Thursday, May 17, 2018

What do your Jeans say about you? (Review for the Outdoor Mom)

What do your jeans say about you? Are you a "take control" kind of girl who has to keep her life meticulously balanced and in order? Maybe you're creative and funny, always looking to try something new.

An outdoor gal needs a pair of jeans to fit her active lifestyle

I recently discovered a fun "Denim Personality Profile" and mine pretty much nailed it on the head:

"She likes her coffee black and doesn’t need an ‘extra hot, no foam, half sweet chai tea latte’ to start her day. This woman shamelessly binge watches quirky comedies on television on the weekends, but also enjoys her nights out with the girls. She has a great fashion sense but finds comfort a priority and doesn’t go out of her way to stray from her favourite pair of jeans." (Quote: Mark's Clothing Store)

And while I do actually put a bit of milk and honey in my coffee, comfort is always paramount to me! In fact most days I look like I'm off to a yoga class (even if I'm going out for dinner!)

Jeans designed for walking, playing, and exploring

Three Things that Matter to Me when Choosing new Denim

Priority 1: Stretchy Fabric 

Can your jeans do this?
I used to have a pair of capris length jeans that I loved, but I pretty much had to lie down on the bed to get the zipper done up. They had absolutely no stretch. And while they fit (once they were on,) I definitely wouldn't have done anything active in them. They finally met their end one day when I bent over - and as you can imagine with jeans that have no stretch to them - they ripped.

Fast forward a couple of years and I just received two fabulous pairs of jeans from Mark's Clothing Store. They are both from the Silver Jeans Co. and are incredibly stretchy. I have both the Suki Straight Jeans along with the Elyse Capris Jeans. (All photos in this story are of these two pairs of jeans)

I can put either pair of jeans on in the morning without worrying about what my day holds. If my son wants to go for a walk after school, to go play in the river, to play a round of disc golf (which involves a lot of bending over and running,) or even wants to go for a casual bike ride, I'm good. I can do all of these activities in either pair of jeans in total comfort. - Which is important to me because I don't have the time or energy for endless fashion changes through the day!

Jeans need to be able to go camping 

Priority 2: Soft Comfortable Fabric 

I used to have a pair of jeans that I referred to as my "I have to take off my yoga pants to go out for dinner, so I'm going to put on these super tight uncomfortable scratchy but fashionable jeans" 

Seriously, I hated putting on those jeans. The fabric wasn't soft (even after washing them dozens of times,) and they never became comfortable after a couple of years of wearing them.

Who cares about fashion if you're uncomfortable and are counting down the minutes till you can go home and rip off your clothes??

Fast forward to my new Silver brand jeans from Mark's Clothing Store, and it feels like they are made of silk. From the first time I put them on, it felt as if I'd been wearing them for years. They were already "broken in" and super comfy. - And that's what matters to me when I get a new pair of pants!

Jeans should be comfy enough to take camping 

Priority 3: The Right "Fit" 

The right fit matters with denim
At 5"5 I'm not exactly what you'd call "tall." Many pants that come in generic sizes (size 7, size 9, etc.) are either too long for me in the legs, or don't fit in the waist.

I appreciate that the jeans I just got from Mark's Clothing Store had separate waist and length sizing. I was able to choose a length that allows me to go for a walk (without my pants dragging on the ground,) and to choose a waist size that's comfortable.

Mark's sells 126 different pairs of jeans for women. Amongst this selection, you can choose your length, waist size, and style. Do you want long jeans or capris length ones for summer? Do you want them skinny, straight, cropped (slightly shorter in length - on purpose,) boot cut... - and the list goes on. (It was actually a little overwhelming when I was in the store shopping.) 

And then beyond style, you can choose how you want your jeans to fit in the waist. I personally like mine to ride a little higher (and not on my hips,)  but that's my choice. You might want your jeans fully over your belly button or you might want them lower. Mark's even has options for "curvy women."

The variety you'll find at Mark's is above and beyond anything you'll find at a generic women's clothing store. This is your "specialized" denim store with experts on hand to help you choose the perfect fit for your  body.

Jeans that fit my daily life 

Now, the only remaining question for you, my fellow outdoor loving women: Who's going shopping?

Disclaimer: I received two pairs of jeans from Mark's Clothing Store as part of their spring promotional campaign. As always, all words and opinions are my own. (You could never pay me to wear or endorse uncomfortable jeans.)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

5 Reasons to Love Camping at the Bow Valley Campground, Kananaskis

We just returned from another great camping weekend in Bow Valley Provincial Park, and once again were reminded how much we love the Bow Valley Campground. Thank goodness we're returning in less than a month!

My Little Adventure Man loves camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park 

While there are many reasons to love Bow Valley Provincial Park in general, we especially love camping at the large Bow Valley Campground and have found it to have absolutely everything we could need for a comfortable weekend away from home.

Our riverside campsite at the Bow Valley Campground 

Introduction to the Bow Valley Campground 

When you pull off the TransCanada Highway at the Exshaw turnoff (Highway 1X,) you'll quickly come to an intersection where you'll turn left to get to the Bow Valley Campground. Turn right and you'll enter the Willow Rock Campground. (See the map here.)

We've camped at Willow Rock before, but we prefer the main Bow Valley Campground because you can make reservations in advance (Willow Rock is first come first serve,) and because the power sites for trailers are much nicer at Bow Valley. The only sites with power at Willow Rock are up beside the highway in the middle of a very windy field. - If you're a tenter though who hates making reservations, you will definitely want to check out Willow Rock.

Camping at Willow Rock Campground, Bow Valley Provincial Park

Once you've turned left off Hwy 1X, you'll pass by the Bow Valley Information Centre and the Middle Lake Day Use Area before turning right towards the main campground. Go straight instead and you'd head towards other day use areas and the Elk Flats Group Campground. (again, here is a map.)

Bow Valley Provincial Park covers a very large area and actually extends down Highway 40 towards Barrier Lake and Kananaskis Village as well. Within the Bow Valley Campground section of the park though you'll find multiple day use areas, hiking trails, a scenic walking path beside the Bow River, a paved bike path, and a beautiful little lake.

Biking past Middle Lake in Bow Valley Provincial Park

And now that you know "where" the Bow Valley Campground is, let me tell you "why" you'll want to find it and go camping here.

5 Reasons to Love Camping at the Bow Valley Campground

1. You can bike or hike all over the large campground and park

Within the Bow Valley Campground section of the provincial park you will find two day use areas (one with barbecue stoves,) 6 easy hiking trails, and 1 paved bike path. Cross the road into Willow Rock and you'll find another hiking trail (easily accessible from the campground by bike.)

There are hiking trails and walking paths close to every loop and campsite. Bring bikes and you could spend all day riding to the various trailheads without ever having to drive anywhere.

You can see a map of the hiking trails here or you can read about the trails here.

Hiking along the boardwalk on the Many Springs Trail 

Want to do a big loop around the campground? Try this combination of trails below:

  • Bike or walk to the Middle Lake Day Use Area and then complete the 2 km loop around the lake. (It's a very easy, flat walk) Make sure you lock your bikes up here if you rode over. The park does not allow bikes on their hiking trails.

  • From Middle Lake, leave bikes behind and  then continue on foot along the Elk Flats Trail (through the Elk Flats Group Campground) to the Many Springs Parking Lot. This is a 2 km trail with a few short rolling hills.

  • Walk around the Many Springs Loop, 1.3 km in distance, a highlight of the park's hiking trails. And if you time your visit right, you should be able to see a wide variety of wildflowers including several different kinds of orchids. (The flowers should be in bloom by late May to early June.) Look out for Western Wood Lilies as well through late June.

  • Back at the Many Springs Parking Lot, follow the trail down towards the river  and the Whitefish Day Use Area (the one with barbecue stoves.) Here you'll get on the Bow River Trail (2 km in distance.) This is a beautiful trail and we always try to get one of the riverside campsites you'll see on this section of your walk.

  • The Bow River Trail ends at the far end of the campground where you'll hop onto the Moraine Trail, 1 km in distance. This trail climbs back up to Middle Lake and we found a geocache on our last visit.

  • Back at Middle Lake, grab your bikes and head back to your campsite.In total, you will have done approximately 8.5 to 9 km of hiking (and the kids should be tired out.)

  • And if you don't want to start at Middle Lake, just hop onto the loop from the Bow River Trail in the campground and continue from there. You can start and end the loop anytime you want.

Resting at the Whitefish Day Use Area

And, here below is a map of the hiking trails mentioned for those who need a visual. I copied the map out of the book:  Popular Day Hikes in Kananaskis by Gillean Daffern - a fabulous book that I highly recommend if you plan on spending a lot of time in Kananaskis this summer.

And you can see the location of the campground (look for the black tent) in the image below as well.

Map of the trails around the Bow Valley Campground (photo: Gillean Daffern)

The trails above can be done individually as well or as point to point hikes (Middle Lake to Many Springs for example.) We especially like the Bow River Trail as an evening walk from our campsite (which was pretty much on top of the trail on our recent camping trip.)

One of our previous campsites beside the Bow River Trail 

And for families with little ones, most of the trails in the park are chariot-friendly. The Many Springs Loop is especially good (and wide) for chariots. Some of the trails have a lot of roots (the Bow River Trail for example) so the entire loop could be a bit rough at times, but would still be doable. And if you want a very smooth trail, there's always the paved bike/walking trail (see below.)

Early spring hiking on the Many Springs Trail (not normally this flooded)

And, looking for a good bike trail?

Make sure you head out for a ride on the paved bike path that starts from the camp store and heads down to the visitor centre. You'll climb to a beautiful viewpoint and then blast downhill to the visitor centre (where my husband sometimes meets us so that we don't have to bike back up to camp.)

The trail is just over 4 km one way, and kids will want gears on their bikes for the hill climbing (or will have to walk a few sections.)

The paved Bow Valley Bike Trail 

2. Many of the sites are very scenic with river views 

The photo below shows the site we've had for the last couple of camping trips to Bow Valley. Views aren't bad, are they!

Riverside camping at the Bow Valley Campground

We love the riverside sites with power, gorgeous views, and trees surrounding us. This is real camping here! No concrete RV park, no city noise, and plenty of space between neighbors.

The only noise you'll hear is from the trains that pass through the Bow Valley, so bring earplugs if you are sleeping in a tent. They don't bother us in our trailer.

Plenty of room for the trailer, a table and firepit, and the hammock

3. We love that we can reserve a campsite in the Bow Valley

Why is it such a big deal that we can reserve a site at the Bow Valley Campground?

Of the 5 front country campgrounds in Bow Valley Provincial Park, only two take reservations. And the other one that does, Lac Des Arcs, only guarantees you a site in the campground (not a specific site.) This would be frustrating for families wanting to book sites beside friends. And I like being able to choose which site I'll be in. (Not all sites are equal after all.)

Therefore, if you like to reserve your site, knowing you'll have a place to camp when you drive out Friday night, the Bow Valley Campground it is!

We like the peace of mind of knowing we have a campsite before we drive out

We also love that we can book a site with power at the Bow Valley Campground for our trailer. (And more importantly, there is less generator noise this way too!)

Of the campgrounds in the Bow Valley, there are 3 that have sites with power. The Bow River Campground doesn't take reservations though and Willow Rock, as already mentioned earlier, doesn't take reservations either - and only has power sites up by the highway.

So if you want a nice power site in a reservable campground, the Bow Valley Campground it is!

It's nice to have a campsite with power for early spring trips 

4. The Campground is a short drive from other areas and trails in Kananaskis

Below are just a few things you can do from your base camp at the Bow Valley Campground (if you're willing to go for a short little drive.)

  • Walk or drive across the road into the Willow Rock Campground and hike the Flowing Water Trail

  • Go for a hike on the Heart Creek Trail in the Bow Valley

  • Go rock climbing at nearby Heart Creek or at Wasootch Creek off Highway 40

  • Go for a hike at Barrier Lake off Highway 40 (the Prairie View Trail is beautiful in spring)

  • Hike up the lower slopes of Mount Yamnuska to a viewpoint called Raven's End

Prairie View Hiking Trail, Bow Valley Provincial Park 

Visit the Alberta Parks website for information on all of these trails.

Information on the Raven's End hike can be found here.

Yamnuska Hiking Trail to Raven's End

And, if you'd like a good guide book for the area, consider one of the following books:

- Kananaskis Country Trail Guide (Volume 3) by Gillean Daffern

- Popular Day Hikes in Kananaskis by Gillean Daffern

Amazon Affiliate Links

Spring hike on the Flowing Water Trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park

5. We love the close proximity to Canmore and Banff

If you want to explore the trails around Canmore, you'll most likely want to camp in Bow Valley Provincial Park. Otherwise, you'll be camping inside the town of Canmore itself (which I wouldn't exactly consider "nature camping."

Camp in the Bow Valley and spend your days exploring the trails around Canmore

We also love exploring around the Town of Banff from Bow Valley Provincial Park. Camp inside the national park itself and you'll have to make a reservation back in January (a little early for me,) and you'll also be camping on concrete if you want a power site near town.

Camp in the Bow Valley and drive to Banff for the day

Drive to Canmore or Banff and you can spend some time biking, hiking, playing at bike or skate parks, visiting the Banff hot springs or riding up the Banff gondola.

Personally, I like driving into one of the two mountain towns even just to have lunch or to grab a good cup of coffee.

Hiking in Canmore! Ha Ling Peak Summit

Bonus Reason 6. We love how close we are to Calgary 

Bow Valley Provincial Park is easy to get to Friday evening after work. We can even have dinner at camp.

Camp close to home and you can always call it quits early too if something goes wrong, somebody gets sick, or the weather turns bad. (Something that gives me peace of mind when we go camping early in spring.)

And, it's easy to get home early on Sunday in time to do some errands, get groceries for the week, or even tackle a bit of yard work.

You could even reserve your site for Sunday night as well and come home early Monday morning.

Camp close to home and spend more time exploring, and less time driving

Visit the Alberta Parks website for more information on camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park.

Campsites can be reserved at the Bow Valley Campground 90 days in advance of your first night camping. And if you don't want to reserve, there are several campgrounds that are first come first serve. (Good news for long weekends!)

Parting shot: Families exploring around the Bow Valley the Campground

Disclaimer: I am an Alberta Parks Ambassador. I received complimentary camping at the Bow Valley Campground. As always, all words and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

First Summits for Families in the Canadian Rockies

We've been climbing mountains as a family since my son was too young to walk. We started with hikeable peaks we could carry a baby up, moved on to toddler summits, and then slowly walked our way higher each year.

First Summits for Families in the Canadian Rockies (Photo from Little Lougheed, Kananaskis)

I'm going to start with the best first summits in the Canadian Rockies for toddlers and preschoolers walking on their own feet.

If you are carrying a baby or toddler, I'd suggest starting with these hikes as well to get your footing and balance established before moving on to other hikes featured in this story.

I also ask that you pay special attention to the final section of this guide (scroll to the bottom) on safety, disclaimers, recommended guide books, and recommended tips.

Climbing the mighty Tunnel Mountain in Banff (age 4)

First Summits for Toddlers and Preschoolers

I wrote a story for Calgary's Child Magazine that features many of the best "first summits" for families with young children.

Banff Gondola hike to the summit of Sulphur Mountain

These are also great hikes for all families who might be new to hiking, new to scrambling mountains, and wanting to start small. They are great easy hikes if you have family in town visiting over the summer as well.

The story can be found here:  Go Climb a Mountain! Family-friendly First Summits 

Bear's Hump Hike, Waterton Lakes National Park

Featured hikes include:

7 years of climbing up to the Old Fort Point Viewpoint in Jasper 

Chairlift, Gondola, and Tramway Accessible Summits 

It's not easy to hike up a mountain with young kids, gaining 700 or more metres of height. Why not take a gondola or chairlift if you can to assist with the slog up the lower slopes. (where you'd be in the trees the whole time on endless switchbacks.)

Hiking to the Summit of Whistlers Mountain in Jasper after taking the Jasper Tramway

We love the alpine hike to the top of the Whistlers Mountain Summit in Jasper. You can reach the gorgeous summit with less than 250 metres of height gain, on a short 2.4 km round trip hike. And by taking the Sky Tram, you'll save 950 metres of climbing! That's right, without the tramway ride there is 1200 metres of height gain! So this is a real mountain summit you're reaching!

Read more about the hike to the summit of Whistlers Mountain here:  Family-friendly Summits in Jasper National Park 

There are spectacular views en route to the summit of Whistlers Mountain

Other Recommended Reading: 

Go Climb a Mountain! Family-friendly First Summits  (which includes the Banff Gondola)

First Summits - Polar Peak, Fernie Alpine Resort (Chairlift accessible hiking in Fernie, BC) 

Sunshine Village in Summer (lift accessed hiking and great view points in Banff )

Memorable Hiking and Sightseeing at the Lake Louise Gondola (lift accessed hiking and great viewpoints in Banff )

Lift Accessed Hiking at the Lake Louise Ski Resort

And while we haven't done this one as a family yet, there is also a sightseeing gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, BC. I rode the gondola up to try out the Via Ferrata Climb last summer. (Read about that adventure here.)

From the top of the gondola you can hike up to the top of the T2 Summit on Terminator Ridge (the same place I climbed to with the Via Ferrata.) Read about lift accessed hiking at Kicking Horse here. 

Scrambling on the ridge walk to the Polar Peak Summit, Fernie Alpine Resort 

And finally, you'll also find lift accessed hiking (and an alpine roller coaster!!!) at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in BC. Read more here: Summer Fun at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

And yes, last year we did ride every single gondola between Calgary and Revelstoke! 

Great views at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Best Easy Summits for Hikers

Leaving the gondolas and chairlifts behind, these are some of the first summits that we've tried as a family. They are all very hikeable, hands in pockets, no scrambling involved, walks. Granted they might be steep at times and you may want hiking poles, but you won't need to scale cliff bands or do anything too technical. And, you should always have a pretty good trail under foot.

Prairie Mountain, Kananaskis (First hiked at age 5)

Follow the links below to read the full story for each trip, complete with very detailed descriptions and photos.

First Summits - Prairie Mountain, Kananaskis

- Most local kids will start with this one as their first real summit. With 700 metres of height gain, it's a workout, but there is no exposure and you're always on a good hiking trail.

First Summits - The Mighty Yamnuska with a 6 Year Old (to the ridge top)

- We turned around at the chains, my son was short roped on all narrow parts, and we really just wanted to get to the top of the ridge. Also, while this is primarily a "hike" to the ridge, you will have to scramble up a short chimney at the end of the official hiking trail. 

Hiking to the top of the ridge on Yamnuska (age 6)

First Summits - Barrier Lake Lookout, Kananaskis 

- This is an excellent hikeable summit where you'll be on a good trail the entire way. It is a great first choice for an easy lookout or peak with only 125 metres of height gain once you leave the Prairie View Hiking Trai.

First Summits - Table Mountain, Beaver Mines Lake, Alberta Parks 

- We chose the "scramble" route up Table Mountain but there is also a very well defined hiking route to the summit. 

Mount Fairview Summit, Lake Louise (age 7)

First Summits - Mount Fairview and Saddle Mountain, Lake Louise 

- You'll gain 1000 metres of height climbing Mount Fairview and then another 100 metres or so if you decide to tag Saddle Mountain as well from Saddleback Pass. We waited until our son was 7 years old for this one (and had several easier summits under his belt already.)

First Summits - Mount Saint Piran, Lake Louise

- Mount Saint Piran was a fall hike and there was already a fair amount of snow. It would be much easier in summer! There is also less height gain for this one than for Mount Fairview and you'll be able to visit the Lake Agnes Tea House after your visit to the summit.

First Summits - Little Arethusa, Highwood Pass 

- This was another fall summit that would be much easier in summer. From Arethusa Cirque it's a short hike up to the summit of Little Arethusa with a narrow ridge walk at the end (so perhaps wait till the kids are a bit older.) My son was 8 for this one. 

Mount St. Piran, Lake Louise (age 7)

Ridge Walks

We LOVE ridge walks and I think they're more fun than just climbing up and down a trail to a summit. Often you can make a loop or a one-way traverse with a car shuttle as well.

Awesome hiking on Tent Ridge, Kananaskis (age 7)

I've arranged the ridge walks below in order from easiest to hardest (not necessarily in the order that we hiked them.) Click on the links to read the full story and trip report with detailed instructions and photos.

Note: many ridge walks tend to be narrow, exposed in spots, and may require some hands on scrambling in sections - so read up on your hike before going and know what you're getting into! 

Also it's very important that ridges be clear of snow before you hike them, so save these hikes until 

Sarrail Ridge, Kananaskis (age 8)

Recommended Ridge Walks: 

Pocaterra Ridge, Kananaskis (age 8)

Hiking to the South Summit on Nihahi Ridge, Kananaskis (age 7)

The Real Deal! Best Easy Family Scrambles

No gondolas, more than a hike with a lookout at the end, and moving up to official mountains that you'll climb by yourself, hopefully with the kids at your side.

First summit of Ha Ling Peak in Canmore (age  5)

We climbed our first big mountain as a family, everybody walking, when my son was 5. We chose Ha Ling Peak in Canmore because it was a mountain my husband and I were very familiar with. We knew we could help our son every step of the way, and knew we were prepared for the loose rock and scrambling at the top.

Read more about our first ascent of Ha Ling Peak in Canmore here:  Ha Ling! My Baby Climbed his First Real Summit

Upper scree slopes on Ha Ling Peak 

Since then, we've moved on to tagging both Ha Ling Peak and Miner's Peak in the same day. And then we progressed to also tackling the Three Humps next to Miner's Peak (for a 5 summit day.)

Read about our bigger adventures on Ha Ling Peak here:

The Four Summit Day - Ha Ling Peak to Miner's Peak (and beyond)

5 Summit Day in Canmore (Kid-Friendly) - Ha Ling Peak and Miner's Peak  

Ridge walking on Miner's Peak next to Ha Ling Peak 

And for another great easy summit, try Mount Lady Macdonald in Canmore to the platform. You'll gain 900 metres for this one but will be on a good trail for the majority of the time. It's really just a steep hike. Beyond this, it turns into a real scramble with a knife edge ridge walk to the summit (not a place for children.)

Read about our hike up to the platform on Mount Lady Macdonald in Canmore here:  First Summits - Mount Lady Macdonald Hike, Canmore 

Lady Macdonald Platform, Canmore (age 7)

Moving Up! Intermediate Family Scrambles

You've done Prairie Mountain, Ha Ling Peak, and Lady Macdonald as a family. (Along with other hikes and ridge walks already mentioned in this guide.)

The kids are strong, with good stamina, have solid footing on loose scrambly terrain, and are not especially scared of heights.

You the parents have significant experience scrambling and climbing mountains! Let me stress that word again - "Significant!!!"

East End of Rundle Summit, Canmore (age 7)

You are prepared to bring a rope to "short rope" your kids on narrow sections, you will bring helmets if there is risk of rock fall or a serious tumble while scrambling cliff bands, and you are prepared to turn around if necessary at any point on your trip.

Your route finding skills are solid!!

You know who Alan Kane is and have spent hours reading through his book: Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies. (Amazon affiliate link.)

Heart Mountain Summit, Bow Valley (age 8)

These are the "intermediate" scrambles that we have done so far as a family. (I define them as intermediate by family standards:)

First Summits - East End of Mount Rundle Summit 

First Summits - Heart Mountain Horseshoe 

First Summits - Little Lougheed, Spray Valley Provincial Park 

First Summits - Grizzly Peak, Kananaskis 

Little Lougheed Summit, Spray Valley, Kananaskis (age 8)

Note that all scrambles above are included in Alan Kane's scrambling guidebook, mentioned above, with the exception of Little Lougheed. We read about this one in a snowshoe guidebook by Andrew Nugara. (Amazon affiliate link.)

Grizzly Peak Summit Ridge, Kananaskis (age 8)

Summits Requiring Camping or Backpacking 

I couldn't write this guide without including our fabulous hike up to a lower summit on Copper Mountain from Shadow Lake Lodge in Banff.

We did it while staying at the lodge but you could do it from the campground as well.

Read about the adventure here: Copper Mountain from Shadow Lake Lodge, Banff 

Copper Mountain, Banff National Park (age 5)

The Safety Stuff 

Don't know what "scrambling" is? Want to join an experienced group to get started?

Please request to join my newly created Mighty Mountain Kids group on Facebook. This group is aimed at kids ages 6-12 and please answer the questions you'll see when you request to join.

Mighty Mountain Kids! (photo taken on the Miner's Peak saddle looking at Ha Ling Peak)

I also recommend getting some good guide books!

Recommended books:

- Amazon affiliate links 

Little Arethusa Cirque in September


  • Please don't take my son's age on our previous climbs as a "reference age." My son has been climbing mountains since he was 4 years old and is now able to do hikes that many adults would be terrified to do.

  • Start small and work your way up!! I always tell my son every spring that I won't take him up the bigger mountains until he does three practice hikes! This means he slogs his way up Prairie Mountain before he touches scree or loose rock. (Though this year's late spring has certainly slowed this down!)

  • Hike with a group of friends you trust, that you can work together with as  team, and that you know will have your back. I would never have gotten my son up Grizzly Peak last summer without two strong mountain mamas helping me.

  • PLEASE read my previous story: Family Hiking at the Next Level - Scrambles and Summits and scroll to the bottom of the guide where I've included very detailed sections on "useful tips if doing scrambles with kids," and "recommended gear for scrambling with kids." 

Ridge walking at the top of Little Lougheed, Kananaskis 

I hope this has been helpful and I will be adding to this guide regularly so please pin or save it for your references.

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