This is part of a continuing series from my travels in Canada. You can read the previous blog post here. I'm currently sitting at a hostel in downtown Vancouver. After being on the road for over 50 hours, I've finally reached my destination! This has been such an incredible journey so far and part of me doesn't want it to end here. I'm legally allowed to be in Canada for the next 3 weeks, it will prove to be quite difficult to obtain a work visa, and I still have enough funds to travel until my birthday on January 4th, at which point I will probably find myself in Seattle or Portland. I'd love to stay in Canada; that being said, I've already accomplished my ultimate goal of exploring and capturing breathtaking landscapes at Banff, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks. It was the experience of the lifetime and I met some great people along the way. I met this guy Sharjeel from India, now living in Edmonton, at Banff International Hostel. He was super amicable and we shared amazing memories together! It's very important to help one another succeed in life. That's what friends are for; we gotta stick together! I grabbed beers with a guy from Czech Republic and a German lady with tattoos all up both arms at this fancy restaurant in a hotel called Keg Bar. We shared lively conversation and laughs into the evening. I really enjoy being around people from different cultures! Getting to know them always provides a magnifying glass into my own inner psyche. We're really not so different across cultures. Don't listen to the mainstream media; they like to spread fear and division to keep us locked inside staring at the television. Get out there and explore the world! (Click through to scroll photos)
Late at night, I drove up to Lake Minnewaka to capture long exposure night sky photos. It was then -25*C outside, but that didn't prevent me from reaching the summit. Mind over matter! I'd set down the tripod in various spots, taking a 30" exposure photo, and then drive to the next place. Using this technique, I was able to capture this stunning photograph, entitled "Cabin On The Lake". Believe in yourself or no one else will!
Speaking of which, earlier that day, I met a friendly photographer from Regina, at Jack Lake, which is just down the road from Lake Minnewaka. We connected on Instagram (@scottagoodwill) and met for breakfast the next day at a classy restaurant called Melissa's. I invited Sharjeel to join us. We shared good conversation, food was delicious, it was toasty inside, and flags from countries around the world hung from the ceiling. We parted ways. Scott embarked on his long boring drive back to Regina.
Sharjeel and I drove up to Sulphur Mountain above Banff Town. The gondola ride to the summit was pretty expensive so we opted to hike towards Bow River instead. It was a beautiful hike through a pine forest of white powdery snow. Afterwards, we drove up to Johnston Canyon near Lake Louise. This is where things got interesting, as if they weren't already. The road that leads into Johnston Canyon / Castle Mountain is Hwy 93 which is less maintained than the Trans-Canada Highway. At one point, the Jeep Compass starts fishtailing uncontrollably and we go careening off the road into a snow mound. I can't help but start laughing at the situation, as I climb out of the car and shovel snow under the tires with my heavy-duty boots. It only takes a few minutes before we're back on the straight and narrow. We hiked in the blistering cold for over 2 hours to reach Upper Falls. Thankfully, Sharjeel was there for moral support, otherwise I probably would have turned back at the Lower Falls. He was wearing boat shoes the entire time and still survived the entire journey. I was fortunate enough to drive the Jeep back to town. I really need to get me one of these some day!
In the morning, we departed together from Banff and embarked on the supposedly treacherous drive along 93 up to Jasper National Park. I don't have snow tires on my Chevy Cruze but wasn't overly worried about it since my driving skills are honestly stellar! However, even with a vehicle designed for off-road conditions, Sharjeel began drifting along the road until, eventually, he slid right off and got wedged in a snow bank. Luckily, after a few minutes, a convoy of trucks materialized. It wasn't more than a half hour before the Jeep was back on the pavement, but not without some damage. A stone was kicked up in the process and the rear window was shattered. We continued driving for another 150km until finally reaching Jasper Vile. We parted ways at the gas station. I immediately took off for Prince George but decided to turn back and explore more of Jasper. It was totally the right decision! The hike to Maligne Canyon and drive to the Lake was absolutely stunning, and I was lucky enough to get a few wildlife photos on the way back. I considered staying at a hostel there for the night but it looked dumpy/dark and I wanted to make headway towards Prince George, which was actually in the wrong direction, so I found a cheap hotel in Valemount. Turns out I left my laptop charger at the hostel in Banff, which is why I'm typing this blog post in Vancouver after buying a new one. My friend Carl from Quebec City is going to send my charger directly to this hostel.
The sun is setting. I'm about two hours away from Vancouver and decide to pull off in the City of Chilliwack to fly the drone "real quick". My battery is at 55% when I launch the drone from a parking lot. It's a beautiful shot at the sun goes down behind a sprawling mountain range. After I'm about 4,500 ft away, further than I've ever flown before, I get this frequent error about "Gimbal Motor Overloaded" and the aircraft begins decelerating to protect against failure. I can only assume it's because of the cold temperatures. So, at this point, it's moving slowly to the home point and I'm worried it won't make it back in one piece. Once the battery reaches 3%, the drone flips over and falls out of the sky. Luckily, it's only 87 ft away fro me and the snow cushioned the fall. I was searching for over a half hour to no avail until I finally found it! Eureka! Losing the drone would have been an irritating end to my journey.
I've only been in Vancouver for one day at the time of this typing. However, I got lost trying to find the hostel last night and unintentionally explored suburbs of the city that I wouldn't have seen otherwise using GPS. The hostel is pretty much in the heart of downtown. I'm staying here for 5 days, possibly longer if I can find a job. I walked to the Hootsuite office earlier today and spoke with a guy at the front desk about my interest in working for the social media company. He provided me the contact for the HR department and I sent them an email but wouldn't be surprised if I never hear anything back. Getting a job is honestly not my top priority since I'm clearly an entrepreneur and don't have a work permit anyway. I flew the drone earlier down by the bay and captured incredible photo/video (see cover photo). My plan is to put together a promo video from my travels and send it out for licensing to Canadian travel agencies. Tomorrow I will take a subway through Stanley Park to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. There's still a lot more to explore in this awesome city... Wish me luck!
Take a look at this short aerial promo video from my travels in Canada! This was edited together with drone footage from Vancouver, Calgary, Canmore, Wistler, and a few other areas.
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