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.

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.

Whitemud Creek

If you ask people about the parks in Edmonton, you’ll hear all about Hawerlak and Rundle. Maybe even the Legislative Grounds. If you ask them about hiking in Edmonton, you’ll probably get a blank face. But Whitemud Creek has a beautiful trail running alongside it that’s a perfect walk for the family, and is a great way to forget you’re in the city for a few hours.

Troll Falls

Getting the kids out for a hike can be a challenge. I try to do my research first, but between driving and managing everyone on the trip, I may not have a chance to properly vet all of our hikes first. For adults this is ok, but taking my kids on a lacklustre hike is bad news for everyone.

Troll Falls was one that I didn’t know what to expect. A good hike for kids has a payoff destination, a place that you’re going to that’s worth going to. Troll Falls delivered. The kids even thanked me after.