Revelstoke, British Columbia - a beautiful small town nestled on the banks of the Columbia River that is becoming more and more popular with each passing year. Massive snowfalls, every kind of skiing you could think of and breathtaking summer alpine flower displays have kept tourists coming back again and again, whether they be skiers, hikers or just general look around-ers. The town has been growing in popularity over the last few years, and as a result it just gets better and better. Or so they tell me.
I flew in to Vancouver from outback Australia in early May of this year, where I spent four whirlwind days in pursuit of a reliable vehicle and getting my bearings in another new country. Then I headed East to a little town I'd never heard of until recently, when I'd been offered a job at a hotel there as part of my working holiday visa. My research told me it was a small town with a population of around 7000, an average yearly snowfall of 40 feet and the highest vertical in North America (of which people apparently willingly jump from). As a station girl from one of the hottest parts of Australia, I was terrified. But in the Aussie spirit, I decided to give it a go.
Here I am almost five months later, and I can tell you it’s been the ride of my life and we haven’t even started winter yet. The contrast between Canada and Australia is astounding. I came home from the supermarket one day and walked up the driveway wondering when the neighbours got a dog. It took roughly 30 seconds for my brain to compute that what I was looking at wasn’t a dog but a black bear, and it was standing on my back fence. Five seconds of terror followed by the Aussie motto ‘I reckon I can take it’ meant I found myself within four feet of the bear, taking photos and willing it not to run away. For the record, it was a small bear. Also for the record, I don’t recommend following in my stupid footsteps and approaching any bear you see. Apparently, they can be quite vicious. Though my visitor was small and cute and snuffley, any sharp movement could’ve seen my time in Canada cut short. But I digress. As someone who is used to finding snakes and poisonous spiders roaming about the place, I was quite chuffed with my first official bear encounter.
Aside from the bears, Revelstoke has proved to be a treasure trove of hiking trails, walking tracks and photo opportunities that you normally only see in professional catalogues. On any given day I can go for a drive up Mt Revelstoke and take a photo with my cellphone that could’ve come straight from a tourist magazine. It’s a picturesque area that leaves me spellbound and more than a little proud to live here.