We have a lot of gear for our backcountry hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin but we don’t really have a lot of stuff to more traditionally camp with. Today while I was in Wal-Mart, I saw some cook sets for the family that were reasonably priced but then I realized that we have travel mugs and some stainless steel beer mugs already. So I bought a travel container and seven lightweight melamine plates for $5. I then went to Dollarama and bought four melamine bowls for $2. So rather than spending $49, I spent 7 and got exactly what I would have had to pay $50 for. I’ll call that a win.
They won’t get used this year but they will be used a lot next year. It feels good to have them checked off the to-do list.
While we were out today, we bought Jordon a pair of hiking boots. That wasn’t that hard. He just wanted 3/4 cut hikers which gave us a fair amount of options.
He will use it to shoot Mark’s football this fall with and maybe some wildlife. I hope he likes it. Of course Mark is super excited as it means that he gets Jordon’s older Sigma 70-210 lens. He sees it as a win-win.
They also ordered Jordon a 65 litre backpack for our trip to Grey Owl’s cabin. It’s big enough that we can pack Oliver in it and have room to spare.
It is Jordon’s day off today. I took it off to hang out with him. After the boys were off to school, we went for coffee at City Perk and then grabbed lunch at the Spring Roll on 33rd. This afternoon we are off for a long walk as Jordon tried out his new lens and then to Broadcast House where Jordon does his 5:15 roundtable with David Kirton and Cynthia Block.
Jordon and I both got some toques to sleep in. It will get down to 6 degrees at night so we needed some toques and glove to sleep in. Jordon has a couple pair of lightweight gloves but I still need a pair of those.
We got some travel containers for liquids. I have bio-degradable soap but I needed some bottles to carry it in. I can also pack up some bio-degradable shampoo. We all like clean hair.
Along with some containers for the liquids, Jordon picked up some pot scrubbers. I wasn’t even thinking of those but since we are cooking out of the same pots and don’t want to carry dirty ones, the couple of ounces it weighs will be worth it.
Dawgs has an outlet store in Circle Centre Mall so we picked up a pair of their men’s Spirit Shoes for Mark. Jordon and I have a pair and they will be comfortable to slip into at the end of a day of hiking. We picked up a pair for Oliver as well. At $8, the price can’t be beat.
Finally we picked up what will the start of our First Aid Kit. It has the essentials but I am going to put them in a larger hard plastic waterproof case that will hold some Extra Strength Advil and Tylenol, some moleskin and other things that will come in helpful if we need it.
The second is a summer vacation to Calgary at the end of July. Jordon was born in Edmonton but still considers Calgary his hometown despite only living there for less than a decade as a kid. I think it is a combination of childhood experiences and memories combined with his one way bromance with Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Oh yeah, the Rocky Mountains.
When we started to think about a trip this summer, I realized that we have a lot of AirMiles accumulated. AirMiles are the only reason why we continue to be treated poorly by the Bank of Montreal (which took a year to fix Jordon’s debit card so it would not randomly lock him out of his account). We are using the AirMiles to pay for our hotel which makes for a really cheap trip.
The plan is to take off in the early morning of a Friday and let the kids sleep in the back of the car. We will take the leisurely drive to Drumheller and take some photographs of their rather scenic downtown and give the kids some time to stretch their legs. Hopefully be in Calgary by early afternoon and book into our hotel. As soon as we get settled in, we will grab our cameras and head downtown on the LRT and explore downtown Calgary, find the Peace Bridge, check out The Bow, and wander around downtown Calgary. If I know us, we will be right back down there to do some night photography.
The next morning the plan is to get up early and take the scenic route to Banff and then head straight to Johnston’s Canyon Trail and walk the trail along the seven waterfalls. Knowing us, we will have cameras in tow and I am really looking forward to doing this again and with the boys. It’s about a two hour hike which will leave us lots of time to explore Banff later on in the day.
After the hike, the plan is to continue up the Bow Valley Parkway to the Chateau Lake Louise where we will grab lunch and head back to Banff. Hopefully we will see some wildlife along this section of the park.
On the way back to Banff, we will grab lunch at a wonderful picnic spot at the start of the Sawback Trail. It has some quiet picnic tables, a babbling brook, and amazing scenery. The first time Jordon took me there, a large herd of elk surrounded our car and licked all of the salt off it. It was covered in Elk saliva, even under the door handles. Gross. I hope that doesn’t happen again. If it does, I’ll get the boys to open my door.
The brook in Sawback and water running off the canyon walls of Johnston’s Canyon have a rich history with Jordon. He has drank both of them and gotten really sick from Giardia as a kid. Hopefully he has learned something since then but it’s Jordon so expect him to be hospitalized in Calgary.
After Johnston’s Canyon, we are off to Cave and Basin National Historical Site which in all of my trips to Banff, I have never been to. The last time we were in Banff it was being renovated and updated. It’s now open, improved, and dirt cheap to explore. Jordon loves it and can’t wait to take the boys and myself into the cave and see the glowing water. It should be amazing. Since we are there on a Saturday, we may stay late and return there for a lantern tour of the caves.
If we have time, it will be up the Banff Gondola again. I have been up a few times in winter but never in the summer. It will be a long day but there is always time for the Bow Falls in Banff. July weather will mean a little more green than in this photo Jordon took in 2010.
To end the day, Mark suggested we will head to the Upper Banff Hot Springs for a hot soak in the pool before heading back to Calgary.
After soaking in the hot tub that night, the next morning should find us at Heritage Park. I have never been but it looks amazing and a lot of fun. Jordon won’t tell me why but he says to bring some extra small change along when we go.
Finally on our last day there we will take in the Calgary Zoo. I’m not worried about Jordon in Banff, downtown Calgary, or even in Drumheller but he has this fear of birds. Calgary Zoo has a bird house. Jordon kind of freaked out the last time he was there. We’ll have our cameras out this time.
As always we will connect with some friends, family, and MEC and since it is right next door, The Camera Store.
Here is a list of things I have resolved to do better in 2015. Wish me luck.
Invest in better pens
I like to write things on paper. Paper smells good, I like the way my hand feels moving across the page, I like how my handwriting unfurls while I think. And I particularly like to write with a uni-ball® Vision Needle™ Rollerball Pen. Anyway, this is not a crazy expensive pen. Why do I own anything else? I hereby refuse to purchase any other pen. Up yours, inferior pens.
Carry less crap.
They make enormous purses now, which is convenient if you need to transport a giant canned ham or a human head. But do I need a mirrorless camera, a book, a notepad, and three kinds of lip balm to grab a cup of coffee? I need to cut back on the stuff I am carrying and stop being a pack horse for Mark and Oliver (who are old enough to carry their own crap around).
I’m writing this by candle light. You feel sexier just reading that. Candles in 2015.
Listen to More Music
I love music, but in the past I rarely made time for it. I can’t get much done if there’s music playing, because I stop what I’m doing to listen. So lately, I’ve just been listening to music and failing to get stuff done. Worth it. Here is to getting less done in 2015.
We were going to do this in 2013 but with Jordon quitting his job at The Lighthouse and trying to figure out what we wanted to do when we grew up, it got cancelled. In 2014 I wasn’t feeling that great so here we are, 2015 the year that Mark, Jordon, and I walk the back country trails to Grey Owl’s Cabin. It’s not quite the same as Wild but it will be fun.
I have some great friends that I do a horrible job of reaching out to. It’s been a long term failing of mine and it sucks but I am going to be a better friend in 2015 than I have before.
So what are you resolved to do better in 2015?
Jordon posted his resolutions here and Mark posted his over here.