Canada again, for maybe the 10th time with Oysterband. I’m sitting in the tour bus rolling over the brown prairies of Alberta, the Rockies a distant icy crust on the horizon.
We flew in to Toronto last week and I remember waking in the night to look down on the vast St Lawrence river, imagining the tiny ships of General Wolfe which sailed to Quebec for the battle that decided the fate if Canada in 1759.
Next day we continued west to Edmonton, a 4 hour flight, gaining 2 more hours of jet lag. 3000 kilometres and you dont even reach the mountains. The weather changed from the balmy fall of Ontario to snow and next morning it was an unseasonal -7. On to the Rockies and to Banff, a wonderful place set in a nature reserve. I had a huge hotel room in the beautiful Banff Centre (slogan ‘Inspiring Creativity’), and, this is typical of being on the road, just 10 minutes to be in it before reporting for sound check. The gig went great, as they always do, everyone knows what they are doing in this band and we now have a great repertoire. Next day was yet another early start but I was determined to get out so I set my alarm for 6.30 and headed out in pitch darkness under a stary sky. I know the trails here quite well so I headed for the Bow River as I knew the forrest path was flat and there would be less chance a stumbling over a rock. I also knew about some of the animals in these woods so I sang old Scottish folk songs and clapped my hands to let the bears and cougars know I was visiting. No danger of anyone else hearing at that time in the morning. The trail opened out to the river. I washed my face in the cold water and looked up at the sheer cliff of Tunnel Mountain rising 300 meters above me. Its a very special place, and shivering in the morning cold, I felt lucky to be there.