Another early morning call and another 4 hour drive down that f@c#ing highway. If life is a highway, I'd hate to be the poor sucker who happens to pick up Highway 2. I think I hear a new song coming on. Through the snow squalls and freezing rain we drove until, finally, coming around a bend, the prairie disappeared and the mountains reared above. Banff…..it doesn't get much more impressive: set in a valley with the Bow River snaking through it, ringed by truly awesome, snow packed peaks and ridges. The healing power of nature. It was cold today, but clear and bright and the mountain air was what one would call “bracing”. I walked half way up Tunnel Mountain, and called home. I got caught up on the madness that is home, while watching the river tracing its route through the valley below and the snow sweeping off the peaks above.
We have a personal attachment to this town. In the summer of 1971 my dad was working out of Calgary so he rented a house on the side of Tunnel Mountain a few blocks from Banff's Main street. The whole family along with our grandmother decamped for the summer to Banff, Alberta. It was a magical summer. For half the time we were feral and had the town and the mountain as our open play ground. For the other half we went on family adventures to one unbelievable natural environment after the other. We saw bears and elk and mountain goats and meeses and scores of beautiful white tail deer. It was a summer that burned itself in to our memories. So its always a great feeling to return and stare at those mountain peaks: Rundle, Norquay, Cascade, Sulpher Mountain haven't changed a smidge over these past thirty years even if the town is almost unrecognizable.
We played Harvie Hall at the Banff Art Center. This center is an amazing resource, a place for artists of all stripes to go and extend their studies or workshop an idea or just escape to the mountains to be inspired and refreshed. It's an amazing place and full of positive energy. We had a great audience tonight. Big and boisterous. We played a pretty decent set. It wasn't perfect and it we seemed to lose each other at the end of the second set…but we channeled the positive vibes and delivered a very good show.
These last five nights in Alberta have been fantastic. The audience has shown up and contributed to the show every night in a positive way. The days have been long and grinding but the nights, thanks to the good folks of Alberta have been rejuvenating and fun. We've had a bunch of great shows, sold a ton of music (always a good sign), and experienced firsthand what makes Albertan's…Albertan, their land. Tough and gnarly and unrelenting. Tomorrow we have another early morning, a 90 minute drive to the Calgary airport, and a three hour flight to Whitehorse….and all the other stuff that involves flying with seven people and twenty pieces of checked baggage. This has been fun…hopefully we can make it a regular run, so that we can check out some more of this hard tack land. North to the Yukon we go.
Pete's ipad sketch of the Cowboy Trail: