Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A stress-free day in the mountains

We wanted to go hiking last weekend with our two year old son but honestly, after working four days that week I just didn't have the energy to deal with all the preparation that an outing requires.  There's enough gear to pack just for a solo trip but add a toddler who requires double the gear and it's often a daunting task to get out the door with your sanity still in tact.  To further complicate things, it's late October here in the Canadian Rockies and that means we are looking at the possibility of winter hiking and having to pack enough extra clothing to keep everybody warm and dry.

Saturday we decided to save ourselves the effort and went to the zoo instead to see the pumpkins in the conservatory.  

Sunday however, I was bounding with a little more energy and we decided to head out and play.  I'm so glad we did because we discovered the perfect way for our family to have an actual stress-free day in the mountains.  Yes, zero stress! 

The first thing that really worked for us was leaving around 11am.  It was late enough that Noah slept on the way to Banff and woke up right as we got to the Tim Hortons for lunch.  That was the second thing we did - we didn't pack a lunch!  Nothing!  We went into Tim Hortons which since it's in a bus depot in Banff, actually has tons of parking and we sat down for some simple sandwiches.   My son is a very picky eater and almost never eats much on the trail while hiking.  Eating inside, in an actual high chair however, he devoured parts of my husband's sandwich and the snacks I had brought along for him.

After lunch, we drove to the trail head for a simple relaxed half day hike.  We took the chariot with us so didn't have to carry anything and since we'd already had lunch, took nothing with us but water and extra layers of clothing.  Didn't even bring diapers since we had just changed Noah at the Tim Hortons. 

We hiked up the Sundance Canyon Trail and it was almost empty.  In Summer you'd feel like you were marching in a parade if you were to do this trail.  We saw only a handful of other couples or singles.  We had the actual canyon to ourselves and didn't see a soul.  It was absolutely magical.  Snow had fallen overnight and it was like we had stepped into the wardrobe and come out into the fantasy world of Narnia. 

View from the trail leading to the canyon
Daddy and Noah in Sundance Canyon

My Pook
Noah and I
Noah was toasty warm in his Halloween Costume
On the paved trail heading back to our car
Making a detour around the normal parking lot that's closed for construction

The day couldn't have been much more perfect.  To finish it off though, we went out to eat that night with Grandma to celebrate my return to work.  Hiking all afternoon and I didn't have to go home and cook.  That is a perfect stress-free way to end the day!  We got home in time to read our little Pook a few stories, let him watch his half hour of before-bed TV, and put him to sleep.

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