22.01.2006 -10 °C
Hello peeps! Sorry for the lack of blog updates but life here is just too much fun and not enough time/will power to spend my time sat at a computer. Ho hum, here's an update of my last couple of weeks...
My first home on arrival in Golden on 5th January was the Kicking Horse River Lodge, what a place!
Built in summer 2005, this hostel surpasses any I have ever stayed in. The entire building is constructed of prime BC logs, still has the smell of the wood filling the corridors. For the eco lovers this has to be the most energy efficient building I've ever seen featuring a Geo Thermal heating system which draws warm air from the earth and circulates around the building. It doesn't work too great as apparently the heated air gets colder when it gets colder outside - go figure. Absolutely spoilt with a massive 50 inch ish HDTV downstairs, unbelievably comfy leather couches to ease the day's pain from boarding. Very friendly bunch of staff (Heidi - love you!) and they made us very welcome, they loved our british charm so much they sponsored us (well, gave us free caps) and asked us for a pic of the boyz (Dave, Stu & Andy) to put on their website, ha ha. Had some wicked times here and many a night stumbled back from the pub fueled on Rye, this photo was from one of these classy occasions, sporting our KHRL caps:
I met some great people staying here, notably my two lovely new friends who I'll be spending the winter with - Bridget a bubbly Aussie chick with a love for the outdoors and incessant giggling, and Megs (Megan) from Calgary whose seen more of the world than most people I know at the sprightly age of 19 and snowboarding skills the put us all to shame.
Bridget (right) & Megs (left) @ KHRL:
I've now moved on to more (semi) permanent digs at the Golden Creekside Retreat - another gem of a place that we were really lucky to find. The place is targetted at more wealthy clientele, but as the owners are selling up and moving out to New Zealand in the spring, they were happy to have us move in for an extended stay at a knock down price - everybody's happy! The owners (Garcy & Kurt) are such lovely people and have really made us feel at home. Garcy is probably the happiest person I've ever met and is continually bringing joy into our lives with freshly baked cakes delivered to the cabin, and sweet notes spattered with smilies :o)
This is our home for the next few weeks (atleast) - yes, that's 4 of us in a one bed cabin, very cosy indeed!
The cabin is located out in the wilds, about 4km from town on a road leading up into the mountains. It's completely isolated from the rest of Golden (hence the 'retreat' in the name) and you really feel humble to the mountains and wilderness around you. The guestbook in the cabin tells tales of isolation, peace & tranquility, and people gathering thoughts and clearing your mind - I can feel the same liberation overwhelming me too. (Don't worry, I haven't started chanting or anything.)
The road leading to the cabin follows the canyon from the town up into the mountains and commands amazing views down the valley.
It's a bit of a chore to get to and from town and to the ski hill, but compared to walking down Battersea Rise in stinky Clapham Junction, London battling against cars, buses and toxic fumes it's not a chore at all.
There's a place where you can venture from the road and peer down into the abyss. On one of my braver moments I ventured to the edge of the platform, well actually managed to crawl on hands and knees within 2 feet of the edge and take this shot (it must be 60m vertical drop, yowsers):
We're lucky too that hitchhiking is common place in Golden and not really a problem to catch a lift. It's a great way of meeting people too and catching up on the latest town gossip - made some great friends that I see daily at the ski hill. I wouldn't dream of doing it in England but it's quite safe really as 99% head to the ski hill - life is simple here to say the least!
As we are so isolated, it's common to encounter the local wildlife (not just the local chainsaw wielding hill-billies). Very common to see white-tailed deer, and today I had a stand-off with a rather menacing looking squirrel. Probably more dangerous is a cougar (mountain lion) that patrols around the cabin at night, the creek it seems is it's favourite footpath to where ever it goes to hunt. These things are big enough to eat up a small child, Bridget who is not much taller than a toddler could be in trouble. One morning we found footprints 3 feet from our front door, scary stuff - this pic is of the footprint (apologies for poor quality):
If I don't get eaten in the meantime, I'll fill you in on some of our antics and the delights of Kicking Horse mountain soon. Bye for now.