December is a favourite time of year. Baking cookies, getting out in the snow, singing carols and cooking for family and friends are pretty much guaranteed to trigger a holly jolly mood. But some years it’s harder to feel festive. That’s when it pays to know what helps improve your mental wellness. And it’s why I aim for a daily dose of outdoor exercise, even when there’s an extreme cold advisory in effect!
This is a big map, packed with tons of content: charts, timelines, planning and wildlife viewing tips, 80 sights and attractions and more than 100 hikes. The main attraction is the beautiful, shaded relief map of Banff, Yoho & Kootenay National Parks, along with Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and a few bits of Kananaskis Country, all at a scale of 1:250,000. There are at least three reasons to buy this map: It’s a great resource if you’re planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies. It makes a great souvenir. It offers ideas to foster your exploration and appreciation of the Canadian Rockies.
This year, we cycled the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail from mid-May through mid-October, when the trail officially closed for the winter. Thanks to a wide range of extensions available on either end, our rides ranged from 53 to 86 km and included a good mix of destinations in both Canmore and Banff. Amazing scenery and minimal elevation change make this a “must ride” trail for those visiting Canmore/Banff during the riding season.
Autumn is our favourite season, and it comes early to this part of the world. Peak colour usually happens in September. But in October, later sunrises and earlier sunsets make it easy to get out at just the right time to enhance lingering fall colours with golden hour light. Since Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October, “Thanksgiving” was the obvious connecting theme for these photographs, all made over the Thanksgiving long weekend spent in Canmore.
ILLUMINATIONS: human/nature was conceived for people like me! Billed as a participative art experience incorporating history and nature, I expected a mash-up of art and nature featuring tons of lights and projected images, triggered by walking or touching something while enjoying the great outdoors in Banff National Park. While most of those elements were part of the experience, for me, the participative aspect fell short. Our group focused primarily on doing what needed to be done to move on to the next way station and there wasn’t much discussion or sharing of perspectives. I do really like the overall concept of a short-run, multi-media, site relevant art installation celebrating Canada’s parks quite appealing and hope for they’ll be another opportunity to experience art in nature before Canada 200 rolls around.
One of our favourite destinations during wildflower season, Grizzly Peak is also a solid option for larch season. Less well-known than the crowded trails around Lake Louise, it’s a half-day hike that’s easy to extend with a ridge walk or an exploration of Pocaterra Cirque.