quick escape.

Jul 30, 2012

Week one of initial flight attendant training was finally over. 6 consecutive long, long days were over and 4 exams successfully passed. I was feeling the early stages of burnout, and a couple of days off couldn't have come fast enough. 
While the rest of my classmates settled in for what would be a couple intense days of studying, I did quite the opposite. After class, I came home, packed a bag, and Ryan and I headed west for Jasper. There is nothing like fresh mountain air to take away all of life's stress. It might have been the irresponsible thing to do given my course load and upcoming exams, but I felt confident that I could do with a day of nothing related to aviation... after all, I've got a bit of previous experience that has provided me with a wealth of knowledge. I consider initial training a bit of a refresher course, with a few differences from airline to airline.  
It was a gorgeous night, minus a few rainy areas that we drove through.

 Unlike last time we'd driven to Jasper, this time the mountains were in full view, rather than hidden behind thick dark clouds. It was late when we arrived, so we set up camp and called it a night in the comfort of our tent.  
Throughout the evening, our brand new air mattress lost air, and I woke up feeling gravel beneath me as I tried to get comfy, not having the energy to re-inflate the mattress. It wasn't the greatest sleep I've ever had, but it sure beat the front seat of the car the weekend prior.  
The next morning as everyone else packed up and headed home, we built a fire and relaxed as we cooked breakfast. Our new camping breakfast is an omelette in a bag. In an effort to make life and packing far easier, we add all of our favourite omelette ingredients into a Ziploc bag, seal it, and then place it in boiling water. It works surprisingly well, although the texture is a bit different than a typical omelette.  We ate our eggs, roasted some sausages, and then finished off breakfast with smores... because we were camping, thus it was fully acceptable and necessary. 
Once we were well fed, it was time to pack up and head out to enjoy the day. I needed a good hike to make up for my lack of physical activity since beginning training. We headed up a steep narrow winding road on Mount Edith Cavell where we'd decided to hike.  We'd been here a month ago, but at that time it was still covered in snow and we were trekking through the pouring rain. Today was a perfect warm summer day, and we set off to be active. Though it was a much easier hike than Castle Mountain last weekend, I was still feeling the effects of high altitude combined with a week of laziness.  I was out of breath within minutes, but as Ryan rushed up the trail I forced myself to keep up. I thought I might just die right then and there... my goodness, how did I get so out of shape?! We made it to the lookout, and I snapped photos as Ryan played in the snow in his flip-flops. Unless it's an extra steep climb, we always hike in flip-flops, earning many glances from others in their full hiking attire.    

The way down was far more enjoyable. We took it slow, watching everyone else huff and puff as they hiked up.  Feeling hungry, we set out to find a day-use area where we could build a fire and cook ourselves a late lunch. We found one alongside Pyramid Lake, where we roasted hot dogs and enjoyed the last bit of mountain goodness before hitting the road back home.  

Just outside of Jasper, we drove past a semi truck pulled to the side of the road. It looked as though smoke was coming out of the cabin, and I assumed that it was overheating. I watched in the rear view mirror as we drove away, and it wasn't long before it was apparent that the truck was in fact billowing smoke. We turned around and pulled to the side of the highway just as flames became visible.  Passerby's struggled to call 911, but nobody had a signal in the remote area. The driver made it out, but unfortunately his truck wasn't so lucky. We stood and watched as it became a massive fireball, sending thick black smoke far into the sky.  We heard a few big bangs as explosions went off.  Eventually firefighters showed up, but by that point there was little left of the huge truck. Traffic was forced to stop in both directions, but fortunately for us we were parked ahead of the truck and there was nothing but open road for us to head home on. It was a crazy sight to witness, and since there was absolutely nothing that Ryan or I could do to help, we instead took photos and video.

 That sure isn't something that you see every day! Once we'd seen it all unfold, we got back in the car and made our way back to the city. It had been a short trip, but far from uneventful! 
Tomorrow it's back to school, and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to have a short little escape from reality and studying! 


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