Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Rockies Diary, Week 1: The Journey Begins

On March 15, I booked my solo flight to Canmore, Alberta!  It was now official.  I was to be flying out of Toronto on April 26 and landing in Calgary that same day.

Last year, I was working full-time at a call centre doing tech support, all whilst studying full-time.  Everything was done from my desk at home in my really small room.  It was fine for a while and I managed to make good money, but after 5 months, I was burnt out.  I quit my wfh job and concentrated - rather failed at concentrating - on my school work.  Man, it is safe to say that last semester was the worst semester for nearly everyone I know.  We'd do all our studying at home because there was no real reason to go to campus.  Eventually, the days lumped into weeks, and what felt like years, ended up seeming like a blip in the space-time continuum.  After all was said and done, we barely remember the last year of school.

While this was happening, I desperately wanted to find a job for the summer that did not involve being at home.  I had heard about tree planting being a labour intensive job, but one that offered accommodation and a new place to travel to.  It sounded promising.  But, broadening my search into other jobs that offered staff accommodation lead me to the job that I currently have in Canmore.

On March 7, I accepted a supervisor position at a local ice cream shop right in the heart of downtown Canmore, and which offered a place to live right above the shop.  My goal for the summer was to make it memorable.  When I think about the most memorable summers I've had, I always reflect on the time I spend working at The Ex.  It was long hours, but a pure joy to be working inside a fair and getting to meet new people.  In accepting this job, I was hoping that it would push me outside of my comfort zone, introduce me to new people, and explore a part of Canada that I have never seen before... The Canadian Rockies.  As always, I started packing a month in advance.

April 26, 2021 - May 2, 2021

This was my first time flying solo - the first hurdle I had to mentally take to get out of my comfort zone.  The flying itself was not terrifying.  It was leading up to the flight that made me anxious.  I had no idea what to do when I got the the airport - had no clue where to go and what the procedures were (especially what with Covid).  To my relief, everything went as smooth and fast as it could have without the crowds of people and long lines.  Though surprisingly, the plane was nearly full.

Once landed in Calgary, I took a very spacious, very expensive, taxi cab to Canmore, which was about an hour away.  The drive was pleasant, albeit hot under the blazing sun.  Looking out the window, I realized that the landscape in Alberta is fairly similar to that of Ontario.  It was mostly flat farm land and as we got closer to Canmore, there were more coniferous trees on each side of the road.  Then came the mountains.  I have never seen mountains so towering, covered in snow, and their ridges cascading all the way down.

Upon my arrival in Canmore, I was greeted by Tory - one of the shop owners - who showed me up to the second floor apartment I'll be staying for the next four months.  To my delight, it was super spacious, with an incredibly tall ceiling and plenty of skylight.

Thankfully, I had three days to settle in before my first shift on April 29.  I accustomed myself to the essential grocery stores and... the birds!  It never crossed my mind that Canmore would have different birds - mostly crows and this other bird that I've already forgotten the name of (pictured below).  Besides that, everything I need is within a five minute walking distance.  Everything else is ten minutes.

edit: the bird is called a black-billed magpie!
Of course, I also explored the different trails in the area.  The first hike I did was two and a half hours down the Bow River (pictured below).  It still amazes me how light blue and turquoise the water is!
But wait, there's more!  The day before I started work, I managed to buy a bike off of Facebook Marketplace.  It has already proven its worth because I couldn't fathom going for a walk or run before or after work - my feet kill.  This bike has allowed me the privilege of going for a ride around town for a couple hours before work when the weather is pleasantly cool and misty.  That's exactly what I did on the last day of the week.  
Policeman's Creek (pictured below)

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