After having taken the basic paddler course with the Beaver Canoe club, I was keen to get out to test some of my new skills, so we decided to join some of our friends on the River of Golden Dreams in Whistler. This turned out to be both a lovely and expensive day. We still don't own a canoe, so we usually rent one. Most of the time we rent close to were we put in as it is more convenient, but often also a little more expensive than renting from MEC for example. We decided on the same strategy for this trip.
After being parents for almost six years we are starting to get the hang of planning family friendly camping trips. If you want to go during popular times like long weekends to places that are easily accessible, it often requires planning well in advance - something we never used to do before kids. I now often have a reminder in my calendar 4 month before a long weekend reminding me to book whatever campsite, and it seems that I am not the only one. This year we got an email from our friend Krystil in January keen to get started on planning for the May Long weekend. Before long we had settle on Singles Bay on Pender and booked out all but two of the campsites there.
Here are five tweaks we've made to our Haul-a-Day cargo bike; some are quicker than others, but they've all made our lives easier. Of course we extended the fenders almost all the way to the ground... but we also did some more creative things like shimming our kickstand to bring the balance point into an easier spot, permanently mounted ski-straps in just the right spot for towing, made a chariot attachment adapter, and added some "wheels" in the back corner of the frame that let you easily push it around when oriented vertically.
This year I managed to book the ACC's Wendy Thompson hut over Easter. That in it self is a bit of a feat. To insure that we could get the spots, I was ready by the computer as reservations opened exactly 6 months before Easter. At that point I didn't have a plan or a crew, but at I had 16 cabin spots - ready to get filled with families.
Last year we had such a good time at Methow Valley and I felt like I wasn't quite done with the area, so we decided on a return. This year I was a little more prepared and ready to book at the time the reservations opened up. We decided on February (as oppose to December) in the hopes that the longer days and hopefully better weather would make the drive less eventful. We aimed to make the drive in two days, but ended up driving almost all the way on the first day before booking a hotel for the night. In Winthrop we met up with one of the other families, Scott, Sandra and their two kids, H age 4 and E age 7. We spend the day playing on a snowy hill and on the outdoor skating rink. We had another night at a hotel here, so we would be ready to head out bright and early the next day.
The winter is well over now, but I've been meaning to type down something about our record-size snowcave from this past January, before I loose the measurements... It was a great trip, with two families and 7 people total in the same snowcave. A combination of prior snowcaving experience and the help of Miriam, our favourite extra-adult, allowed us to dig out what is certainly the largest snowcave I have yet constructed - Final dimensions were 4.1m long by 3m wide, with a ceiling height of 1.2m (in the center of the sleeping platform - standing height in the vestibule). A smooth ceiling ensured not a single drip, and the ceiling thickness of 65cm meant no sagging overnight (at least, not enough to measure with our avalanche-probe ruler). In the morning I could jump on the ceiling and not punch through.
We spent this past Christmas up the the Coquihalla Lakes Lodge along with Miriam and 2 other families. Ignacio and Pascale stayed in our cabin along with their twins and Pascale's mother. Our friend Anne arrived later with her entire (adult) family visiting from France (Father, Mother, Sister) and stayed in another cabin. We were fortunate to have good snow conditions - a reasonable base/coverage with some medium density powder on top. On the first day Ignacio, Pascale, Line, and I left the kids to play at the cabin with Miriam and Pascale's mom while we went to check out Zoa for a possible trip with the whole family (ok, and to get a little kid-free skiing).
A few years ago I made a pair of crampons for F, and posted about them. I've since made a half-dozen pairs for her as she's grown and for a few other kids we've gone hiking with. I didn't really explain how to make them very well, though. So here are some instructions.
Last weekend the weather was forecast to be beautiful, so we made a last minute decision to go camping, and convinced a few friends to come. After a few emails back and forth we settled on Joffre Lakes. The park website had some serious warnings about ice on the trail. We figured it probably wasn't so bad, but still decided to bring microspikes for all the adults, and Christian stayed up a few extra hours making kid crampons for the four hiking kids. In the end the kids ended up disappointed due to the lack of ice on the trail. One of them still insisted on wearing the crampons on a ice covered mud puddle at the upper lake.
We arrived at the parking lot around 11am and managed to snatch the last free parking spot. Scott and Sandra had to park at the new lower lot. The trail was busy. It seemed particularly busy when you are wearing giant backpacks and have four young kids blocking the way of other hikers. The kids did amazing though and we arrived at the second lake within a couple of hours with very little complaining. Christian had put his new hiking tactic - the "slow down you whipper-snappers you're hiking too fast!" game to good work. We had a long break and only lost a few gold fish crackers and half a bagel to the very aggressive whisky jacks.
The trip sure did not start out relaxing. First I spend two days packing food, sorting gear and trying to squish it all into the car, while N constantly tried to rearrange everything. We picked up Christian straight from work, made it onto the ferry and then spend an hour driving towards Ucluelet with two screaming kids in the back. Eventually though they settled down and we drove most of the way there in silence. We didn't make it passed Kennedy Lake before nightly road closure, so we camped on the side of the road. From here on everything seemed to only get better though...
Say Nuth Khaw Yum
Recent tips and thought
Pandemic pondering and wandering
Tweaking our haul-a-day
Making kids crampons
Digging a snowcave
Make a kid towing harness