Saturday family outing

Weather, bad moods and quick changes to plans thwarted a potentially good family day.

J and I planned to take the kids to Banff to ride the gondola up Sulfur mountain. We woke up to a day of sunshine and blue skies but we could see clouds shrouding the mountains from our balcony. J jumped onto the internet to see the current view from on top of Sulfur mountain via the web cam and indeed it was a cloudy grey day in Banff. However, the weather forecast indicated it would be clearing later. We decided to plunge ahead with our plan since we wanted to get out of the city. I madly ran around the house packing winter gear, rain gear, lunch plus the necessary entertainment for the car ride, DVD player, movies, leapster and Nev's camera.

When we told the kids our plans, the idea was met with trepidation. Lil bug's response was "I don't like the mountains." Monkey boy balked at the idea with some hums and haws. We ignored lil bug's commentary as she dislikes everything these days and always wants the status quo of play or activity to remain unchanged. We convinced monkey boy that it would be fun and he managed to muster some enthusiasm.

The ride was nice, despite the occassional complaint from the backseat. The view was lovely though the clouds seem to be settling into the mountains rather than dispersing. Ten minutes outside of the Banff National Park gates, J inquired what we should do since spending money to travel up a gondola to see clouds was not desirable. He asked if I brought swimsuits. Monkey boy perked up hearing this comment and thought it would be a great idea to go swimming in the hot springs again. Well, my disappointment over the weather forcing plans to change and the guilt over not remembering to pack the swimsuits, just in case, resulted in a lovely rant and my silly resolve that we should just go home.

We turned around at the gates but stopped in Canmore for lunch as our tummies were a rumblin'. The tourist information centre only had outside picnic tables. An option that was not all that appealing since it was breezy, chilly and starting to snow. The staff fortunately were able to recommend a place to eat a packed lunch and pointed us towards some casual activities to do with kids in Canmore. We made our way to the Canmore Nordic Centre, ate lunch and enjoyed watching the cross country skiers out the windows. We all perked up after filling our stomachs. Our family day looked like it might be salvaged.

J and I decided to take the kids for a short walk to see the hidden falls. Once again our idea was greeted with dismay. We forged ahead and endured a brief walk along a snow and ice packed path. Neither child liked the short trip up to the benches and viewpoint. We listened to a litany of it is too cold, too icy, I'm falling, carry me, etc, etc. We reached our destination in 15 minutes. Although the shade of a hill made it difficult to see, the falls were nice and covered with lots of ice. The kids finally snapped out of their moods and enjoyed themselves, climbing on the benches, throwing snow and looking at the view of the falls and the town of Canmore.

Upon returning to our vehicle, we headed towards a coffee shop for some sustenance and a caffeine induction for the adults. It was a little dicey again at the shop as lil bug was not satisfied with sharing the large apple juice with her brother. We finished our snack and piled into the car to return home. By this time, the sun was bathing Canmore in a wonderful warm light and the clouds were steadily disappearing. The weather improved but a little too late for us.

Lil bug fell asleep in the car and monkey boy relaxed in his seat occasionally taking pictures of the view out our window or playing his leapster. It was not an ideal outing but we muddled through and accomplished the goal of spending time together as a family. Next time, I will take the swimsuits (can never pack too much) or we will read the signs (bad weather and lack of enthusiasm from kids) a little more closely and alter plans before we leave the city. Why does knowledge often come with experience and hindsight? Where is that crystal ball I ordered?