Sunday, August 1, 2021

Not awesome :-(

 What's not awesome? Returning home from vacation to find the freezer door wasn't properly shut and everything is (thankfully) cold ... but entirely defrosted. All the ice cream is a loss, and now we are dictating what the kids can eat for lunch each day to get the food eaten.  I made an emergency cobbler to use up some of the defrosted frozen berries, similarly we'll get a round of fruit leathers going tomorrow.  And a massive cook --> freeze session planned for tomorrow. Many  high quality meats will be grilled this week.  I am very grateful that we haven't lost a ton, and obviously that this is not the only food we have.

But, still, not awesome.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Vancouver finale


Our last day in Vancouver, the kids had their afternoon hour-playing-in-the-pool-because-they-can't-hide-in-the-room-all-day-like-mushrooms and even tried to skim a bit off that.  When Terry came back from work, he and I had our plans set.  We borrowed a pair of bikes from the hotel and set off to circumnavigate Stanley Park. The hotel was right around the corner and the Park is a Vancouver highlight.  The hotel estimates that it takes about an hour to bike around (including the stops) and they were spot on.  First stop: the series of totem poles - I had no idea they are unique to the coastal Pacific Northwest, ranging from Washington up through British Columbia and a bit into Alaska. We watched a seaplane gain altitude.  We caught the statues of the "girl in  wetsuit" and Harry Jerome (Canada's fastest sprinter) and the replica ship's figurehead of a dragon.  The sun glinted off the sea, the mountains were hazy in the distance.  We appreciated the tenacity of a tree growing ontop a large boulder.  We passed Third Beach, then Second Beach (where I had dragged the kids all of three days previously).  We traveled leisurely, stopping often to enjoy the views.

Thus refreshed, we dined our last night on Terry's "must do" food event, hand pulled noodles.  (Mine had been the sushi)  The server was definitely skeptical of our choices and tried to steer us towards the house specialties.  We ignored her.  Zoltan took our advice and was not the Barry.  We ordered too much and ate too much and thoroughly appreciated the meal.  We stopped by a 24 hour bakery to choose baked goods for the morning's breakfast, as we weren't sure about the time we needed to get ready, finish packing etc and get to the airport.

We should not have worried. In typical fashion, we were ready to go early.  With a sad "adieu" we promised to return, having only barely scratched the surface of Vancouver's excellence.



Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Vancouver Part II


On Wednesday the day started the same. Because I knew in advance the kids weren't doing much in the afternoon, I didn't mind when a call went over my stated end-of-workday.  And the call of course led to more work.  Another call was scheduled for a time that happened to coincide with pool time, so I took the call outside.  All in all it was an almost-full-day at work.

After work we met Terry at a highly-touted Vancouver adventure: Fly Over Canada.  The advertising for it is very alarmist about motion sickness. Given that I only learned a couple of years ago that the sick feeling I get on roller coasters is actually motion sickness, it made me nervous. Oh goodness, it's a lot of over-hype!  The experience is a lot of fun - you swoop along beautiful vistas all over the Canadian landscape as though you are riding a drone.  You're strapped into seats like a gentle roller coaster, because it does move a bit with the direction of swooping. There's water sprays when you pass snow and a few scent sprays.  All in all, totally worthwhile and a fun way to spend half an hour.

We finished the night at a Vietnamese restaurant.  We recommended to the kids the lemongrass chicken/pork/beef with rice.  Zoltan opted for a dish that turned out to be beef in a broth with carrots and radish. Needless to say, he did not enjoy the dish and it was delicious and Terry and I ended up eating most of it.  There's a TV show we're watching as a family and in a relatively recent episode a kid in the TV family goes against parental wisdom and orders a meal that is ridiculous for the venue, is expectedly not-delicious, and earns him derision from the family.  So now Zoltan has been warned to "Not be a Barry" in future ordering decisions.

We couldn't get a reservation for dinner at the highly recommended sushi restaurant we wanted to try so we settled on lunch.  That was Thursday.  We discovered when we arrived that, as I had been playing around with different days and times, and with tables for two or four, that I had made a reservation for two.  They had no tables for four available.  Um .......  Well, the kids had maps in their phones, didn't want fish anyway, and still had a fridge of meats and cheeses at the hotel.  We sent them back and stayed ourselves to enjoy the meal.  And everyone was happy.  On my way back to the hotel I checked out a pastry place and brought back treats for everyone - so even more happiness.

In the evening we headed toward Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.  This time we took the SeaBus (not at all the same thing as the AquaBus) and were able to catch some lovely views of Vancouver from the viewing platform.  Terry and I ate fish and chips that rivaled the ridiculously delicious chips place in Haydon Bridge while the kids ate burgers from the vendor next door.  We took a walk to spur our appetites, then got Earnest Ice Cream.  It had been recommended and I had no idea they had such a variety of vegan flavors. Even better, the vegan flavors were DELICIOUS (this is absolutely not always the case).  We ate the ice cream on a bench outside, where we could see a produce vendor that looked like it was starting to pack up. As we were out of fruit, we ran over and thusly brought home a second stash of goods.  Sadly they were not quite as good as the first - Four Season Farms at Granville Market for the win.

Wordless Wednesday


 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Vancouver Part I


[Disclaimer: Anything you think of to do in Vancouver, we probably didn't do it.  Terry was working, I was working, we didn't have a car, and many things were still closed. All reasons for a return trip!]

The border between B.C and Alberta opened just days before Terry's TDY (temporary work trip) to Vancouver. Having never been before, the kids and I tagged along.

We flew out on July 5, which was not a holiday in Canada so we were able to do some sightseeing. Being who we are, after dropping off our bags at the hotel we hopped an AquaBus to Granville Island where we ate our own weight and brought some home. In Alberta we're always pining over British Columbia fruit, so a visit to the produce vendor was in order. We followed the crowds walking around with bright yellow Lee's Donuts boxes and decided to splurge on a dozen.Oh. My. I had no idea donuts could be like that. We sincerely regretted buying so few and discussed going back.  We also got recommendations of other vendors to visit and decided that in addition to berries, we would stuff our mini-hotel-fridge with sliced meats and cheeses. They also make lovely lunches for the three of us spending our mornings in the hotel room* - Lynne working, kids frying their brains on TV shows and video games. 

* Note: Because of Marriott status, our regular room was upgraded in a larger room with an actual desk - critical feature for the one working half days from the hotel room.

The heat was nearly unbearable even with the help of gelato (around 75F ... we are so ruined for living anywhere else in the world), so after our shopping we were wilting and ready to hang at the hotel for a bit.  With the relaxation of COVID restrictions, the need to book certain times for the outdoor pool ended the day we checked in so kids and I headed off to the pool to cool off.

After a bit of Googling, we settled for dinner on a yakitori place not too far from the hotel.  It's been more than 20 years since Terry lived in Japan, so with our assuredly altered palates we deemed it not only delicious (it was) but authentic (it definitely seemed so). 

The next morning breakfast at the hotel consisted of eggs Benedict, bacon for Terry and smoked salmon for me.  And the eggs had the darkest most orange yolks I have ever seen, and we've been buying our eggs straight from a farm.  Thus fortified, Terry headed out to the Consulate and I to my desk.

Not gonna lie, working off a small laptop with sticky keys and no mouse is not as productive as working off my home setup.

I had grand plans for the afternoons but the kids defeated me.  I did make them accompany me across Stanley Island to Second Beach - one of Vancouver's many inner city beaches and recommended as one of the nicer.  They boycotted the water, opting instead to read under a tree just beyond the sandy area. I gave up and we headed back, although we did take the long way and linger a while by Lost Lagoon ("look, we found it!"). All future afternoons were spent by the kids inside reading or outside by the pool.  

We finished the day with a delicious dinner at Joe Fortes and began my streak of eating fish daily while in Vancouver. Mmmmmmmm.

Friday, July 16, 2021

The birdfeeder

Amazing Terry made a bird feeder from old pallet wood scraps and the plastic siding of Costco cashews.  It hangs from a tree in the front yard and my view of it sits perfectly between the two monitors on my desk.  This morning, a poor squirrel - beautifully acrobatic but sadly unknowing that the feeder is empty - has been trying to get to it.  The first attempt I only caught out of the corner of my eye as the creature went flinging back to the earth. For the she second attempt I watched it ready itself from the steps, spring into action, and cling for a few pregnant seconds onto the wooden roof/top before falling back.

I desperately wish I had caught that on video.  It seems to  have moved on now.

I take that back.  Squirrel just tried again. And apparently managed to knock a few grains off, as it has been nibbling in the ground under the feeder these last few minutes. Wandered off again. Will it return?

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Edmonton


When all our beautiful B.C. dreams fell through because the border was not in fact open the way we thought, we cast about for something else to do over the long weekend.  Still having never visited the province's capitol, we decide to use some of the Marriott points burning a hole in our pocket and head up for a weekend.

The kids begged for a trip to Canada's largest shopping mall, the West Edmonton Mall - home of stores, of course, but also an indoor amusement park, an aquarium, and a water park. Having visited an amusement park the previous day, we settled on the water park. And it was a delight! We took no photos so this will have to do.  By the time we ended our day and checked into the hotel we were beat.

Next day was what Terry and I had wanted to see in Edmonton - Elk Island National Park.  To try to draw the kids in, we downloaded the geocaching app and found a couple of caches ... but the kids were not into it. Oh well. We also had planned to go in the water at the beach, but it was super silty/dirty and cold so that was also a bit of a bust.

On the wildlife side, though, it was a spectacular home run win.

First up: bison.  The bison are a main attraction at the park, with a particular roadway known as the Bison Loop. From the parking lot within the Loop we could walk over to where there was a herd (about 50+ bison) of all mamas and babies. We kept a generously wide berth though, so didn't see much detail about what they were doing. And the babies were just little dark blobs.  As we continued on the loop, just after we had gotten into the car, we also saw a bull (male bison) who was just off the roadway. We watch him run a distance and who knew they run so awkwardly!  It was like a mix between a hop and a gallop.

We then found a picnic table where the kids could hang out and read while Terry and I took a little stroll to a lake ... that didn't actually have any water.  We went on a different path where the butterflies were continually taunting us with being really pretty but never stopping long enough to focus the camera lens. I guess they eventually got tired of that because a few did stop and let us take the pictures.

Last stop in the park (which by the way is not an island) was the beach. It reminded me a lot of the beach club near our cabin and was only slightly larger. Zoltan went in for about 5 minutes, Terry and I stood ankle deep for longer, chatting and feeling the sand and pebbles under our feet.  Then we decided to go for a wander, taking a few different trails and again leaving the kids behind to their own devices (but not electronic devices).

We watched ducks and their babies paddle about. Terry even caught a photo of a duck feeding its baby a delicious leech (ick!) We heeded one of the park signs to sit on a bench and listen to the wind and the lap of the waves.  We noted the number of fallen trees with telltale beaver gnawing signs and the number of lodges, from cozy to swanky.  We read a sign about beavers being most active at dusk and dawn and just as I finish saying "Well we're obviously not going to see anything at 2pm" we watch a young beaver swim by right in front of us!  We watched it go around a corner and it disappeared.  We continued our walk, and on the way back swung by the same spot where now the little guy was swimming in a different direction, going around a different corner, but clearly pushing a little stick. (obviously, it could have been two different beavers. But it was a pretty small one so it could have been practicing for when it's big enough to help build the lodge).

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Vancouver = Mushroom Town???

 In a conversation about how awful we are as parents for forcing her to go on vacation, Alex gave an example of a small town where there is nothing to see or do but a few mushrooms.  I told her that in 20 years I will remind her she compared Vancouver to a small mushroom town and she will apologize and buy us drinks.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Fridge battles

Alex likes having a particular place in the fridge to put her things for the next day's lunch, so she can just grab the stuff, pack it up and go.  She put a little note at one small corner but the sanctity of the space was often violated. So she put up the fridge equivalent of an orange cone.



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Vermillion, er, I mean Sylvan Lake

 Super heat wave in Alberta, so what outdoor adventure makes the most sense? Taking the canoe out, of course!  We had been by Vermillion Lakes once before and realized the only way to really experience its beauty is being on the water.

We plan to leave at 10am. I run an errand that has me home around 9:15am and Terry informs me he can't find the essential strap for ensuring the car holds the canoe securely.  We split up and continue searching.  Still no dice. I let my fingers do the walking and go online to see if a store nearby has it. The closest Canadian Tire does not but a different one across town has five in stock. We decide it's also time to get the kids life vests that fit (last year they were under 90lb, if only barely) so I grab Alex for trying them on if there are different sizes and we set off. To make a painful story shorter, there were zero of this strap in stock. How?  I dunno. It's still tender when I think about it. With Alex in the car I wasn't doing anything other than heading home and regrouping.

We decide on the next best thing - find a beach! Many of the lakes and rivers around here are glacial or otherwise deadly to try to swim in so we find one that's 1.5 hours away, and should be tolerable to immerse in.  We re-pack for swimming rather than canoeing, and off we go!

Ninety minutes later it's the worst, most crowded beach "strip" area and zero parking within the ZIP code. We can see the beach and it is wall-to-wall people there too.  It's also past lunch.  Grumpiness all around.  We drive past all that, find a place to pull over and figure out our options. There's a Provincial Park up the road with a campground! At the very least we can expect a day use area with picnic tables. Off we go!

After lunch we're all feeling a bit better. Checking the map, there is definitely water nearby - the only question is whether there is a way down to it. After a couple of fits and starts, heading the wrong direction and righting ourselves, we find the water!  There's no beach, the hill basically ends a couple of feet before the water begins, but there's a bit of dry space for our stuff and a few other groups of people along this "shoreline" to proclaim that this is a legitimate access point.

Unfortunate for our late start, we could only stay a couple of hours.  The water was pretty chilly despite being probably the warmest beach around - Zoltan kept getting blue lips and we had to make him get out and warm up.  But we splashed around, swam a bit, and looked for rocks in every color of the rainbow.  And although she'll deny ever saying this, even Alex had fun.


Saturday, June 26, 2021

The first harvest!

Just today, we pulled up a bunch of radishes partly because they were ready and partly because dinner called for them and we didn't have any (oops). The one on the bottom right is the biggest radish I think we've ever grown.  Some salad greens are also ready to pick.



Saturday, June 19, 2021

Lake Agnes Teahouse

Something I have pretty much never done before - taken a random day off from work to do something fun!  A friend was celebrating her 50th birthday and wanted to do a hike followed by a lunch with a view.

Lake Louise view from the trail

Lake Agnes lies above Lake Louise (you also pass Mirror Lake on the way up) and you start the hike from the Fairmont Lake Louise. Several other popular hikes start from here, and the parking can be impossible on weekends and/or in summer.  Thus, a weekday before schools let out was the perfect time.We also had the perfect weather, bright and sunny but not too warm.


Lake Agnes. Yes that's ice still in the lake. Yes it's mid-June.

While sitting on a bench at Lake Agnes, soaking in the view, a very cheeky chipmunk scampered onto the bench right next to me ... then into my lap!  I held my breath while mentally telling the chipmunk "please don't bite me"... when I did not immediately put food in its mouth it scampered back off. Whew!

It's a mystery why they call this one "Mirror Lake"

We finished the hike at the Fairmont, with lunch on the patio overlooking the lake. Somehow I took no photos there but be assured it was stunning. The water is still the same turquoise blue that Alex swears is a result of dye. 

Three hikes in one week!  Woooot!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Prairie Mountain

 


As said before, the family vetoes hikes with an incline. So, a little nervous about the possibility of bears, I clutched by bear spray tightly and embarked on one of the most popular hikes in the area: Prairie Mountain. I can see why folks love it - it is only an hour outside of Calgary and 7km round trip. It also covers 700m of elevation, or nearly 2300 feet, of elevation in that time. It is not for the faint of heart.

I tried my best to take many beautiful photos and they all look fake. They also don't nearly capture the view. This happens when all you have is a crappy phone camera because your husband, who wields the fancy (and heavy!) camera, decides not to join.

The summit has a perfect 360 view of mountains and the valley. For some reason my cell phone battery was dying quickly today so I didn't linger at the top past eating lunch. The parking lot for the hike is at the Elbow River so I did pop over there to dip my feet before driving home. Just a bit down the road, I saw a ton of cars pulled over on both sides and assumed there was some hiking trail with an insufficient parking lot. The camper in front of me was trying to maneuver because some of the cars hadn't pulled over all the way. Then I looked to my left and saw this handsome fellow. I pulled over (all the way) and took a couple of quick shots before heading on my merry way home.

Moose and mountains, is there a better way to spend a day?

Wordless Wednesday

 


Monday, June 7, 2021

Back to Dinosaur


We enjoyed the fall trip to Dinosaur so much we decided we wanted to spend a night or two by the hoodoos. Through determination and perseverance normally only seen when scoring concert tickets, we were able to secure the very last campsite for the dates we wanted.

When Friday rolled around, the weather promised to be erratic. Chances of rain and thunderstorms. We were going to be using our new, amazing, enormous tent and have definitely not gotten down the "set tent up in 5 minutes flat" routine we worked our way towards last summer. So, we decided to postpone until Saturday morning.

Saturday promised to be a beautiful day, but first we had to get out the door!  Camp-car-packing Tetris plus grouchy teens and tweens who would have preferred a weekend on the couch meant tempers ran medium-high. But on the road we got, and after a relatively uneventful drive (although we did see a fox sauntering across a field, as well as many examples of future delicious Alberta steaks enjoying their best lives on pasture) made our way to the camp site.  We all went into default mode with the kids getting their tent up then inflating everyone's mattresses, pitching pillows and sleeping bags into the right places while Terry and I figured out the new tent. The hammer went back and forth as everyone worked to pound the stakes in.  By the time everything was up and staked it was lunch time!

After lunch the kids had the commandment to do some hiking then they can read, play, or whatever else. Alex took off like a rocket, Zoltan decided he'd rather stay with the adults. And exploring we went.  Our goals were to climb hoodoos, take pictures, and - for Terry and me - get enough steps for our different step challenge teams to not be embarrassments.  We each ended the day around 18,000 so I guess we succeeded.  We also played a heated game of animal, vegetable, mineral where each of us managed the stump the other two. Zoltan's mineral was molybdenum, which just goes to show you that there is real education to be found in childrens' literature. 

Over dinner the first night, we were discussing the major exciting features of the new tent and Alex mentioned the large entryway so I supplied the correct word "vestibule" but she didn't hear me correctly and though I said "vegetable" so now there is a "vegetable" half open to the world just outside the sleeping part of our tent.

The second day we were all sleep-deprived because camping is loud and light. We checked out a different section of hoodoos as well as the canoe launch in case we ever wanted to come back for a float.  We cooked hot dogs for lunch and with the value of hindsight cooked food was probably not the best idea for the hottest day ever (around 75 degrees Fahrenheit).  In the afternoon we could barely stay comfortable laying in the shade.  Then Terry had a brilliant idea: the concession stand. Dinosaur Park actually has a concession stand, cafe, and in non-COVID times a whole little museum.  

We wandered over and everyone got various ice creams but I got a Slushie. Totally refreshing!

Feeling much better we lazed about until dinner and s'mores time. Having noticed the night sky the night before, we set the alarm to get up around midnight and spent some time stargazing (at least, those of us who awoke did so).

We saw numerous mule deer - a couple coming close to our campsite. We saw a robin's nest relatively low in a tree, low enough I could see the robin sitting on the eggs - the little head poking just above the edge of the nest. We saw a parent bird make many trips in and out of a hole in the tree by our camp site and when we got close we could hear the "cheep" of baby birds. No prairie dogs, which we have consistently seen in the mountains and never in the prairie.  

 


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Cake for dinner

 One of the birthday coupons the kids got last year was dessert for dinner.  Zoltan used his on something relatively mundane. Alex, on the other hand, came up with this gem.

She and Zoltan each made cakes.  

 She made the chocolate and graham cracker cakes. Zoltan made a plain white cake.  He made chocolate chiffon frosting. She made marshmallow frosting. It consumed 2 containers of Fluff and still the "marshmallow" flavor got lost in "frosting" flavor. Next time it needs less butter and powdered sugar.

She stacked and frosted the layers.  She decorated the top and sides (Zoltan helped made some of the design decisions).

This thing is both amazing and terrifying. Our slices were about 1/16 each and it was too much. I was impressed how it all came together.  The graham cracker cake is the same recipe our chef friend had used when making Alex's birthday cake 3 years ago in Frankfurt and I doubted that Alex could pull off something as moist and flavorful. I was wrong.


* Note: Terry had nothing to do with these photos

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Raising children

 This is what it is like to raise children. 


The Scene: just after lunch, at Zoltan's room

Me:  Zoltan, go downstairs and put away the mac and cheese.

Zoltan: I didn't leave it out.

 Me: Then who did? Nobody else had any.

Zoltan: It's not out.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Lusk Pass Trail


May is a challenging time for hiking in Alberta. With the thawing a number of trails are avalanche risks.  Other trails are still closed for the winter season.  Others are newly closed due to awakening bears.  Some are too muddy or still icy.  And yet others are simply too steep for our family to tackle (this one has nothing to do with the season).
 
This weekend was forecasted for spectacular weather. Sunny and 70s (20s for the Celsius crowd). We decided to hit the trail on a hike that I hadn't even heard of before Terry found it and sent it to me to check out.  About 8km of comparatively flat*, dry terrain with mountain views. Sure, sign me up!
It's a loop, so we had first to decide which way to go.  We chose clockwise, although in hindsight I would have done it the other way - when going counterclockwise you run through the destroyed-by-fire part first and have the prettier part to look forward to.  Early on in the hike we saw the first wildflowers of spring.  We are looking forward to the wildflower season in the Rockies. 
 
We think we've realized that the high elevation is part of why the sun feels hotter here. I mean we started dragging at 70 degrees. There were a number of shady spots in the first part of the hike where snow still lay on the ground, so we grabbed handfuls to melt along our necks and arms to cool off. I tried throwing a snowball but it disintegrated before reaching its target.
 

 
   * Terry has requested the disclaimer that the hike had about 300m (1000feet) of elevation so it was far from flat, but that's flat for Alberta and especially compared to what we've been trying to hike lately.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Ha Ling solo adventure

Disclaimer: Terry neither took nor edited these photos.

After last week's aborted attempt to hike Wasootch Ridge, I realized I needed conditioning - more hiking. Everyone else in the family had other plans for the day, so over the weekend I took myself to Ha Ling. First impression: wow it seems like the road to nowhere as you head towards. I worried the potholes would break the car. Second impression: I was surprised and delighted to find a parking spot in the parking lot. Third impression: nobody should hike in the mountains in April without decent ice cleats and yet a full half of my fellow travelers lacked them. As some careened down steep parts I feared I'd be knocked over like a bowling pin.


 This hike completely  kicked my behind - I played a guessing game about which body parts would be sore the next day. (Spoiler: more parts than I expected)  It was steep and challenging. All the scree at the top made me fear falling off the mountainside. During the hike, all the nice firm ice the cleats could dig into warmed up and became slush that provided no traction. The downhill was nearly as treacherous as the uphill was. It was AMAZING.

At the top, I was sitting on the rock ledge you can see on the bottom right of the above photo. The snow you see just above it is a relatively thin icing, the other side is just a massive cliff.

These are the mountains I could see during the entire hike once I got above the tree line.




Sunday, April 4, 2021

Lake Louise, Take Two

 In deciding where we will ski all of next winter, we realized that a mountain we'd visited once, on one of the coldest days in a cold place, and where we'd finished on a really sour note - was not the way to make an informed decision.  So mid-March we tried again. As we pulled into the parking lot (the third lot entrance, meaning WAAAY to the back) we realized this would be nothing like what we'd experienced before.

It was so much warmer this time that Zoltan frequently complained of overheating. We discussed getting waterproof rain pants he could wear instead of his snowpants for warmer weather skiing.  Even with a much more crowded park we never waited more than 5 minutes to get on a lift. This could definitely be because most folks come to LL to ski the black diamonds, whereas we emphatically did not. However, we did not notice long lines at the other lifts, so perhaps not.

Even Alex enjoyed herself, and she's been a pill on ski trips since she came out of quarantine. I'm whispering this to avoid her notice in hopes she continues to enjoy skiing. 

I still think I prefer Sunshine, with its much wider range of greens and blues (recognizing the kids will likely move to blacks after a few more lessons) and its super fun powder. At this point, what we do next year is anyone's guess!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Elbow Trail to Snagmore Loop

 


Between skiing, bad weather, and some foolish promises to the kids, we have not hiked much lately. For this trip we had the constraints of needing to be relatively close to home and some cell service. We left the kids at home and hit Bragg Creek.

Ice cleats were 100% necessary, as the melting/freezing cycle was in full swing and the half of the path that wasn't a muddy mess was sheets of ice.  I started the hike wearing: T shirt, long sleeved T shirt, merino wool sweater, fleece, waterproof shell, hat and mittens.  I ended the hike wearing: Tshirt and shell. definitely tested the boundaries of my new backpack as I stuffed layer after layer in as we, and the world, warmed up.

It was a lovely little walk in the woods. There are some great mountain views along the ridge (which we encountered first, having gone the counterclockwise route) and the rest of the trail is foresty. We watched a couple of squirrels have their lunch - I'd never actually seen them eat before. The trail is very, very well marked, which is always a huge gold star in my book.