An impromptu stay for longer than expected in Prince Rupert certainly paid off in spades. “Jimmy The Janitor” was the first friendly face, stopping his busy rounds to chat with us about the town.
“If you aren’t afraid of work, and you have a business you like, you’ll do well here,” he said in a thick Nova Scotian accent. His trip across the country many years ago landed him in Prince Rupert – permanently.
And to an extent we understand why; it’s a beautiful town, with friendly people and majestic scenery – when it’s not raining. We didn’t see much of the wet stuff ourselves, but anybody who has spent much time living in Prince Rupert doesn’t have many nice things to say about their weather. I have to wonder though: how would the same people view the harsher snowy winters we are so used to in Toronto and Edmonton?
The four day visit and sunny weather had us enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. On day two we hiked up Mount Hays: a 2400ft elevation in some pretty heavy snow up top – up to our waists at times – which made the slog quite tricky and cold. (Our tootsies were happy to have a hot shower when we got back from the 5 hour climb)!
Another day we hiked about 10kms around some reversing tidal rapids and grassy beach areas just out of town. After our summit of Mount Hays though we were in real pain by the time we returned from our second consecutive long hike for sure!
But we were glad to have the exercise, as the 20 hour (plus 3 hour delay) ferry ride to Vancouver Island left us not much choice for exercise other than running from one end of the ship to the other!
When we started traveling, I didn’t quite understand the whole Hostelling concept. Sure the cost is somewhat cheaper (not always as inexpensive as you might think though at times!), but it’s a transient lifestyle at best. Until we came to Prince Rupert, everybody we came across in hostels pretty much kept to themselves.
And when we did find ourselves in conversation with fellow travelers, it was somewhat repetitive:
“So where are you from?”
“How long have you been traveling?”
“Where to next?”
“What’s your favourite….”
“Okay, well have a nice life”!
…yadda yadda yadda. We’ve only been on the road a short time and I’m already tired of the same old rhetoric!
However I realized that we just hadn’t met the right people or made the right connections. When you only stay one night in a place there’s often little point in trying to forge new relationships. Most travelers are going different ways and uninterested in a one-day-travel-affair.
It was only when Matt, a Kiwi (from New Zealand) volunteered to tag along our hike up Mount Hays that we discovered what hostelling is all about. He’s actually a business traveler, but chooses hostels as his preferred mode of accommodation. He said it’s more friendly, unlike the anonymity you hold when you bunk up in a little hotel room and are forced to eat out every night. You meet all kinds of people, and sometimes you can even find somebody traveling your way and experience new adventures together.
In fact, we are looking forward to connecting with Matt again in Edmonton and taking some trips out to Jasper together for more mountain climbing this summer!