Mark is turning 17 this year on Victoria Day long weekend. I had suggested we head to Edmonton and go to the mall, grab dinner on Bourbon Street, and you know the routine. Oliver was ecstatic and overjoyed. Mark sat there, took everything in and said, “how about we go camping?”. Oliver looked crushed.
We have a lot of discussions around the house that start with, “Okay, which direction do we go then? North, south, east, or west?” Prince Albert National Park is north. Elk Island National Park was west. Winnipeg was the east option. South was Grasslands National Park.
I like the idea of Prince Albert National Park but not on the long weekend. It is both too busy and not enough stores or restaurants open yet. Elk Island was inviting but no one was feeling it. Winnipeg is a good idea but I didn’t feel like driving that far for the weekend. Neither did Wendy or Mark. So it is Grasslands National Park and a few days of hiking ahead of us. Hopefully we don’t get charged by a bison or bit by a rattlesnake.
The next trip is going to be a more complicated one. We are spending July 1st in Yoho National Park at Lake O’Hara exploring one of the most beautiful spots on earth. It is restricted access and you aren’t allowed to drive into it. The initial plan was to camp in there but after looking at what the campground is like (really, really small), we are going to stay in Lake Louise and drive into Yoho National Park for the first bus every morning and take the last one out every night.
If you are wondering why Wendy and I are working our butts off at the gym four days a week, it is to prepare ourselves for this trip and the climbing it will entail.
Later in August, we are planning to hit the road for a more traditional family holiday in Banff and Yoho again. The logistics of this trip are still being worked out but right now it is a bit of a makeup trip after I got so sick last summer and almost didn’t go. I was too weak to much of anything until our last full day there.
- Sunday: Drive to Exshaw, Alberta and hike Jura Canyon and then push on and make camp at the Johnston Canyon campground
- Monday: Hike up to Lake Agnes Tea House: Order a tea, drink a tea, and the push on and climb the Big Beehive. Feel like a bunch of bad asses for climbing two mountains.
- Tuesday: Back to Lake Louise and head to The Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. Order a tea, drink a tea and then push on to see some receding glaciers and then explain to Mark and Oliver the realities of climate change is destroying the earth.
- Wednesday: Rockbound Lake near Castle Mountain. The tea houses are all about Wendy. This is Mark’s hike.
- Thursday: Get up early and head into Yoho where we will hike to Twin Falls Tea House. This is what happens when Wendy picks the hikes. The destinations all end in a “cup of tea”
- Friday: Oliver and I are picking out the attraction on this day. We want to take the A Walk in the Past hike in Yoho National Park. It is a hike littered with old steam engines and boilers that exploded on the mountain and were tossed aside and are still there. I told Oliver this is where the remains of Thomas the Tank Engine rest. This is what happens in the real world when you upset Sir Toppenhat.
- I have no idea what Saturday will bring. Mark and I were looking at options and all of them had large amounts of grizzly bears on the trail during the time when we are going to visit. It may need some more work.
Finally Wendy and I are married for 20 years this fall. We are going to spend a week in Banff with just the two of us at the Siding 29 Lodge. We don’t have much for plans other than we are going to hike up Tunnel Mountain on our anniversary.
Neither one of us have hiked around Banff so we tentatively have plans to check out Lake Minnewanka and some ghost towns around Banff. When I add all of these up, it’s about 70 kilometers in hikes. Our most ambitious year ever.