Sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson is a huge Rush fan and has drawn inspiration from Rush for a number of his writings. His 1988 Rush-inspired novel Ressurection, Inc. even drew the attention of Neil Peart and the 2 have been friends ever since, even collaborating on the 1994 short story Drumbeats. Neil also wrote the introduction to Anderson's 2006 short story compilation Landscapes. The 2 friends met up when the band played at Red Rocks last month and Anderson recently blogged about the experience on his MySpace page in a post titled Rush and a Mountaintop. He first describes his history with Neil, detailing this story of their first encounter:
... Neil bicycled down to my townhouse in Livermore, CA during their “Presto” tour in 1993 (where he slept on a rickety sofa bed…these days, fortunately, we have a much more comfortable guest room). We’ve seen them on every tour since. He and I collaborated on a creepy story about a drummer bicycling through Africa, “Drumbeats,” (also recently available on Kindle and Smashwords), and we’re talking about a more extensive project. ...
A more extensive project?! Anderson then goes on to describe the concert and his hiking trip with Neil the following day:
... For the Monday night event, Rebecca and I went up early during setup to chat with Neil and his riding partner Michael for a while, watch the soundcheck, and have dinner with the band crew. Though we’ve done this quite a few times, it’s still quite a thrill. The concert was excellent, as expected, and our seats were the best in the auditorium (dead center, 6 rows up from the stage).
We drove home, exhilarated, and it took a long time to get to sleep...even though I had to get up less than five hours later for Part II of the grand scheme—taking Neil on a hike up to the summit of Mount Evans, one of the most prominent mountain peaks on the Denver skyline.
Over the years, we’ve gone up to Lick Observatory in the mountains near the San Francisco Bay, to Yosemite National Park, and other interesting places, but I was determined to get him to the summit of one of my beloved Fourteeners. Our rendezvous early the next morning was at a small 1950s-era motel in a town outside of Denver, and I drove us off to the Mount Evans Road, reputed to be the highest paved road in the US. Our trailhead started at Summit Lake (elevation 12,830), and we trudged off under beautiful weather and clear skies.
Considering Neil burns off a few thousand calories every night while drumming, he’s in excellent shape and had no difficulty making it up the trail, even with the major altitude gain. While talking, and brainstorming, and panting, we climbed up and over a line of boulders on top of a ridge and came face to face with a white-fleeced mountain goat, which unfortunately turned and fled before we could get our cameras out.
We ascended Mount Spalding (13,842’)—one of Colorado’s 100 highest peaks—on the way, and followed the rocky trail to the summit, where we had at the lunches I had packed. (I had asked the day before, “What kind of sandwich do you prefer? Peanut butter and jelly, or deli meats and cheese?” He said, “Why not one of each?” We were certainly hungry for them.) We found a shelter of boulders away from the crowds to sit for a while, then completed our loop route by taking a steeper, direct descent down scree from the summit back to the car. This trail was much shorter, and much less pleasant; I realized that I would have a great many Rush fans angry with me if Neil happened to break an ankle...fortunately, that didn’t happen. ...
You can read the entire post and check out all the great pictures at this link. Many thanks to drummerboy2112 for the heads up.