Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Spring means to us

Puddles, free toes reminded that flip flops are so much easier to put on than boots, children wanting to stay outside for hours, first hikes of the season, having brunch on a sunny patio - yes it's Spring in the Rockies!  I'm not sure what you think of when you hear the word Spring, especially if you are from a warmer climate, but for me, it means that the thermometre finally stops going below zero Celsius in the daytime.  At night however, it still freezes well into April and we can get snow in mid May.  You might still need to wear a tuque when you visit a patio for lunch and your toes will be cold in their flip flops as you step around slush puddles and ice patches.  As with all seasons, Spring brings new activities to us here and we jump into fresh explorations with excitement and a renewed zest for life.  Some of our favorite Spring activities you'll find below might be a shock to you, again especially if you don't get a lot of snow where you live.

Building snowmen
It's easier to make a snowman when the snow is warm and sticky.  We've had a LOT of snow here in March so it's been perfect weather for making our first snowmen of the season.  I know we aren't alone either because I've seen photos all over facebook of beautiful snow creations made in the last couple weeks.

The kids went searching for the pine cones and sticks for the snowman

I didn't realize what a great nature craft building a snowman was.

Noah's friend helping with one of the balls
Another strange one I'm sure under the category of spring activities but honestly, it just isn't that much fun when it's -20C to go sledding.  Warmer weather makes this a sport our family finally enjoys.  We didn't do much sledding this year until March and then we took advantage of the fresh warm snow.  My son is still a little tentative about sledding and wants to ride with one of us most of the time but Grandma took him out one day and said he went down the hill a dozen times by himself and had a blast.  Yay Grandma!  Note to other Grandparents - our Grandma was pretty skeptical at first about how much fun playing in the snow would be.  She came home soaked and beyond happy with the experience.  It was probably one of her highlights this whole winter.

Noah's biggest hill this winter

Our friends took us to the sledding hill at their lake and it was a very LONG run.
You don't need a lot of snow to go sledding

Puddle Jumping
Who doesn't love jumping in a good puddle?   My son is no exception.  We went to the zoo the other day but we didn't go with the purpose of seeing the animals.  We went because we knew that the Calgary zoo has some of the best puddles in March.  We spent a good half hour in one particularly large puddle and my son was still talking about the bubbles he saw in it the next day.  I felt sad for the children at the zoo who hadn't worn rain boots.  We passed many young tots sitting in time out after moms had screamed at them one too many times to get out of the puddles.  Meanwhile, I was encouraging my son to jump higher, to run through the biggest puddles, and to get utterly soaked.  I wasn't very popular with the other moms since apparently we were setting a bad example I'm sure.

Noah sporting his new rain boots

Jump, splash and stomp

Spring Hiking
We got out for our first Spring hike last weekend and it was a bit of a challenge finding a trail that was snow free.  In the end, we chose a trail that was part mud, part slush, and part packed down snow.  It was only 2km but The Fenland Trail in Banff was the perfect start to the season for a three year old.  We took Grandma with us as she's always good at the hand holding and encouragement often required to complete even the shortest of walks.

Spring hiking on the Fenland Trail

Noah and Grandma

The snow is starting to melt

Because most of the trails in the Rockies are snow covered well into May and often beyond, we do a lot of snowshoe hikes in Spring.  We don't like to hike in the winter when it's so much more fun to ski but come March the ski trails are starting to get icy and we usually wind down for the season by the end of the month.   We've done a lot of snowshoeing and snow hiking in April with cleats or yak trax on our feet for traction.  Usually we pack our snowshoes, yak trax, hiking boots, and poles, deciding what we'll need when we get to the trail.  More often than not, we don't actually need the snowshoes because the snow is so well packed down, it's easier to just walk on top of it in boots.

Snowshoeing at Upper Kananaskis Lake last Spring

Lake Louise - well before the crowds descend
One of my favorite Spring snowshoe trips into Skoki Lodge

All in all, Spring is a great season.  We look forward to seeing green grass for the first time, we enjoy feeling the warm sun on our skin, and we especially love stripping off all the winter layers.  Our son was pretty tolerant of his mittens, ski pants, tuque, scarf, etc. all winter but there comes a point when nobody really wants to wear ski pants one more time.  We transition to a rain suit instead and throw the mittens along with other warm layers in the pack, hoping we honestly won't need them.  More often than not, we do, but at least my son can play at the playground for half an hour without mittens.

Playing at the amazing Zoo playground
Fun swings we have here

The coolest playground we recently found

Trying to climb up on the big logs in one of our school playgrounds

We don't wait for the snow to melt  before we hit the parks

Our next Spring adventure will be helping our son learn how to ride his new balance bike.  We are now in possession of a bright orange Strider bike and are super excited to watch our son grow with it. 

What does Spring mean to your family? 


  1. Hey! I just found your blog in a roundabout way, and I'd like to follow along if that's ok. I blog about north Idaho, where I live, but we've been thinking about trying a vacation in Canada. I want to go snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies!

    1. Glad you are following. Let us know if you come out this way and we'll try to help any way we can. Snowshoeing here is pretty amazing!