40 years ago this week I first arrived in Banff, Alberta to work at the Banff Springs Hotel and begin my love of the Rocky Mountains. For three summers I returned to Banff to work between semesters at university. In 1982 I took the train back to Ontario to start life as a grown-up. That didn’t take. My grandfather passed away a month after I returned, then Dad was gone two months later.
I got another degree, tried my hand at various jobs, in a couple different places, had one or two wonderful relationships, but ultimately, the mountains and the West called me back.
A lot has happened in those forty years, both to myself and to the towns of Banff and Lake Louise, from forest fires to avalanches, commercialism, and now the pandemic.
Once I got back ‘home’ I found myself returning to my hobby of photography and upping my game to the extent that I have photos published in 7 books, the local newspaper, 22 postcards, calendars, fridge magnets, playing cards, posters, and even Conde Naste Traveler Magazine. I’ve met more celebrities than most people outside of the entertainment industry ever do. I was even a celebrity myself, in that I was the voice of Chateau Lake Louise for much of the 90s, voicing the recorded messages callers heard when they first called the hotel or one of the departments and no one could answer immediately.
Banff and Lake Louise area have even appeared in my first novel (The Broken Shield).
I’ve hiked a few trails and climbed a few mountains, and this summer I will make my every-twenty-years pilgrimmage up Sulphur Mountain in Banff, once the park re-opens to the public. I climbed in in 1980, 2000, and now 2020.
I now live two hours away, in the suburbs of a city, but I can see the mountains from my home office and am itching to get back up there for fresh, pine-rock-and-river-scented air.
In the meantime, I will marvel at the fact that forty years has passed since I first fell in love with the mountains and twenty-nine since I moved back to the province of Alberta. Some loves go on forever and a day.