Friday, 6 September 2013

WHY TRAVEL OUT OF SEASON?

Summer tourist destinations, such as Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies, tend to be crowded during warmer months. That's why I chose to visit Banff and Jasper in September of 1988. Even better for my sanity, I did it alone.

Having discovered a bus route going from Banff to Jasper, I paid my fair and found a window seat. As I looked out at the scenery, I felt awestruck at the height of the mountains next to the road. Some cliffs towered over the highway like skyscrapers.

Another fascinating sight greeted us as we reached Jasper. A deer stood grazing by the road. The driver turned the bus around and passed by her again so we could get a closer look. Unfortunately, I didn't get my camera out fast enough to photograph that doe.

I chose to stay in a hotel room for that part of my trip. To my surprise, the air conditioner sat in the window. It was off but the room still felt freezing cold. I went down to the front desk to complain to the manager. A middle-aged man, all red-faced and flustered, assured me that the appliance would be removed from the window as soon as possible. Jasper had experienced a heat wave before I arrived, consequently the air conditioners had been installed but not yet removed.

I managed to sleep in spite of the chill and woke the next morning ready to explore the park. After a hearty breakfast at the hotel's restaurant, I spent my first full day exploring the town and finding out which attractions were still open. I also bought a few souvenirs.

Hearing that the gondola on Whistler Mountain was still running, I rode it to the top the next day. Unlike Sulphur Mountain, I noticed no wildlife at the terminal. But I did see something else that fascinated me. Down in the valley, clouds floated between the peaks. I couldn't resist taking photos of that. After talking to a ham operator riding in his car near the town of Edson on my hand-held radio, I rode the gondola back down.

Reality cought up with me as I realized I was running low on cash. I pondered whether to stay another day in Jasper without buying more souvenirs or leaving a day sooner with extra trinkets. I chose the latter and received my refund from the hotel. Then I bought my bus ticket and a few more post cards.

When I arrived home, I felt surprised at how chilly the house had become. I turned the furnace on and unpacked my suitcase as the house warmed.

Among the factors I enjoyed about my vacation were the freedom to change my mind as well as spend my money how I wished. Nobody objected to what I bought or what I ate. I walked where I wanted to and I didn't have to keep with a group. It didn't matter to somebody else when I gave thanks to God for my food either. Such freedom made the trip even more pleasurable.

I've often mentioned how I prefered to be alone in the pages of my three memoirs. I particularly wrote of it in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers stock both the e-book and paperback versions.

You can also see what I'm up to, or down to, these days at my RebelMouse page.