I love hitchhiking. It’s awesome to head out to the highway, stick your thumb out and let the sun sink in while most people drive by ignoring you completely, others raise their shoulders, some girls honk at you; and after a little while somebody stops.
– Hi how’s it going?
– Good. Hop in!
– Where are you going?
– Well we can drop you off in Lake Louise.. but you’ll have to sit with the dog
– Hrmm. I hear that part of the highway is closed, can you drop us off at Castle Junction?
So we hop in, throw our bags in the back; the dog sits on me as I pet him with a little too much passion; my weekend hadn’t been a success..
This is how an adventure starts, how you will meet INTERESTING people who are happy to help you out! I sometimes offer money for gas, when the distances are long. We sit along listening to music, but mostly discuss about the area, the mountains, the hikes, the ski routes, what brought you here? What do you do for work? I am a curious being, always looking to learn new things, absorbing knowledge like a sponge absorbs water.
Barb, our second lift on the way back from Banff, operates the Assiniboine Lodge with her husband & children. Her husband is Swiss, he’s a moutain guide out here. They do tele-touring, which means they go out in the back-country and ski up the hill using skins and down (w/o skins). Back in the days they were made out of Seal skin, the hair grows out of the skin in a particular direction, if that direction faces downslope it’ll hold you in position so you can bring the other leg up; giving you traction. You then take your skins off to go back the other direction.
Assiniboine Lodge was built in the early 1900’s by the Canadian Pacific (i think). Barb and her husband rent it year-long to; people come by helicopter or by trekking, they stay 2-3-4-5-6-7 days. There is a cook on location; it’s a nice log cabin, i think there are more than one.
The idea behind this adventure was to go meet women. Between guys you could say hunt women. I don’t hunt women to have sex with them, but to meet interesting women. I feel confortable around women, being hyper-sensitive and very close to my ‘feminin’ side. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of testosterone in me.
Diana, our lift from Golden to Banff, is the kind of women/person I like to meet. Direct, intelligent, interesting, active, passionnate, with some intrigue to her. In her late thirties from what I could gather, but she looks like a 28 year old. Slim, nice curves, quite charming. She lives in Golden too, but is on her way to the ‘Ghost Area’ in the rockies east of Canmore to guide Army Cadets into the backcountry for the summer. Nice job!! In the winter she is a chef in the lodges around golden, so we have that in common: we both love to cook. I have a feeling we’ll become really good friends; I respect the fact she is with somebody and have learned in recent years to put my sexual yearnings aside and concentrate on the goods of friendship.
We set up to sleep in the camping in Banff, on the lower side of Tunnel Mountain. There had been a bear attack the day before, the poor guy had to be heliported to calgary. He was in bad shape.
Bears usually stay away from humans. This is why we don’t see them around and they don’t know on your door to come for tea. But if you surprise a bear it is bound to attack back; as he will feel threatened by you. Therefore hickers are suggested to bring a bell along and ring it while hicking this way they hear you and stay far. This unlucky guy was riding his bike on trails 2-3 kilometers away from the campground and ran into one. The bear attacked and wouldn’t let go, they fought until the warden came in to tranqualize the bear. He was then shot.
Apparently bears go for your head, and this particular guy had taken his bike helmet off.. bad sign.
That didn’t stop us from sleeping “a la belle étoile”. No tent, no shelter. It was great that way, you put a nice fire and keep it going all night, it’ll keep the wildlife away..
In the evening we went to eat; ate Bison Burgers (they give you such a downer!!) at Rose & Crown. Then we played pool for hours; went to see a show which didn’t happen and ended up at the Pump & Tap. Nice place, i have so many memories from the bar, especially Sarah whom i spent some time with so long ago. It was relatively crowded, a good opportunity to go and talk to people. But we had smoked a joint earlier, and that makes me unsociable. Fortunately i didn’t take much, and within an hour I was up and talking to people. That is where I met Sherry. I ask her:
– How are you doing?
– Fuck off.
– What? Did you tell me to fuck off?
– Yes. Fuck off!
– You have to be the rudest girl I ever met!
– Stop talking to me!
– You know you could just tell me nicely: I don’t want to talk to you..
– Ok so I don’t want to talk to you. now FUCK OFF.
Wow, I was abashed. She must have been 19, not that good looking but I thought she’d be interesting to talk to.. couldn’t believe it. That put me off; for the entire evening… It’s like eating a really bad dish and you can’t get the taste out of your mouth; exactly the same feeling.
There was this other girl sitting close to me at the table, she was drop dead gorgeous. Not a girly girl, a natural girl. Incredible eyes, sweet face. I felt like asking all three of them to come play foosball with me but after being told to fuck off I was rather unsettled and maybe scared of how THEY would take me. She’d look at me, I’d look back. Never stared at each other for very long but I could tell she liked me. I wish I would have atleast tried to talk to her. She was talking to this guy and it was apparent they knew each other a bit and they definately seemed to like each other. A girl can like two guys, and i’d be up for a little competition.
When she left she looked back and stared at me for a good thirty seconds. She was gorgeous, incredible curves, she could have been a model; in fact she had more to offer than the models you see today. And she had that expression on her face which drove me crazy, expressing her full womenness, her sensuality. To me it meant: come, this is what I am. But I didn’t follow them; maybe I should have.
The thing is I am rather out of touch flirting with English chicks. Diana had warned us on the way there: we, frenchmen, are too direct. We are machos. I don’t feel like a macho, but apparently that is how we are seen. English folks, for example, don’t say anything directly, they pretend. You never know what they really feel, they might express that to themselves a year or two down the road. Hence if I go to a girl and tell her: I like you, they can’t take it; they don’t know how to react.
We ended up leaving the Pump & Tap and went to Hoodoo, the old ‘Outa Bounds’. Lotsa memories there too, but it sure has changed! It was full of preppies; mostly people from Calgary or Canmore. Hard to approach, a little pretentious. I dance the night away. Some girls would come dance ON me but behind my back; while others openly appreciated the energy I let off and fed on it but wouldn’t come close to me. I offered one a drink, she refused. You never get that in Quebec. I offered another a drink, she refused too.
So I don’t see women as pieces of meat, I just want to TALK, to DISCOVER THEM. If it leads to something else, good. If it doesn’t, JUST AS GOOD.
One girl kept looking at me, she was very pretty. Danced well, moved along nicely with the music. She had a look reminescent of Sandra Bullock, but nicer. Maybe in her late teens or ealy twenties. She liked me, I could tell. But probably thought I was drunk; I admit I was a little. No matter how drunk I am I can always get all my capacities back if I wish and act normal, talk like a straight person and people would never guess. I sneaked in to the group of friends she was with, danced with them. They looked a me wierdly for introducing myself like that, but hey, i don’t mind. Then they would split up, nd she’d be left there with me. She froze, on the spot. I kept dancing, but she didn’t move. I tried to have eye contact with her, she was affraid. Affraid enough to not move, and interested enough to stay put. Her friends would come back to dance with us, but she wouldn’t move. It was weird.
A feeling, a strong feeling of “don’t approach me” emanated from her. I respected that and hoped she would grow out of it. She did, a little. So I went up to her and told her: You have a lot of inner strength. Then asked: what’s your name? to which she answered ‘You should get another drink’. I thought she meant she wanted to have drinks with me. So I aimed for the bar, waiting for her. Then her friends came around and she went up to them. I went back to her and asked: don’t you want a drink? she answered ‘ I don’t drink.’ I asked ‘Whats your name?’, she didn’t answer. Then she said ‘I said get yourself a drink’. I told her it was water I was drinking (i must have had 7 glasses of water and maybe 6-7 shots of Yagermeister).
That was it. When they left I told her (this was a bit mean..) : ‘You should learn some manners!’ followed by ‘Goodnight’. I did so in a friendly tone. This is Sherry’s influence.. I still had the sour taste in my mouth.
After hours of dancing crazily, we decided to leave. Once outside I started shouting: “English chicks are too thight!”, “You should get laid more often you’d loosen up!”, and that kind of frustration was coming out of me. I’m not too proud of this, and again I wasn’t looking at GETTING LAID, I wanted to meet girls and DISCOVER THEM.
There were two girls right accross the street, whom must have heard me, wouldn’t know. I walk up to them to talk to them:
– How are you two?
– Good but I wish I had brought that doobie.
– My friend Dave right here can help you with that..
– He can help us right here right now?
Brooke, whom I had just met, walked up to Dave to ask if she could smoke with us. I had gotten to the point where I knew that Brooke had lived here for 5 years, she was a hair stylist and she liked this place. I always ask how can people survive here when all your friends leave after 6 months and you have to start all over again; she said she didn’t mind. She had nice blue eyes, but was a bit too girly for me.
We sat down and Dave sucked Brooke’s attention, so I got acquainted with Caja. She was nice, from what I go to know. I don’t smoke often, and quite honestly would have gone the entire night w/o a joint; that would have been fine by me. Caja (I hope I have her name right!!) told me she didn’t smoke much either. She was obviously a brilliant girl, a bit nerdy maybe, outgoing, fun. I started philosophing with her, talking about life, how we deal with the bad experiences vs. the good ones. How most people ‘write the bad experiences in stone and the good ones in sand; so that when the tide comes all the good ones are washed away and they are stuck with the bad ones’. And why people act like that. I had captured her attention, I felt the attraction, finally i had met a nice girl during the evening. The joint was consumed, Brooke tried to get my attention two or three times, saying I had nice blue eyes, and trying to include me in her convesation with Dave. A tease? Was she really interested? I hate english chicks for that, you NEVER KNOW.
Brooke then said they had to get going, to which Dave objected and I continued to talk to Caja, trying to ignore Brooke so we could keep talking; i liked Caja. Brooke insisted, Caja hesitated, got up, didn’t move, and looked at me indirectly. She hesitated for what seemed like a few minutes. She had given a few signs she wanted to be pleasing to me, she didn’t want to go, probably expected me to say something, invite her somehwere or offer to walk them home. Then that sour taste came back to my mouth, I gave up.
To which I have to tell you, I WISH I WOULDN’T GIVE UP SO EASILY. We had something going, I would have been happy just talking to her all night. HONESTLY. But I couldn’t ask of her to come back to the camping and sleep outside with us; people find that weird. I couldn’t say: oh, I’ll rent a hotel room later.. we’ll be fine. That would have been scary for her. I COULD have offered to walk them home, but .. but Dave can be quite insisting, I didn’t want to be put off again.
So all these thoughts crossed my mind in half a second, as I gave up. It was Dave’s first night sleeping outside with no tent, I couldn’t let him go back there alone. Maybe I should have, but.. that’s not me.
One thought that SHOULD have crosse my mind was to get Caja’s email address. She lives in Vancouver and I want to go there this summer, we could have continued our conversation then. That I wish I had done.
So we went back to the camping, meeting Diana (our first ride) at Aardvarks Pizza place. I was stoned, a bit drunk, and a little depressed. She put a light in my evening, I really think we’ll be good friends. With no flashlight (i knew the moon would come out eventually, it was a clear sky and I sleep outside quite often lately), we found our campground, I made a pyramid of wood, the smaller stuff underneath, the bigger logs above, and some newspaper inside. And with one match, we had a nice fire going.. then we talked a bit about english chicks and fell asleep.
The next day, we set out for breakfast. We ended up at Melissa’s restaurant eating ‘eggs benedict’ and a PITCHER of orange juice. Talked a bit, smiled at the waitresses, one almost dropped her tray when I glanced at her. funny. She was young and ok looking, but mostly young. Then we set out, with our backpacks to hike the upper side of Tunnel Mountain, it’s not a big hike but atleast we had to accomplish SOMETHING. I stopped to call my mom and wish her Happy Mother’s day. She wasn’t home, nobody was. So I sang ‘bonne fête maman!’ on to the answering machine; I talk to answering machines like I talk to humans; I know they’ll hear me eventually. Dave took a while, him mother was home. So I sat on the street corner, soaking in the sun. Just as Dave joined me, Diana showed up. Offering us a ride back home, at first I was tempted; tempted cause it would secure us a way home and mostly because I reallly think we’ll be good friends. Then I thought well if we head home to Golden we won’t do any hiking there, and then Dave agreed on that point. Diana offered to take our backpacks, which is quite a NICE thought, but hitchhiking w/o backpacks is hard, and ‘what if we get stranded’. In the end we both hugged Diana, and on her way she went. I hoped she wouldn’t miss our company during her drive back, to which she answered she would but she’d be ok; she had her iPod. Gotta love ipods!
We crossed the street to walk up to Tunnel Mountain. I want to leave our backpacks somewhere. I saw a house with a LOT of stuff all around it, I thought we could leave it there, the owners wouldn’t even realize it.. but then a nice girl was sitting on her front porch, in her pijamas eating a popsicle. I said:
– Hi, you guys look lost.
– Well we want to hike Tunnel Mountain, but we’d like to leave our backpacks somewhere.
– Why don’t you leave them right here? I’m here all day anyway.
– Sure, that’s very nice of you.
So we walk in, talk to her for a while. Brandy was her name, from Ontario near windsor, a voluptuous 21 year old in her pijamas (which wasn’t hiding much!). She was incredibly hospitable. She offered us bottled water for our way up. That thought didn’t even cross our minds!! Hung over we were.. The hike was fantastic, quite crowded. I took my shirt off to feel the breeze and I was sweating heavily. I’m one of the few lucky human beings who has practically no body odor, no matter how much I sweat i don’t smell. I only smell when I’m stressed.
We sunbathed on the top for a while, our white bodies need it! Then came back down; Dave bushwacker; he had boots. I wore sandals, so I followed the trail. Brandy showed us even more hospitality, complimented us indirectly; wow. Nice girl, but we had to leave, and both of us was too much to handle as she said:
– It’s hard to make a decision when there are too many good looking guys around..
So we left… We stook our thumbs out, and showed a sign saying ‘Golden’.. i had a sour taste in my mouth still; i thought this would take forever.. but no, within 15 minutes somebody stopped:
They were nice to us; Dallas ski’s quite a lot while her presumed boyfriend is a climber. They live in Jasper. Dallas’ landscaping company is called Delphinium. I hope to see her again, as she seems to have quite a bit of ski touring experience. They offered us a grapefruit when they left us at Castle Junction.. where Barb picked us up 4-5 minutes later. She dropped us off at Radium, where we waited 2 minutes before Val (a probably Junky) picked us up. Val was weird, but nice; she had erratic driving behaviours, her jeep was a dump, her cd player didn’t work and she couldn’t stand the silence. I would have talked to her but it was hard to find things in common.. a few years back she was probably a very pretty girl, but I don’t think she takes much care of herself… I dozed for a while…
Then she dropped us off in Golden, 5 minute walk from our home. I was relieved to be home, and still had a sour taste in my mouth…
We always eat junk food at some point when hitchhiking, and we hadn’t so far this trip. So after dropping our bags home we set off to A&W. Taking in the calories, not talking much really, thinking back on this adventure; trying to understand how I could ever get used to english chicks, i hope I will.. I thought of getting a t-shirt made that would read: “No teasing allowed, i’m direct!” or “Don’t waste my time, be straight up!” or “I’m a frenchman, i have warm blood, be warned!”. Cause I wore that ‘I ride twins‘ t-shirt all night again. When I felt frustrated I’d wear it ouside-in, and when I felt less frustrated I’d wear it inside out. It’s just a t-shirt!