Tuesday, July 31, 2007

And so I'm back in Banff...

Wow, I really need to start posting more regularly, you stop and it's hard to get back on track!

I needed some rest before heading to yet another contract, this time delivering/crewbossing a tree spraying (with pesticides, so the trees that were planted a few years ago don't die too early) contract, so I asked my supervisor to leave the actual contract early so I could have actual down time. Since I didn't feel like heading all the way back east, I decided to go back to Banff.

And since Banff is an expensive place, mostly when you have about two weeks to kill, I found a job back at my old hotel, in order to save/make money and have a place to sleep. So what can I say about it? Well, it was th best/worst idea I ever got, as I'm having a blast, seeing old friends and meeting new people, but leaving will be hard, even if I'm scheduled to come back for a little longer in a month. It also sucks that one of my good friends will be in Banff for two weeks, only days after I leave back to the bush!

I took a few nice pictures, but I'll leave that for tomorrow as I want to post a few pics from my Alberta contract:

The land as it is between Edson and Hinton, in between Edmonton and the Rockies. The bush beeing heavily industrialized, thanks to the oil industry, you can see an oil well in the background, in front of a tarped cache where we'd plant trees(Where I had to plant a "finger" of really shitty land that became known as "my finger"...)

That's what you might run into while planting trees in the middle of a forest.

The FIST (Fiberglass Insulated Seedling Transport) unit and float trailer I had to use for most of my stint as a tree-deliverer in Alberta. A different experience.

A "crummy", a weird hybrid between a pick-up truck and a bus. As you can see from the pic, it's relatively sketchy and you won't be surprised to read that it got pulled over by the police. They asked us to get it inspected so I drove it to town and it failed for many reasons, including the deer remains on the hood, so we couldn't transport planters in the back anymore). Once, I also got locked inside the passenger area while getting my water bottle, I had to get out by a very small window...

Daily management meeting. Conrad, Matty and a beer bottle.

Aaron, Andy and Mel planning the next day.

Flip Cup Tournament.

The shirtless team had a girl who was unwilling to go farther than halfway... and a half!

We even got a referee!

Polish Luke will show up anywhere, as long as there's a decent party and some booze!


Lost in thoughts.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer Plant

Usually, summer planting is a little more casual, chill. I signed up for a summer plant contract in Alberta in order to be a regular tree planter, not have any responsibilities and be done my day by 7PM max.

I showed up in Edson a week ago, not knowing anyone in my new camp. After planting roughly 100 trees and making an awesome 10 bucks, Byron, the camp supervisor came to me to ask me to help with tree delivery, as his tree runner needed some time off.

So I took on the delivery duties for the week, accepting many repsonsibilities, stress and very long days. Their work area is gigantic, and it's been normal for me to drive for 45 minutes to get to a few planters, then drive another half hour to get to the tree cache, then another 30 minutes to get to another crew. I logged at least 400 kilometers a day this week!

The other interesting part about the forest between Hinton and Edson is that it's heavily industrialized, with pipelines and oil rigs everywhere (Alberta having the second largest reserves of oil in the world after Saudi Arabia, mostly in the oilsands of the north of the province) and I've never seen so much heavy traffic on bush roads! So we basically have to radio our position every 5 kilometers or so, to make sure not to be hit by a wideload in a turn!

I got some pictures, but I didn't take the time to load them unto my computer. As I should have more time this week, going back to regular planting duties, I'll try to upload them so I can post some next week. Interestingly enough, Steve, a crewboss who just arrived from another Alberta camp in Fort McMurray and visited this blog before noted how blogging while planting finally ends up being apologetic for not blogging and not having time to post pics.

Well sorry guys, that's about all the time I've got, more next week!!!

Time to go lie to someone else...

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