Friday, August 24, 2012


I've been putting off writing this post, and now I figure I'm ready to do it. My trip is over. I arrived home on Saturday night after a day of hiking in Banff with a girl I met in Hawaii, who lives in Calgary. We had beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, and a great end to my trip. Prior to that I had been hanging with my good friend Dustin in Revelstoke for a week, hanging out with him and his family, and helping him out a little with his auto detailing business. I learned a little about auto detailing from him, and might even try to do it on the side next summer.

I made the right choice going back to Alaska and finishing my trip. Driving in a car solo is much different than backpacking; I definitely met a lot fewer people. The first week up to the Yukon was pretty lonely, I never really ran into people my age, mostly retired RV people. It was great to reconnect with my friends, Terry and Jessica, in Whitehorse, and definitely made some new friends there. The drive up to the Arctic Ocean, hiking in Denali, and the boat tour in Seward were the highlights for me, and I have some amazing pictures from all of them. The amount of wildlife I saw blew my mind! Grizzly bears, black bears, moose, a wolf, bald eagles, humpback whales, orcas, dall porpoises, dall sheep, stellar sea lions, and harbour seals made this trip the most animal plentiful trip I've ever taken. I apologize if my writing has been mediocre on this one, it was really hard to make it interesting when I'm really doing the same thing over and over. I can describe to you how the mountains look or what animals I saw, but what I was mostly doing was repetitive: camping in the mountains. This trip also gave me exactly what I needed after Australia: my mountain fix.

The number one question I get about my trip is what country was my favourite? My answer is always between three: Nepal, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. All were amazing for different reasons. Nepal had the diverse scenery, jungle lowlands to the nearly nine thousand foot peaks of the Himalayas. The country is literally crumbling, but the people are so friendly and the culture so strong. Never have I been anywhere as interesting as Nepal. The Philippines was a true backpacker country, like something you hear the old hippies talk about the way it was in their day. You can easily get off the beaten track and to amazing beaches, and the people there are some of the friendliest and most hospitable I have ever met. Papua New Guinea was pure adventure; any adventurous traveller should make a pilgrimage there. The country is completely untouched: the reefs are pristine, the jungle unmolested, and the culture unlike anywhere I have seen. The people there can be some of the friendliest people around, but can also be incredibly violent and should not be crossed.

After nearly two years away from home, I'm ready to be back, and feeling good about it. I'm looking forward to expanding my career path and hopefully learning a new skill. I also have plans to develop my photography hobby and hopefully make some money off all these pictures I've snapped on my trip. Also, I was ecstatic to discover the pictures I took from New Britain and New Ireland in PNG are backed up on cd's here, so I'll be working hard to edit and upload those with the thousands of others I still have to go through.

So for the next year I'll be in travel limbo, and you'll be going through Kyle withdrawls. I doubt I'll make it on a trip between now and next summer, but if I do, be sure I'll make a post. The idea is to apply for a scholarship to Indonesia next summer, where I'll get paid to study and live in a tropical paradise, one that I really wanted to visit but wasn't able to. I'll keep posting the odd post on travel tips and whatnot, but the bread and butter of this blog is on hold for now. Thanks for following me on my adventures, and I look forward to entertaining you all next year!

Kyle Werstiuk

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


The Shuswap Lakes are the perfect place to unwind after three days of hard driving. I arrived at my Aunt and Uncle's trailer lot at Scotch Creek on Wednesday evening. They own a recreational lot inside a gated community called Caravans West, where many families and retired folks own lots they park trailers and RV's on, usually staying for a good portion of the summer. The community is perfect for families, there's an adult and kids swimming pool, a waterpark and playground. It's also a two minute stroll to the lake, and is right next to Shuswap Lake Provincial Park, where there's a decent beach.

The entire time I was there the temperature soared into the mid thirties, and I fiercely worked to even out the horrible farmers tan I acquired in Alaska. I split my afternoons between the beach and the pool. The first day my uncle Maurice took me in his boat up the Seymour Arm of the Shushwap Lake, one of the more remote arms. At the end of it was a small community, complete with a pub where we had a beer in the sun. The water was nice and calm on the way there, making the dead heads (tips of giant logs lying below the surface, dangerous to water skiiers) visible. The flooding they had there this year had washed a lot of the beachside logs back into the lake, posing a risk to water skiing and wakeboarding.

On Sunday my aunt and uncle left to make the trip back home, leaving me there to watch the place for one more night until my cousin arrived the following day. I decided to go out for a beer and shoot some pool at the local pub, and hopefully talk to somebody my age. The problem with Caravans West is the age is quite polarized; in the hut tub you're either talking to someone eighteen or sixty years old. I don a nice shirt and head to the pub, only to find it completely deserted. I wasn't content with driving back and calling it a night, so I said the hell with it, I'm going to Kamloops for a beer. I knew a couple pubs from my time on the railroad, being layed over for the night waiting to take a train back to Revelstoke in the morning. I walk into the pub, grab a beer and shoot a game of pool. Right after my game is finished I happen to look over at the bar and see a guy that looks quite familiar. I walk over and it turns out to be my old friend, Angry Dave, who's brother I lived with in Revelstoke, and who is also a fellow railroader. We call Dave Angry Dave because he is, well, angry. Example, yelling at a crackhead to fuck off when she begs for change. In the spirit of a reunion after four years, we go out and get very drunk. I woke up on his couch at 8am and Dave drove me back to my truck, where I got to watch him tell the same crackhead to again fuck off, this time with a more hangover induced anger. I laughed.

I got back to Scotch Creek at 9am, and thankfully my cousin, Mark, hadn't arrived yet, as I was supposed to be there to help him back his trailer into the tricky, confined lot. His wife Venessa wouldn't have been happy if she had had to do it alone. They arrived at 1:30, we got the trailer in quickly, and took his two young kids, Brayden and Ava, to the pool and splashed around for the afternoon. That night a couple of their friends, Wes and Claudine, came over and we had a few beers and laughs. The next day I said my goodbyes and drove over the Salmon Arm to stay with my Aunt Lynn and Uncle Ralph at their house.

And here I am today! The weather is still beautiful, so I'd imagine we'll walk around the warf a bit and find some other stuff to do.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Lazy Days

I'm currently soaking up the sun in the Shuswap Lakes and am too lazy to make a post about it.