July 27 – 28 Back to Banff!
Today was a day full of sights that many people travel all over to see. It was a day that really illustrates the experiences tour can bring. Our first stop of the day was Lake Louise. The bright teal lake paired with the back ground of mountains and a glacier leaves any of the people sightseeing it in amazement and appreciation of it. The majority of our trip so far has felt like movie backdrops surround us everywhere we go, even a walk through town has sky scraping mountains and rows of trees accompanying it. After soaking in the scenery for a little, we got in line for the canoes. We all sat in boats of 3 and paddled our way around the lake. Some friendly races took place of who could paddle the best and others drifted down the lake with the warm sun and cool breeze on their faces. After canoeing we made way to the gondola cafe for a quick lunch, we needed to replenish our energy for our next stop, Johnston Canyon.
Johnston Canyon is known for their “ink pots,” which are wells of ink underground that seep through to the surface of some ponds. The catch is it’s a 7 mile hike there and back. Many boys take on the challenge and many turn back, but the real adventure is the hike itself. A few committed staff members and some very dedicated boys made way for the top of the trail right as we arrived. Time had to be accounted for the hike as well as time to sight see up top. After a brutal up hill hike, we arrived at the top. We were able to fill our water bottles at the rushing river of ice cold glacier water. Groups arrived one after another and those who made it were able to be completely enveloped in the smell of pine, the sight of mountains and miles of trees, and hear the sound of water rushing through river beds and fallen branches. It’s a sensation that can’t be recreated in Orange County, California. It’s one that calls for an extensive hike, but one that rewards you in the greatest way it can afford. A view that will leaves you breathless. The hike back was much more forgiving and mostly downhill, we all made it back before time and enjoyed an ice cream cone to cool off. After a very physically exhausting day, we headed to dinner and eventually to bed, tomorrow we have a concert and we all need to recuperate.
July 28 Banff Springs Hotel
Today we travel to Calgary for one of our last shows of the tour. Before setting off on the road of course, we had to stop at the Banff Springs Hotel. The hotel is said to be haunted, and many traditional stories were being told around the bus between fellow choristers. Some of the staff even joined in and told tales they could remember. Every time they’re a little different, but the anticipation and expectations brought by the stories are always charming and enjoyable. We typically perform here but due to a very busy season they weren’t able to have us this year. We were able to go inside and look around. Everyone would spot a landmark from the “bus stories” and say, “That’s the knight with the glowing red eyes!” After wandering the grounds for a bit and doing a little bit of shopping, it was time to head off to Calgary. Once on the road, you realize the drives here aren’t freeways or busy streets. You don’t pass by skyscrapers and office buildings, it’s just nature. Hills, wildlife, forests, mountain ranges and open plains fill your windows and make for a beautiful view that shifts and changes around every corner. If drives were this beautiful at home, traffic wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Once arriving at the Deer Park United Church in Calgary, we were greeted by happy faces, some of which were family of one of our boys. After reuniting, we began the set up for the show before doing a sound check. Everything went smoothly and we all enjoyed a potluck style dinner in our green room. Many boys swore they saw a ghost or felt a hand touch their shoulder at the Banff Springs Hotel, and recalled something that happened to this one person they had heard of. After cleaning their plates and re-hydrating, it was show time. There was a great audience that loved the music and enjoyed meeting the boys after. The tour was winding down to a great end with another fantastic concert. Tomorrow is our last show and we’re all excited to have one last hurrah for our audience in Cranbrook.