This past Saturday I grabbed the kids and headed over to the Outdoor Adventure Show here in Toronto. What an inspiring day!
Our first stop was to watch a presentation by Lyn Elliott on the Top Ten Adventures in Ontario’s National Parks. Loved it! While I proudly thought to myself, “done that, done that”, there were a number of things that have been added to my “must do” list…namely visiting the St. Lawrence Islands National Park. The kids took one look at the new oTENTik accommodations that are being offered and their eyes lit up. If you haven’t seen one, picture a soft sided rustic cabin. Truth be told, after our amazing trip to Georgian Bay Islands last year and the cozy cabin we stayed in there, it wasn’t a hard sell to get me to agree that we must go and try an oTENTik…and soon!
oTENTik accommodation available in St. Lawrence Islands
photo: Parks Canada
As we made our way up and down the aisles of the show, I picked up maps and planners for all sorts of dreamy places, the kind of places that I’ve pictured exploring since I was a kid. Gros Morne National Park out in Newfoundland looks absolutely gorgeous and I guarantee we’ll make it there some day. But the most intriguing and bucket list worthy destinations (because of distance and exotic local) are the National Parks in Northern Canada. Wild, breathtaking and untouched, the Yukon, NWT and Nunavut seem so out of reach to the average “southern Canadian”. Getting there is possible though if we put our minds to it. With some planning, saving and training, Fraser and I have every intention of making it there with the kids.
In the meanwhile, there are oodles of fabulous places in my beloved Ontario that are calling out to me. I walked away with an Ontario Parks Guide and a pamphlet listing the National Parks Historic Sites and Marine Conservation Areas here. Now I’ve got a couple more maps for the house and we can start checking off all of the places that we’ve visited.
The show was a great way to spend a day and inspiration for how to spend a lifetime. And to that woman who looked skeptical that I was going to run out and buy that yogurt after she gave me a sample…I did. It was good yogurt. Reeeally good. Thanks for another great show!
It occurred to me that I never reported on our attempt to get away skiing last month. Rest assured that it all came together. The boys skipped school and we took the day off so that we could hit the beautiful Kolapore ski trails. Stolen moments are sometimes the sweetest. Spur of the moment delectable bites of life help remind you why you get up and put on your work pants the rest of the days.
After a hectic holiday season where days off seemed to turn into marathon drives followed by endless meet and greets, we succeeded in stealing ourselves a perfect moment of family time. We also managed to squeeze it in just before a forecast of rain that managed to decimate the snow base.
For our mini break, conditions were perfect. There was a healthy amount of snow but the air temperature hovered just above zero making our time super comfy and required minimal layering in the garment department. Like riding a bike, nordic skiing is something that you never forget. The first half-k is always hilarious and slapstick as we find our collective groove, but it’s not long before we look like an ad for good old-fashioned Canadian fun.
It doesn’t really matter how you choose to spend your family time. My message here is this…there are only so many moments allotted to each of us in this life. This moment contains all moments (C.S. Lewis). Don’t spend them on the bus to work or on the couch in front of the t.v. wishing that you were skiing. Just ski.
It’s funny how time can affect how you remember events. The more harrowing the event, the more time and distance it takes to be able to look back with fondness.
I remember clearly that when we finished Pukaskwa’s Coastal Hiking Trail, I looked over at Fraser and announced that it turns out I wasn’t a “hiker” in my heart and that my future attentions would focus on paddling. HA! It took one big breakfast of bacon and eggs and the reviewing of some of my pictures in the car on the way home to change my mind.
I knew that our little family would attempt a big hike again…and soon.
Today Fraser texted me that he had booked our next hike. It is certain now that I need to start gathering the necessary gear for our family of four to tackle Killarney Provincial Park’s LaCloche Silhouette Trail. We are going on the same week in May that we did Pukaskwa because despite the hordes of black flies, the weather was ideal. Nice and cool and overcast means we are spared the sweaty head spinning heat that summer days offer and the sleeping is easy.
While it is suggested that this trail can take up to 10 days, we will be hiking its 100km’s in six days and five nights. We are really looking forward to this. We have loved Killarney forever, but have always seen it from the vantage of our canoes. We did do a day trip once up to Silver Peak. Silver Peak is about as high as the CN Tower and is so named because it is made up of gorgeous quartzite that is a beautiful milky white. It was quite a haul, even without fully loaded packs. With Pukaskwa (which is rated one of Canada’s top 5 most challenging hikes by Macleans Magazine) under out belts, I’m sure that we’re going to do great!
The best part of this years trip is that the kids are one year older (and many inches taller and pounds heavier) so they can contribute even more than last year. We’re once again going to have to upgrade the boys gear since they’ve outgrown the last set. All in all though, because of their increased ability to haul, we should be able to eat better and bring a few more comforts. It just gets better and better 🙂
We are always up for a challenge and we can’t wait for May to finally roll around again to continue a new family tradition of super spring hikes. In fact, now that we know the trail for this year, I’m searching for our next big one. I guess I am a “hiker” after all.