronto. But she was posting her travels on social media and when I found out she was out west, I hit her up right away.
“I’m in Penticton. Let’s aim for 3 at Neighbourhood” she said.
“Alright, cool. It’s about half-hour from my friend’s. Any trail recommendations in your area?” I asked.
She recommended a trail that I intended to do that day. My intention was to do two trails but that didn’t pan out.
Pincushion Trail (Hiking)
You have to walk a bit to get to the actual trail from the parking lot and I ended up going to another side of the mountain that wasn’t part of the path. Phone signal was spotty so the dot of where I’m supposed to be just kept jumping around.
This section was snowed in and there was steep part I had to walk sideways and slide from… that I had to climb back up to to get out.
I walked around for probably about another hour before I finally found the trail.
Out in Alberta when I told people that I like hiking they kept referring me to B.C. “Hiking is more interesting in BC.”
“Why what’s the difference?”
“The terrains are more interesting.”
“There’s just more variety.”
I found out what they meant via a trail that I loved in Vancouver but I got a taste of it here.
Most of the challenges were icy paths right by steep ledges. There was a particular one that I could’ve really used either walking sticks or knee pads for. It was right beside a huge rock, which had some snow, and the portion of the path itself was covered with black ice right by a ledge that was at least a 15 metre/50ft drop. I crawled on the rock, which was a struggle. On the descent, I crawled over the rock and slid down.
I didn’t actually finish this trail. I kept getting lost and by the time I was supposedly about half an hour near the summit, it was already 1:30 and I still had to descend. I was meeting my friend at 3 so I didn’t have time for the second trail either.
Penticton (Chill Out)
Rachel and I met up at Neighbourhood Brewery where we bumped into a server who she went to high school with, in Toronto (what are the chances?)
We caught up about each other’s lives and raved about the trails out there. We were both in awe.
We also talked about the physical realities of hiking and how exhausting it could be. She used to do gymnastics albeit having asthma though she doesn’t need her inhaler anymore. Apparently, she took out something from her diet and that made a difference. I told her about my difficulty breathing with nonstop ascends and how I used to have asthma as well.
“Are you wheezing? And when you breathe, it doesn’t feel like a full breath?” she asked.
“Yeah. That’s what’s been happening here.” I replied.
“You’re wheezing? And they’re half breaths?”
“Girl, that’s asthma!”
I was diagnosed when I was around 10 or so but I only really needed the inhaler for like a year and then a few months in my mid-teens. I thought my difficulty in breathing was just me being out of shape as I haven’t used an inhaler in over 20 years. But when she said told me about the signs, memories started jogging through my head.
I’ve essentially been having asthma attacks for the last two years: according to my airways, non-stop steep ascents are equivalent to a session of Krav Maga.
After the brewery, we headed over to a coffee shop and chatted in the car. She asked me for advice on something personal because we exchanged experiences and I’m like… I said something along the lines of… I can’t really give advice. I mean, what will apply to me might not apply to her because we’re different people and we have different chemistries with people we interact with because we’re wired differently.
Unless we’re involved in a situation where we’re both aware of the process and we’ve been entangled in it, then yes, I may be able to give sound advice that you may directly put into practice. But other than that, I usually give out new angles of looking at it or metaphors or concepts that you can apply, independently, especially with personal matters. We’re all traveling our own respective paths though ideas taken from an entirely different situation can be successfully utilized to another with modifications… like metaphors.
In this case, I ended up giving her something kinda cheesy and really vague that I actually believe in…
“Follow your heart.”
I dropped her off where she was staying. She and her bf had been hopping around small towns in BC, both working remotely. They stayed in a town for about a month to let it simmer in type thing.
“I can’t believe it’s been a year since we met! I can’t believe we haven’t seen each other since then! I can’t believe you’re leaving now.”
It was a bittersweet goodbye. Meeting someone randomly, even in my own city, that I jive with right away with no difficulties with the communication lines is very rare for me.
If you’re reading this: I hope to see you again soon, perhaps, in another part of the world or maybe around the same area, at different points in our lives. I’m really grateful to have you as part of my life journey 🤗
Anyway, I drove back to Peachland. People there drive fast. There was no snow on the road and it wasn’t snowing or anything so I could’ve gotten away with it too. But it got dark and the roads are winding by steep ledges and I’m not familiar with the area so I decided to play it safe.
Gladstone Trail (Hiking)
The drive to Vancouver from Peachland is about 4-5 hours. My colleague mentioned that it was 3ish lol but that’s because they drive crazy fast and I couldn’t do that with my puny car. In any case, I had time to do one trail before I drive down. I just couldn’t get enough of the hiking.
I was pretty disappointed at the onset of this trail. I thought it was ugly. The frozen lake was pretty but it was right beside a construction site and everything around it was just leafless trees, mud, dry plants and a whole lotta blech.
I had second thoughts on this one and was looking at other trails before I continued… but then I saw a doe roll down playfully and took it as a sign. “OK cool. If she’s having fun, maybe I’ll check it out.”
I actually ended up liking this better than Pincushion. The trail, to me, was more interesting.
Thanks for the tip, Doe.
There were more steep edges with iced trails lols. There was one point where there was a turn on the trail and the edge was all rocks. I saw where the trail continued and looked around, “That can’t be the connection. Oh man wtf?!” It was a bunch of big rocks on an edge and it was all iced so I had to crawl up. On my way down, I crawled backward. The bits where you can “walk” were so small that I found it impossible to find a good balance when your feet are pointing down… and it would’ve been a steep fall… and I was alone… and there was no phone signal… hmm… maybe don’t do this, kids… I may have been a little too excited for my own good.
Hiking alone with my music is so refreshing to me… but I think I should get some training before I make it a regular thing. I hike alone out here in Ontario but it’s essentially just walking, really. It’s not quite as dynamic.
I was thinking of taking a couple of tokes, get a nice buzz, chill, sober up for the descent but it was way too cold to stay idle for longer than 5 minutes.
Imagine being stoned and tripping out on this?
…someday… I’ll probably bring my vaporizer too. It’ll be part of my equipment list.
Next up – Part 3: Vancouver