It’s not until you’re without something that you truly appreciate it, though this is far from a revelatory statement. It’s nice to be reminded of daily luxuries though, like houses protecting us, electricity powering our lives, and water flowing from our taps.
Personally, I never truly appreciated these things until I spent my first summer at treeplanting camp. It was there I came to finally understand the beauty of things like heaters, couches, and flushing toilets, which I swore I’d never again take for granted. Of course, after a week or two back in the real world with every luxury available to me once again, I forgot these promises.
Over the past week, I’ve been reminded of them once again. I’m reading a memoir by Cheryl Strayed called Wild, in which she documents her time on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a beast of a route winding all the way from Mexico to BC.
As young woman struggling to recover from her mother’s death, a failed marriage, and heroin addiction, Cheryl hiked her way along the PCT during the summer of 1995. Her finely-written story is not only entertaining to read, but also incredibly inspiring. It has reminded me of the things I regularly take for granted, like the loving and stable family I have around me, and the fact that I can get pizza whenever I want.
It’s one of my all-time favourite foods, and it’s so easy to get. All I have to do is make a phone call, and any kind of pizza will show up at my door at any time of day. This, of course, is not an option for long-distance hikers, who for days at at time are limited to whatever they can carry on their backs. In crossing valleys and traversing mountains, they build up enormous appetites, with nothing but dehydrated beans, beef jerky, and peanuts to fuel them.
Hikers burn thousand of calories, are perpetually hungry, and like treeplanters, spend the majority of their time thinking about things they’d like to eat. Cheryl writes extensively about this, describing food she buys at rest stops as though it’s the single greatest thing she’s ever consumed. Burgers and fries become gold, and bottles of Snapple are her life-sustaining elixir.
Therefore, when my friend Sophie and I went for pizza last night, I decided I’d appreciate it as best I could. I would concentrate on just how satisfying and delicious it tasted, how I could eat as much of it as I wanted, and that when I later fell into a carb-induced slumber, I would be doing so in my big, comfortable bed.
Sophie and I went to Round Table Pizza, which is just a few doors down from Kiriri at Garden City and Blundell. It’s pretty much takeout-out only, though there is one small bar at the front window. We ordered a small Triple Cheese Bacon Burger, a small Everything Special (swapping pineapple for feta cheese), and a lasagna, with meatballs added for an extra buck. In total, our bill came to $33.35.
Like Wheat House, the pizzas at Round Table are baked in pans, so they’re deep dish and have a crunchy crust. For two ladies craving meat and cheese on a Sunday night, they were pretty darn awesome. The Triple Cheese Bacon Burger wasn’t exactly what we thought it would be, however; instead of bacon it had ham, and while it did appear to have double mozzarella as promised, there was no cheddar to be found. It didn’t taste like a triple cheese bacon burger, but would that have mattered to a PCT hiker? Absolutely not.
The Everything Special did indeed have everything – ham, pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, beef, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, cheese, and tomato sauce. It was a true pizza pie, and our favourite of the two.
The lasagna tasted like all lasagnas from 2-for-1 pizza shops – it was super saucy, kind of sweet-tasting, cheesy on top, and had surprisingly-good meatballs. I don’t know if I’d necessarily order it again, but it was pretty hearty.
Judging by the number of pizzas delivered and picked up while we were there, Round Table is a popular place. Their pizzas are big, very generous with toppings, and seriously filling. Of course, I could never have appreciated my meal as much as a person fresh off the PCT, but I did my best.
I’m two thirds of the way through Wild, and don’t want it to end. Thanks to my friend Carey for recommending it to me, and if you’re a fan of memoirs, I’d highly suggest you read it too. Or, just think of PCT hikers the next time you order pizza! I know I will.
Have you read Wild? I’d love to know your thoughts.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available