Did you know that Alberta was the first province in Canada to establish a Family Day holiday? In 1990, then Premier Don Getty introduced the idea, saying it’s important for Albertans to spend time with their families and to reinforce family values. Since then, Saskatchewan and Ontario have joined the Family Day fun. Manitoba celebrates Louis Riel Day the same day, which is also when residents of Prince Edward Island celebrate Islander Day. When British Columbia celebrates its first Family Day in 2013, the 3rd Monday of February will be a statutory holiday from coast to coast, but not all places in between!
This year is the first time in fifteen years that our whole family hasn’t been together to enjoy the day. Our Oldest GeoKid was on his way back from New Orleans, where he travelled to march with his high school band in one of the Mardi Gras parades. We managed to catch a glimpse of them on a New Orleans webcam on Sunday morning.
Although we were down one, we decided to make the most of our final half-day in Canmore, heading out to the enjoy the trail system along Three Sisters Creek, including a section of the Trans Canada Trail, and continuing down to the Bow River. Rather than follow the Riverside Trail towards town, we decided to explore what we call “Mantracker Island” – a section of land sandwiched between the Bow River and one of its tributaries. We first crossed a tree bridge to this island over a year ago, when we were catching up on past seasons of Mantracker, a made in Canada reality series pitting Terry Grant (a highy experienced, horse-mounted tracker) against a couple of people who try to elude him to successfully reach a target location (usually 25 – 35 km from their starting point) within 36 hours. Anyhow, our first time on “Mantracker Island” Mrs. GeoK fell way behind (taking photos, of course) and she had to follow footprints in the snow to find the rest of the family – hence the name.
We haven’t tried to access “Mantracker Island” in the summer, when water levels in the Bow River are much higher. And we’ve generally stayed on the Riverside Trail side of the “island”. Today we explored a little more, enjoying the ice formations along the river bank, the contrast of the red-barked shrubs against the snow and evergreens and spotting animal tracks in the snow.
“Mantracker Island” is ideally situated near the center of the Bow Valley, offering views of Mount Lady MacDonald, Grotto Mountain, the Three Sisters, Ha Ling, Mount Rundle and more. Along the eastern shore of the island, the Bow River seems to narrow. Even mid-winter, with relatively low water volumes, the current appeared particularly strong.
Total distance today was about 7 km. We got lucky with the weather, enjoying bright sunshine while returning to our starting coordinates.