Grotto Canyon in Winter

This is our second (or third) time hiking this trail. The trail has a 10 minute (25 with young children) hike along a powerline to the start of the canyon. Pretty boring. The first time we came, the kids were much younger and barely made it to the start of the canyon before we turned back.

The second time, we actually made it in to the canyon, and up to the waterfalls. This year we went a ways beyond the falls, past the inuksuk gardens and cave. We’ve got this marked to revisit in the summer. Maybe we’ll bring enough candy to bribe our kids all the way to the top.

My Fall Break

The kids had what the school calls a “fall break.” A five-day weekend in the middle of November. I called it the perfect opportunity to leave them with Mom while I found some adventures.

Siffleur Falls

We wanted more hikes before the end of summer, so we planned a one-day adventure out by Saskatchewan Crossing: Siffleur Falls. Driving past the other hot-spots on the David Thompson that morning, we kept seeing signs that the trailheads were all overflowing. But we pressed on, hopeful that we’d still be able to park once we got there.

Thankfully, the trailhead was busy, but not overflowing. Siffleur Falls is the kind of hike that is overwhelmed by smokers with teacup dogs. It’s got a gentle, nearly non-existent elevation gain that makes it popular with those that are looking for maximum payoff and minimum effort. “Can I do it in my flip-flops?”

Which makes it so worthwhile to push on past the crowd of people at the falls, on to the less populated part of the trail beyond. That’s where you’ll get great views of the peaks above the canyon.

Bow Valley from Tunnel Mountain

Banff and the Bow Valley from the summit of Tunnel Mountain.
Banff and the Bow Valley from the summit of Tunnel Mountain.

They said that Banff was quieter because of the pandemic. Fewer international tourists. We don’t often visit Banff in July or August, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it seemed uncomfortably busy all things considered.

With a couple of (pre) pre-teens always on our tails, we’ve had to compromise on the locations of our hikes this year. However, we’ve had good success with some family-friendly hikes that are still new to us.

A man of discerning tastes

In 1986 my mother brought home two boxes: one full of envelopes, the other full of papers. She had a job for me, I was to stuff the envelopes with the papers/brochures (I can’t remember which), and lick them shut. I would be paid a penny for each, and there were literally thousands of them. I toiled away over many days that summer, eventually finishing the job. Weeks later, my mom brought home my pay, $20.00. A princely sum for an 8-year-old in 1986.

I was far from a tastemaker or influencer when I was eight. I always seemed to be behind the curve on whatever was coming down the pipe for kids my age, whether it was Airwolf or trading cards. I was even blindsided by Nintendo, not realizing that was a thing until way too late.

A friend’s brother had this t-shirt, and it was easily the coolest thing ever for a kid in the third grade.

While I wasn’t on the cutting edge of pop-culture at the time, I did have an appreciation for quality when I saw it, and Garbage Pail Kids was an instant must-have for me. Cabbage Patch Kids was a huge thing in 1986, and Topps created this parody of the dolls in response to the doll’s too-expensive licensing fees.

I begged my mother for some, but she steadfastly refused to spend money on such rubbish. “They’re disgusting,” she admonished me.

The only place you could get them was at a shady, dirty, arcade/candy store. In hindsight, it should have been a second home for me, but a lack of disposable income held me back. But not so, when I had all of that envelope money in my hand.

I quickly made my way to the store, money in hand, and Garbage Pail Kids stickers in mind. My disappointment that they were sold out was short-lived. As was the $20. I wasted no time in changing it in for a soda, some candy, and about 72 quarters. 20 Minutes later I walked out, worried what my mother would say about my squandered fortune (she was not impressed).

But 34 years later, I get the last laugh. For just $28.95, I get to own all of them. All things come to he who waits.

Now I just need to keep my kids away from this trash.

Red and Black Lumberjack

…With the hat to match.

A few years ago I passed by a store that had the Woolrich logo on display in the window. I grabbed a picture of it (since lost) because I loved how they used the red and black check pattern for their logo, and combined it with a really modern sans-serif signature.

I’ve been quietly obsessed with it since. I even have plans to do a vehicle wrap with the pattern in the next year.

Anyways, this weekend I was back in that town and picked up a couple of Woolrich shirts. I’ve been on a flannel kick lately, so why not go with the classics?

Pictured above is the tag from one of the shirts. Digging around on their site and social media, I see they’re making great use of the pattern, balancing a fine line between classic/heritage and modern/relevant. This gallery from their Instagram has some great examples of how they balance the two.

The final picture in the gallery — the building exterior — is just what I’m thinking.

Kelowna Ribfest

One summer, while in Kelowna, I stumbled across my first BBQ joint. There I discovered two things that have stuck with me since: Boylan’s Cola, and smoked ribs. Since then I’ve owned three smokers, and have deliberately worked to perfect my ribs, getting them to my complete satisfaction.

I was back in Kelowna one summer and got invited to Ribfest. Different crews show up and compete to make the best BBQ, taking home trophies and bragging rights. There’s a whole art to proper BBQ; I know enough about it to appreciate it, even if I can’t compete on that level.

A New York State of Mind

We spent five days in Manhattan, and despite never sleeping more than 5 hours a night, it wasn’t enough time there. We loved New York. I’ve posted 21 photos here, but my actual selects from our trip are probably closer to 70.