In my previous post, I mentioned that I have recently moved to Revelstoke, British Columbia. By ‘recently,’ I mean that I have been calling this small mountain town my home for merely a month.
But what a month it has been! Today being the eve of the start to my life’s biggest adventure (yet), I have decided to reflect on how Revelstoke has already had a positive impact on my life as a whole. This place has done a lot for me in these too few weeks. Tomorrow, I have to leave it for two months. Well, I don’t really have to. I have the opportunity to bike from Vernon, BC, all the way down to San Francisco, along the West Coast, on the Route 101. With my friend Taylor, we’ve been planning this trip for months and months. For both of us, it is our graduation present from our families. Needless to say, we are incredibly excited. At this moment, all my gear is spread out on my bed and I need to find space for it all in a bit over 70 litres of biking panniers.
Still, though, I feel a little pang in my heart when I think of leaving. I have fallen in love with this town and its mountains, rivers, and forests – and its people, community, and vibe, too. I already feel what is commonly referred to as ‘Revelstuck’: when one comes to Revelstoke but, somehow, never ends up leaving (I plan on leaving in the spring but we’ll see if that ends up happening). But I guess that, when I return from my incredible adventure, I’ll fall in love with this place anew. And there should be snow and backcountry skiing opportunities by the time I get back. So really, Taylor and I have planned this trip perfectly – we’re missing the bleak Interior British Columbia shoulder season.
What makes this little town this amazing, then? Its incredible backdrop, for once. The Monashees, Columbias, and Selkirks are right there, opening up their arms to those eager to explore them and summit their mountains. Two national parks right at Revelstoke’s doorstep? If that isn’t a testament to how incredibly beautiful nature is around here, I don’t know what is. Then, there’s the obvious opportunities that come with the city’s amazing location in the heart of the mountains. As far as mountain biking goes (which is one of my favourite activities), the terrain around Revelstoke has created, together with people’s passion, several incredible and fun trail networks. There’s numerous hiking trails. As far as trail running goes, there is a reason that I’ve read somewhere, once, that Revelstoke is a trail running Mecca.
As far as the city itself goes, I obviously haven’t been here for long enough to really get insight into its community. I have barely scratched the surface in that respect. But what I’ve seen and experienced so far and the people that I have met and been on adventures with let me believe that the spirit of Revelstoke is inclusive, open-minded, and tightly knit. At least for someone as me – outdoorsy, sporty, always wanting to spend time with Mother Nature and not minding breaking a sweat to do so – there is a huge community of others just like me who seem to like this place for the exact same reasons as I do. The density of young outdoorsy folk relative to the total population is definitely way higher than in Kelowna, where I have lived for the past four years.
Furthermore, Revelstoke is tiny, quaint, thus obviously lacking the terrible traffic and unfathomable urban sprawl that I hated so much in Kelowna. Speaking of Interior British Columbia’s biggest city, I realize now that I am extremely glad that I have left it. Many people love the Okanagan – but I now know that it was never for me. I much prefer a smaller town that is actually located in the middle of real mountains. It enables me to live the life I want to live every day, not only on weekends. There’s a reason the slogan ‘where life doesn’t get in the way of living’ so accurately describes Revelstoke.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been out and about a lot. I went on moonlight missions up on the top of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, participated in several of the infamous Pedal’n’Pint mountain bike rides, ran two trail races, swam upstream of the dam, camped on Mount Begbie, went alpine climbing for the first time, rode my mountain bike in the alpine, and explored many corners of the town and its surroundings. It’s been a busy August for which I am extremely grateful. Really, this was hands down the best month of my summer and a great end to it. Now it is time for me to face the biggest challenge of my life. I’ll be back in this city in two months with legs of steel, ready to ski.