Thursday, May 17, 2012

Here comes ths spring again..

Or who knows what it is in Alberta right? This week we've gone from nice and hot to cold and rainy (with just a little snow in for good measure). Just about two weeks ago we went from snow to hot in the space of 24 hours, and on the hot day decided to go for the first picnic of the year!

While on his wanderings my silly ole bear stumbled upon Pearce Estate Park. We found a few geocaches (yay!) and took a wander near the weir, watching as some kayakers wandered from the parking area to the water. Brave, it's barely spring! Especially the day after a snowfall!

It was a lovely day though, got the fire going for a few hot dogs and enjoyed the sunshine before wandering more and before we left we were treated to a show by the Dragon's Own who were practicing there.

A few pictures.

Picnic 001
While searching for the first cache we came across this painting on a rock.

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A pretty little waterfall, it was a picturesque spot, everyone was snapping shots of themselves here!

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A butterfly! Unfortunately we aren't in the migration path so I love to see them out and about when I can. :)

Picnic 004

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And where would all the marsh and water be without some waterfowl?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where HAS the summer gone?

It's almost the end of summer, August is half gone, vacation has been had (I'll do a breakdown with pictures later, I haven't gone through them all yet!) and a new hobby has been discovered.

Geocaching! (If you don't know what it is, from the website: Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.)

BF introduced it to us as part of our week-long vacation and I must admit I got just a bit hooked. What a great way to get us out of the house (ALL of us) and get some exercise and fresh air while having fun? I've already invested in a GPS (tip, do your research and you can get handheld one at a place like Cash Converters for a lot less than a new one. That is if you don't mind not having all the bells and whistles of course!). Beyond the initial investment of a GPS, it can be as cheap or expensive, hard or easy as you wish it to be.

So far we've been finding easier hides in the parks (Waterton, and now in our own city) and it makes for a good sunny Saturday to pack a picnic and lots of water and plan a route of caches.

So much fun I almost want to blow off being an adult and doing household chores today and going to find a few more. ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lists, lists and more lists.

That's what I do when I plan.

I make lists of the places I want to go, lists of places where we could stay (and prices!), lists for packing, lists for meal planning.. I haven't yet hit lists of lists, but my boyfriend tells me if I reach that point and move on from there, then I've officially gone 'round the bend.

So far for our camping vacation I have five lists.

Packing lists for myself and son.
Meal planning list
Grocery list
Grocery packing list
Planning list(s)*

Boyfriend is in charge of packing the car, I have yet to make him a list because he knows what he is doing and didn't miss a beat last time when I trusted him to pack everything necessary for camping, so why would I stop trusting him now? If it were just me on the other hand..

I'm not sure if this obsessive list making to make certain I have everything is a result of being a former Girl Guide (Be Prepared!), we always got lists of what to bring before going camping, or a result of the time I went camping with my family and as a teen was put in charge of packing the cooler. I was so proud, I got everything we needed in it and helped pack the car. We got to the site, set up our tent in a raging thunder storm (that immediately stopped once the tent was up.. natch) and started to make supper.. only to discover that I forgot to pack the meat. I can't remember what it was now, hamburgers? Some breakfast meats too. But the grilled cheese and tomato soup were like ashes in my mouth at the disappoint in my father's eyes.

Ok, maybe not so bad as all that, but I was a teenager and don't we tend to be melodramatic at a time like that?

It must be something like that, but you'll pry my lists from my hands when I'm cold, I'd forget SOMETHING obvious and needed if I didn't have them.

But I can't wait to go on our trip!

*Note: This one is very dynamic and started with ideas for where to go, what to do, where to stay and got pared down as the planning fell into place, it is also not so inflexible as it seems, it's more of a set of guidelines with only a few hard and fast points that can't be changed.. and that's only because of things like reservations.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Parks Day: After the fact

We had quite a fun day wandering Banff. Mostly stuck to the in town touristy things like wandered downtown and hit up the candy shop, the Upper Hot Springs and had a nice lunch out.

There was a fun little celebration in the open space by the Banff Park Museum. Lots of music and information and some fun activities for the kids (my son LOVED making the paddle.. which he promptly gave away to some family we were also visiting lol).

It was a perfect day out to just relax and enjoy ourselves with a change of pace.

Now to prepare and plan for some other things. Upcoming are more festivals around the city (always lots of festivals!), as well as some camping plans and maybe some wandering around elsewhere outside the city.

But coming up this weekend is some Sun and Salsa time (¿Es picante? ¡Si! ) and Fiestaval. Of course with Heritage Day only a week away it's time for all those Historic Calgary Tours, starting this weekend also. Hmm what to do.. what to do..

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Parks Day!

As a single mom, I'm always on the lookout for deals of things I can do with my family on a budget. Free (or discounted) passes are a godsend to summer fun and my budget.

This year is helpful since it is the 100th Anniversary of the creation of Parks Canada so all this summer there are activities all over the place, and next weekend (the 16th) is Parks Day which means FREE entry to the National Parks and Historic Sites all across Canada and lots of free events! Yay!

Combined with the Unplugged Explore promotion happening this summer (if you unplug from your computer and games and explore the Rockies in Alberta your kids can get in free when you purchase the adult pass.. and you can get a pass for less for yourself through them too so that doesn't hurt!) it seems like the ideal time to get away from the city and chill in the mountains for a day or two.

We love going and playing in the mountains, it's nice to get out of the city and I don't know about you but I always feel better for it, so it's nice to find some specials that let me do it for less.

Note: I don't work with or for any of these guys, I'm just happy to have options!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How do YOU plan your trips?

Do you decide to just jump in a car and pick a direction?

Do you have a destination in mind but take in the scenery along the way?

Do you gather every scrap of info you possibly can but toss things to the wind when it suits? Or do you plan down to the minutest detail?

As I sit here surrounded by pamphlets gathered at various happenings and places this spring I wonder these things. I like having a plan, an idea of where we are going and 'oh, I'd like to do this and this' but if I spot something interesting it can all go to the wind.

When I was learning how to drive, my friends and I would do the first. Decide that this night we were going to practice and pick a direction and where we ended up we ended up. Sometimes in a small town with a single gas station and we'd be grabbing snacks at midnight and filling the car before turning around and going home. It's how we ended up on a back road near Okotoks in the middle of a snowstorm in February.

Once we decided we would go to Banff and enjoy ourselves, taking our swim stuff with us to go to the hot springs. After spending most of the afternoon wandering and eating a nice lunch we decided to go to the hot springs.. in Radium. By the time we got home, it was the middle of the night.

Another time, just last year in fact, the same friend needed some companionship on the road as she went to pick up an item from kijiji in Drumheller. She had to be there for 9, and the matter took about five minutes max so we ended up wandering all along hwy 10/56, hitting up the Hoodoos, the Atlas Coal Mine and a lovely lunch in Wayne as well as a few other things.

In other ways I enjoy planning. Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? Not so regimented that it sucks all the joy out of it but having an idea of what is around can be great.

I want to pass on the joys of tripping around to my son, just like my Dad did for my brother and I (and he would make us groan by telling us when we asked where we were going that we were going to LA.. Leduc Alberta).

So here I sit on a rainy Sunday, pondering where I want to go this year and how much planning do I really need to do? We'll see..

Friday, June 17, 2011

New blog..

Just a random passing thought, why not blog about some of the tripping around I do in the great province of ours? Will update as I go on trips.