First Day in the Mountains

So I drove to the mountains and I didn’t die, which was super ideal. When I got to Banff I parked as near to my hotel as I could, which was along a street with 2h parking. The streets were busy with people, mostly on two legs or two wheels, but a few cars too. I was nervous about leaving my car: the lady at the park entrance said I could get a parking pass for the town (rather than paying for the yearlong pass for non­residents) once I proved my residence and employment to the information centre, but I hadn’t done that yet, so I left my passless car on the road, surreptitiously covering my valuables with various coats and hoping I wouldn’t return to a ticket I couldn’t afford.

When I hoisted my essentials bag over my shoulder (filled with my necessary documents to get hired, my laptop, chargers, and about a billion books), I immediately regretted using all my newly­-discovered Sherwood Park Mall gift cards at Chapters and Chapters alone. Especially since I already had weighty tomes like Infinite Jest along for the ride. But my pop always said I had football­ player shoulders (probably in the hopes that I’d play football), so I put them to use and carried on.

It was easy to forget where I was­­–other than in a lovely little town–­­until I walked around the corner of a building and had the scenic mountain view revealed. It almost looked like a green-screen movie effect. Blue skies and cream-­topped mountains. But it was real, and I was there. I am there.

The hotel I’d be working at seemed rustic and charming, and the workers appeared to enjoy their work, which was a good sign. They set me up with a room for the night, saying that they’d get me my necessary documents for parking as well as show me to my full­-time living space the following day. For now, I could park in the hotel underground lot, hidden from ticketers.

And so I dropped my too-­heavy bag off in my room, re­parked my car, and immediately went exploring on foot.

I strolled by numerous fun little shops, a community greenhouse, tennis courts, walked over and under a bridge, and attempted to identify the building I’d be living in. I also, of course, found my way to the local library in search of a card. Same deal as the town parking pass. That would have to wait until tomorrow. Or maybe until I finished the twelve books I brought with me.

After working up an appetite, and since there was no sense buying groceries until I moved into my accommodation, I browsed for a reasonably­-priced local food joint. I found one I thought looked okay, but the menu outside their doors that I looked at turned out to be the lunch menu, and the dinner menu was a lot more pricey. Lesson learned. I didn’t order dessert, but after seeing so many people with ice cream cones, I had to get my own.

There was this moo­cow place I forget the name of that sold ice cream and was apparently famous. The line went out the door, for context. So I waited, and when I got inside I discovered they didn’t have cookie dough ice cream(!!!), but I had put time into that line, and they had Oreo anyway, so I soldiered on. Around the store was, strangely, a lot of branded clothing featuring cartoon cows parodying pop­-culture favourites. “Moocraft” (with a Minecraft-­inspired blocky design) was cute, but “Orange is the Moo Black” was perhaps too much.

At last I reached the front, and discovered that the menu had lied, and they did have cookie dough! All was right in the world.

And, so far, still is.

Day 180’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Nonfiction,” “IN THE MOUNTAINS,” and, “New kid on the block.”

I lucked out again with these prompts pairing with nonfiction. I ended up writing about my first day in the mountain town I’m now living in.

– H.

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