First Gig!

Bear Swamp Blues Band (Photo by Jim Panos)

It was yet another great ski season, and the call of fabulous spring skiing has been distracting us a bit from thoughts of travel.

As did our gig. Yup! We set a goal for our blues band to play at least one gig this winter. Success! We made our debut on April 7 to a well attended party at the Castlerock Pub, at Sugarbush, our local ski resort. Judging by the smiles, dancing, high fives, hugs and smiles, our friends appear to have had fun. Our 6-piece band, the Bear Swamp Blues Band, had a great time as well. With planning, rehearsals and requisite jitters behind us all, it’s now time for the Destinators to start focusing on this year’s trip.

But first, a quick recap of our 2018 trip.

Recall the concept was to explore central Canada. Our plan was to head to Montreal and take a left. From there, we’d venture north as far as we could wherever that was possible, exploring nooks and crannies and turning around when we hit the Canadian Rockies or we happened to notice it was October, whichever came first. 

We loved every minute!

Within hours of our return in November, our friends started asking the same two questions: “So, what was your favorite place?” and “Are you glad to be home?” Well, thank you to our friends for helping to kick off this post!

Favorite place? After 4+ months in Canada followed by almost 2 more mostly in the US Rockies, that first question was really difficult! It might be impossible to pick a favorite, but highlights do come easily to mind.

We thoroughly enjoyed our wanderings off the beaten path. Early on, at the Prairie Wind Music Fest, we made connections that will last our lifetimes and which led us to visit Flin Flon, Manitoba. This quirky mining town and surprise music mecca, surrounded by beautiful lakes, where we met wonderful, super-friendly people who adopted us for a week, rises to the top. So does Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, the northernmost city at the far end of the northernmost paved road in Canada. It’s a most diverse, dynamic, isolated yet totally connected and friendly place, home of the annual Folk on the Rocks music festival. It is a 15-hour drive between Yellowknife and the nearest actual city, so the festival crowd has to do some work to get there!

Another highlight was our 7-week sojourn in the Canadian Rockies. Visiting 7 National Parks in the Rockies and Selkirks, we binge-hiked until grounded by snow in mid-September. Our top 3 list includes Abbott Ridge in Glacier (Canada) NP, the Emerald Triangle in Yoho NP, Mt Edith/Cory Pass in Banff NP and Stanley Glacier in Kootenay NP. (Told you it was hard!)

Mount Sir Donald, Glacier (Ca) National Park

And throughout there was music. We loved the music festivals we went to in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories, and British Columbia. We found opportunities for music jams in those places, too, including on a friend’s boat in the middle of Lake Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park.

As in past years, we traveled with a list of people to visit, surprising ourselves with how many Canadians we knew (as well as with how that part of the list kept expanding along the way!). And we love spending time with friends and family.

Were we glad to be home? Yes. We LOVE our on-the-road lifestyle, where we can gain an intimate view of the places we visit, and it’s always a little sad when the trip is over. On the other hand, we LOVE this small community and the large group of friends in our chosen home town. We’re extremely grateful that we’ve found a way to balance both!

Are we looking forward to being on the road again? Yes. Soon…

For anyone who’s interested: Bear Swamp Blues Band pix, Bear Swamp Blues Band gig encore.

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