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Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 46, 47 and 50: Canmore Folk Festival

We had come from the place where the west was won. And now we were looking for a place to settle down for a week or so...Catch our breath after 45 days on the road. We arrived in Cochrane - a town that bills itself as "how the west is now." Nothing against you, Cochrane, but if this was now, we were more in the mood for then.

We turned left along the Bow River Valley and before long, we were seeing those Rockies for a second time. A strange sort of nostalgia set in...Like coming home to something utterly other-worldly yet at the same time, hauntingly familiar. Through a corridor of smoky working coal mines set in the most astounding splendour imaginable we wound our way west, ending up in Canmore. We pulled into a Coney Island style RV park that was packed to the gills, save for a tiny little RV hamlet situated far off the main grounds alongside a creek, and with one little space still free. We signed on the dotted line without a moment's hesitation. Canmore...how OUR west was now.

The crowds were not only due to mid-summer madness. We had also stumbled straight into the annual Canmore Folk Music Festival. This was going to be fun. But first, there was a mountain of laundry to do at the buzzing town laundromat. There were Olympics to catch up with on the big screen of the Grizzly Paw bar and resto, where they brew their own ales. And there were hundreds of very fit cyclists streaming into town as they hit the final leg of a Bicycle Race through the Rockies...We gawked in wonder as these muscled and muddied folk reached the finish line on Canmore's main drag and, exhausted, went off for an ice cream.

Of course, the highlight of our Canmore sejour was the folk fest itself...That, and eating at the tiny hole in the wall, Thai It Up, which not only has the best Thai food this side of Moose Jaw, but also boasts the Canmore Iron Chef title for 2012.

But back to that folk fest...The opening street party introduced us to the barefooted Australian singer songwriter Kim Churchill, and impressed we were! A virtuoso on the guitar and the mouth organ, we loved his energy and we loved his songs...This guy is going to be BIG.

At the three day main event in an idyllic setting in the middle of Canmore, we got to come face to face with Ian Tyson for a second time in a week, and enjoyed a host of other great performers. Midway through the last day we took a break from music to watch the Canadian women's soccer team lose their controversial match against the USA at the Canmore Hotel bar...All in all, a good few days in this lively little mountain resort.