For those of you familiar with the Devon River Valley Trail in Voyageur Park, right on. For those of you who don’t, go. Especially if you have early bird kids, or if you are one!
A friend and I went on a Saturday morning, met at 530AM in the parking lot, and by golly, nary a soul in sight. We didn’t run into one person on the path and upon returning to our vehicle, there were just a few fellas fishing under the bridge.
There are a few fire pits with picnic tables along the river that would just be amazing with the fam jam and the “beachy” part we came across would entertain my kids for HOURS just throwing rocks in. Didn’t bring them this time – mama needed a break but next time!
Cold War Bunker Hike in Canmore Alberta
Hiking with kids is always… interesting. I find that if I can entice mine with an end goal to hike to they do MUCH better. Usually we try to find a hike with water (lakes, rivers, waterfalls, etc) to get to, but this time we wanted something different so we tried the Cold War Bunker Hike just East of Canmore.
When you tell the kids there is an old, abandoned cave to explore at the end of the hike they move FAST!
The cave was built during the Cold War to house important documents for the Canadian Government in case of disaster. Construction for this project started in 1969 but ended before it was completed due to moisture in the cave. Damp environments and sensitive documents don’t mix well, I guess!
The caves go further back than we expected so we highly recommend bringing a couple of flashlights to explore. We used our cell phone lights but having flashlights would have been better.
This trail is easy to do and can be done in all seasons. It is a 4km hike with slight elevation at the end but I would say it is a relatively easy hike for most families. You can see more details about the hike and check the latest trail reports on AllTrails.
To get to the trailhead:
- Park in the Heart Creek Trail parking lot.
- There are two parking areas once you turn off the highway. Park in the West one.
- At the far West side of the parking lot you’ll see a sign about bears. You found the trail!
Do you feel like it’s the same old thing every year? Quickly after the beauty of fall fades, the next season creeps in. A season that makes even some of the world’s most resilient animals say… yeah, no, gonna sleep through this one.
I’m talking about winter.
Winter makes us feel the need to bury ourselves under every blanket in the house, turn on the fireplace, and debate whether letting our kids watch TV for the next 5 months straight is reasonable. Anyone with me? I haven’t always been the biggest fan of winter and my fiance is even less impressed with this particular season.
Unfortunately (but also, fortunately), our 5-year-old child tends to set the stage for our daily activities, so… OUTSIDE WE GO! He has truly helped warm my relationship with winter. Greatly. I’ve come to actually love it! So I’m going to spend the next little while trying to convince you, while winter isn’t the easiest season to tolerate, it can be one of the most fun! Believe me?
First, let’s quickly touch on safety. Safety in the outdoors is always important, but I would say it’s the most critical in the winter with all the ice, snow, and darkness (I know… I’m selling it. Please keep reading!). I’ll keep it short. I strongly suggest you check the forecast and overpack with many layers and backups if you’re heading out. If your kiddo is typically unimpressed with the cold weather, bringing hand and foot warmers can help keep them toasty and you happy!
Winter Fun in the Backyard
Camp Yowochas has been running year-round programs since 1981, and summer camp programs since 1916. But this year, they’re offering something completely new! A way for your kids to get their regular schooling done, but ALSO enjoy the benefits of the outdoors.
In 2019, Camp Yowochas hosted over 8,300 visitors, including summer campers, schools, user groups and employ up to 60 staff members during the high season. Located in Fallis, AB, this year, they are offering Yowochas Learning Academy!
The Yowochas Learning Academy is designed for students who have chosen a distance or virtual learning option with their school division. The Camp Yowochas team will work with the parents of the students to understand and schedule their day to ensure they are meeting all curriculum needs.VLDC is for students who are 5-15 and enrolled in kindergarten to grade 9.
“In a typical year at Camp Yowochas, our staff are busy providing programs for more than 8,000 guests throughout the year. The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything this year, and we worked hard to figure out safe, responsible and meaningful ways to continue to run programs at Camp Yowochas. Through our summer Family Fun Days, Cabins at Yowochas and the Yowochas Learning Academy, we continue to support our community by offering programs that meet their needs in these uncertain times.”
– Terry Kony, Director, Camp Yowochas
Designed With Parents In Mind
As the Alberta Mamas, obviously, we are parents ourselves and we know that we’ve all had to make changes AND choices that have not been easy. Camp Yowochas wants to provide parents with the opportunity to return to work with the peace of mind of knowing their children are safe and progressing in their learning and development.
If you’ve ever driven on the Yellowhead Highway around Wildwood and Entwistle, you’ve no doubt noticed a massive lake along the highway. During a recent road trip we actually saw a sailboat on this lake and I was intrigued so, decided to take the kiddies on a road trip to Chip Lake.
There are smaller tenting sites, larger open sites and then also group sites for camping, though there is no power. At $25/night it’s super affordable!
One of the things we wanted to do more this summer was to explore different hiking trails. Our kids are getting a bit older (7&11) so going on adventure walks by the campsite isn’t cutting it anymore.
We were in Kananaskis and one of the very helpful park staff members suggested Elbow Lake. If you’re ever in Kananaskis we highly recommend you stop by the information center. It has a pretty good little (FREE) museum and the staff there are fantastic at suggesting things that suit your family.
Far from the touristy mountain spots and cramped campgrounds you typically find near urban areas; Black Nugget Campground is a hidden gem that is perfect for families. Located just over an hour outside Edmonton this campsite has everything you need for a quiet weekend getaway.
One of our favourite events of the year and, one of the very few that happens across the province is back for its 7th year. Open Farm Days is back with a recond number of farms participating in 2019 and they have their own beer which means there’s a greater chance of a being able to visit many farms near you, AND, the variety of farms is greater.
We just came home from a little trip to Red Lodge Provincial Park and I am so happy I found this place! Here’s why: