Family Day Fun

Three Sisters Creek Falls
This small waterfall on Three Sisters Creek is about 750 meters upstream of the TransCanada Trail footbridge crossing over the Creek (roughly 250 to 300 meters south of the Three Sisters Parkway).

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.

Mr. GeoK and Youngest GeoKid cross the tree bridge to Mantracker Island
Mr. GeoK and Youngest GeoKid opted to take the safest tree bridge to Mantracker Island - it still has plenty of branches to act as handholds. But it's harder to access in summer, when water fills a currently dry channel alongside this tributary of the Bow River.

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.

Youngest GeoKid has a rest break along the south bank of the Bow River
After exploring Mantracker Island for a while, we finally reached the south bank of the Bow River. Youngest GeoKid took advantage of one of the fallen trees to take a short rest.
Clouds parting over Grotto Mountain
We endured heavy cloud cover for the first part of our walk, but around the time we started to head back to our starting coordinates, the cloud started to break up, offering this glimpse of Grotto Mountain.

“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.

Mount Lady MacDonald and Grotto Mountain
Mr. GeoK stitched two photos together to create this image of snow-capped Mount Lady MacDonald and Grotto Mountain across the Bow River, taken from the eastern shore of Mantracker Island
Throwing ice chunks into the water
Even big kids can't resist the appeal of throwing ice chunks into slushy water. We had a lot of fun here before crossing back over the tree bridge to the Riverside Trail.
Tree throne
Mr. and Mrs. GeoK discovered this tree stump "throne" a few months ago and Youngest GeoKid thought it was a great place to rest before making the final push to our starting coordinates.

One thought on “Family Day Fun

  1. Pingback: Return to Mantracker Island | Out and About with the GeoKs

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