Hope things in your lives are wonderful! I would love to hear from all of you, so update me with your happenings!!
Calgary Folk Festival --> Ok, so my buddy Rach came and met me in Calgary and we ventured off to the Calgary Folk Festival for a couple of days! It was such a fantastic music festival. During the day time they created collaborations of 3-4 different bands on stage where they all were up there together jamming away, completely improvising. I LOVED these sets... we saw a few fantastic acts including the Cat Emprire, an Israeli band and an African band, all on stage together busting out some serious grooves. The Swell Season were also phenomenal, such powerful performers & I particuarly loved when Glen Hansard (lead singer) told the crowd to shutup & enjoy the music! The stand out act of the entire festival was hands down Michael Franti. Any of you who truly know me will understand that I LOVE Franti. It goes to show as I bought 2 of his band t-shirts and Rach and I managed to work our way right to the front row which was well worth the elbows
and evil glares we recieved. The band played loads of amazing new songs & Franti was up there loving life, with his bare feet, free spirit & mindless dancing. They seemed to be all about public involvement with their music aswell. Franti kept dragging young kids up on stage to dance with him;a guy jumped on stage with his girlfriend and proposed to her; and he got right into the middle of the crowd and played a couple of songs from there. The best & most impressive of all however, was when Franti grabbed Rach and dragged her up on stage, they gave her one of their electric guitars (just didn't turn it on) and she busted out with Franti and Spearhead for an entire song! She completely rocked out, even pulled out some kicks and rock n roll moves and people after the show and even the next day were making comments like " you were the chick on stage!" or "were you really playing the guitar?". Haha. It was so AWESOME. Day 2 was another great day of music and sunshine & some of our other buddies Dave, John, Allison & Eddie all joined us aswell.
Hiking --> After the folk fest, a few of us (Dave, Rach, Eddie, Erika & myself) headed towards Banff way to get a few days hiking in! We stopped in at Ben's (Kiwi guy) place in Canmore which proved so worth while as he knows the area well and could lead us in the right direction, provide us with park passes & some gear which we didn't have. We decided to do a day hike up Yamnuska (2200m), which is the first real mountain in the Rockies as you come west from Calgary. It was a pretty aweosme climb...like any mountain, mostly straight up with a steep scrambling section towards the top. There was a lovely spot at the top to perch for a while and enjoy the views and some lunch! I think all up it ended up being about a 5-6 hr hike, round trip. Rach & Eddie had both never climbed a mountain before so it was a good & challenging first hike that's for sure.
The next day Rach, Erika & myself headed off on a 2 day hike on our own...ready to fight off the bears and cram the 3 of us in my
2 man tent (it might be 2 man tent but it proved to be a squishy 3 woman tent). We drove 30 mins out of Banff, into British Columbia, to a place called Paint Pots to start our trek. The first day was nice and gradual, nothing too hectic but by the time we made it to our camp we had punched out around 16 km or so. After we set up camp, we went on a stroll up to Helmet Ck Falls which was only 1 km away. So beautiful! The falls pounded down from 300 metres above us! After our dinner feast of tuna/bean sandwiches & tim-tams, we had to put all our food and packs into bear lockers to make sure they stayed well and truly away from us when we slept. It's weird and kind of terrifying to have to be so bear-aware!
Day 2 was a long but absolutely rewarding day. We hiked through so many different environments and had so many amazing views- from forests to alpine meadows with lush flowers, to summer snow and glaciers to huge mountains, rockwalls & roaring glacial rivers! We certainly took our time to play in the snow,
frolick in the meadows and try and swat away all the bloody mosquitos! I've never seen so many! We trudged a solid 25km or so that day and by the end of it, we were beat. Nothing that an epic portion of nachos, some cider and a roof top patio can't fix... as well as some wine, a campfire & banana boats later on that night! Such a fantastic hike all around!
Settling in banff --> Rach & Erika headed off back to Edmonton, I checked in to the HI backpackers to try & get some free accommodation. They offer free board in exchange for 4 hours of volunteer work (housekeeping or washing dishes) which ended up being a pretty sweet deal. I did this for 4 days while I handed out my resume and started looking for a job. My good friend Emily came down for 3 days to visit at this time which was great fun! We had a big night doing karake (bad jagermeister!), got to know some people at the hostel, enjoyed a delicious vegetarian feast at Nourish Cafe, did a 3 hour hike up C- Level Cirque, & became the biggest groupies ever for
an 11 piece funk band. We ended up joining the band back to their hotel after the gig and partying with them till 5 in the morning! What a great night that was!
I'm now employed. Working at the Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets in their water park. I'm a waterslide attendant. It's not to bad at all.. very easy & straight forward work. I guess it's very similar to the pool lifeguarding work I did at home except that I don't have the responsibility of saving lives and I get paid about half as much. They pay really poorly in Canada so it doesn't really bother me too much. I have moved into an apartment which is part of staff accommodation so it's pretty cheap. I'm meeting lots of cool people that I work with & around town so I'm looking forward to getting settled here for a while. I have to admit, after 3 months of living out of my backpack it's a great feeling to be able to hang up my clothes!! I'm trying to get involved with some community things to put myself out there a little more - next weekend i'm competing in the
Banff Dragon Boating Festival which is pretty random. One of the teams needed another girl so I thought I'd step up even though I have no idea how to do it! I'm also going to be doing some volunteer work with a organisation called Banff Life which basically offers some awesome activities around town & there are loads of free stuff and perks if you volunteer so that should be pretty sweet!!
Anyway, I have to make my way to the waterslide right now so I better jet. Keep on living the dream people & if any of you need a holiday...come visit & see this wonderful country!
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