Return to Vancouver - with a few stops on the way

Trip Start Oct 08, 2005
Trip End Oct 06, 2006

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Monday, July 10, 2006

So I left Jasper after just one more night there, I didn't want to get tricked into walking for 7 hours again, and headed back down the Icefields Parkway to Banff. This time it was just a one day journey, and we only stopped at one place - Parker Ridge, where we did a huge hike to the top of a ridge for an awesome view of the Saskatchewan Glacier. Photos to follow. In Banff I was supposed to go white water rafting, but because of the holiday weekend, everything was booked up, so no go on that, so I had a relaxing day instead. Relaxing meaning I walked for 5 hours. Bloody mosquitos are so bad there though, everyone I met was just covered in bites (I have 20, nice).

From Banff I went to Revelstoke for one night, its about half way between Banff and Vancouver. 15,000 people live in Revelstoke, god knows where they all were though - it was like the Marie Celeste when we arrived. Apparently its really good in winter though, one of the biggest centres for mountain activities in that area. Nice town but I think I would poke my own eyes out with boredom if I lived there.

Kelowna was a different matter. I had had to make the difficult decision to abandon my plans to go to the Calgary Stampede, I had just left it too late to get accommodation for the weekend (apparently it gets booked up months in advance), so I was pleased to learn that Wakefest was happening in Kelowna, a city on the banks of the Okanagan Lake in the wine-growing region of Canada. Wakefest is a national wakeboarding competition (wakeboarding if you don't know is a combination of water-skiing, surfing and snowboarding - you get towed along by a boat whilst standing on a board and you have to do tricks and stuff on the wake of the boat), but the sports side of it is incidental really - the main reason that people go is to look at each other. It had everything you need for a summer festival - sport, hot sun and cloudless skies, water, expensive boats, overpriced flat beer, hot men with no tops on in low cut boardies that show their pants (I had sunglasses on so no-one could see me staring, it was harder to disguise my open jaw and trailing tongue), skinny big-haired bints in shorts so small I would barely get one leg in, and the ubiquitous bikini contest (won by a lovely girl called Nicole who entered the competition "to score chicks" - you don't hear that on Miss World often do you?). In the evening, I got to see a couple of bands play - Sam Roberts and Metric. I'd never heard of them but apparently they are both big in Canada, and both pretty good actually. After the festival finished everyone poured into town to one of Kelowna's many clubs and bars. I didn't - the number of underage drinkers was making me feel old. But it was a fun weekend, and Kelowna is a really nice place - perfect setting on the lake, good weather and a ton of wineries nearby so cheap wine.

And today I headed back to Vancouver, and I did a skydive!!! Finally!!! There is a centre for it just outside Vc in a town called Abbotsford, I got there a little worried about the weather cos the clouds had come in, but it was all good to go. I was so excited, and wasn't disappointed! I got strapped to my instructor, Shane, flew up to 9000 feet, and dropped out of the plane! It was unbelievable! Terrifying at first, but not actually as bad as the bungy that I did. I freefalled for about 10 seconds I think, then the parachute opened, and I got about a 4 minute steady drop down to the ground and time to take in the amazing scenery all around me - I could see Vancouver Island and the mountains on the US border, it was so beautiful. Shane then did some tricks with me, spinning me round and making me feel sick, but it was really good. Looking back now I think the only really scary bit is sitting on the side of a plane waiting to fall out, but even that didn't take that long as he just went, with me attached, not like the bungy where I had to actually make a decision to go myself. When I got down I wanted to do it all again straight away, but I definitely think its a hobby I won't be taking up when I get home, I've already picked up interests in too many expensive pastimes this trip! I've got a DVD so can't wait to see that when I get home!

Now I'm off to the US - Seattle and Chicago - for a week and a bit.
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