And this is my Dad, in his element:
My Dad is a no-nonsense, highly-principled, dependable kind of guy who is a believer in the adage, 'you get out what you put in'. He has taught his kids that there are few worthwhile endeavors in life that can match the feeling of taking off your hiking boots at the end of a long trek or, in the winter, pulling off your ski boots at the end of a day of hard skiing. My Dad turns 69 years old in a couple weeks and he just took all 6 of his kids, (plus a few grandkids), on a 5-day backpacking trip in the Kananaskis mountains, something we haven't all been able to do together since 1986.
My nieces and nephews that came: Noah (Todd's son), Karlyn (Krista's daughter), Eric and Michael (Kami's boys) and Adam (Kim's son). We enjoyed making fun of Adam and his awkward backpack.
Krista booked us campsites along the Northover Ridge trail for the weekend of August 22nd- 25th. We managed, however to pick the coldest and rainiest weekend of the summer. Starting at the same trailhead as back in 1986, Day 1 was something like 11.5km with some serious elevation gain to Aster Lake. Once we passed Hidden Lake and got to the upper rocky slopes, I don't know how many times I said 'This is so cool!", as the trail included cool creek crossings, multiple waterfalls and amazing views ahead and behind us.
Once we finally got to Aster campground, we were pretty frozen cold and Dad confessed that he might have bitten off more than he could chew. We had an early bedtime that night and awoke Day 2 to a seriously cloudy day and the decision that we would be turning back the way we came instead of climbing Northover Ridge.
The biffy at Aster Lake had an amazing view, apparently, but a view we never enjoyed due to the cloudy weather. I ate breakfast in every layer of clothing I brought, wrapped in my sleeping bag.
Along with some cool fossils, there were some decent photo ops on the way back down, capitalized on by my photographer brother Scott.
The 4 Davis girls.
Krista and Karlyn tend to do gymnastic moves when it seems an opportune time.
We camped at Point campground that night, on Upper Kananaskis Lake. The major benefit of this site was, of course, that campfires were allowed!
Day 3 we said goodbye to Kami and her boys, as Michael was having serious ankle pain and I think Kami was tired of being cold. Ironically, the weather turned for the better that day and we camped at Forks that night.
And this is my Dad, Mountain Man/Bum:
On Day 4, I was happy that we aimed to climb Northover ridge as a day hike from Forks campground, coming from the opposite direction as planned so we would be climbing up what we had planned on climbing down. Dad came with us as far as Three Isle Lake, then I ended up inadvertently testing my skree-skiing skills during my attempt to cleverly angle my way up the slope instead of following the steeper trail up (in the end, not so clever). Once we made it to the ridge, it was jaw-dropping scenery all around you. Impossible to catch in a photograph, even as good as Scott is.
Kim, Krista Karlyn and I decided to keep climbing up more of the ridge, while the boys went back down and, as it turns out, Todd, Noah and Scott packed up camp and hiked right back to the cars to drive home that night. They missed out, however, on even more impressive views and some photo fun.
As we hiked back down, we lamented that we were leaving such a God-favoured area and didn't quite feel ready to head home. Day 5 was just a hike back to the car and a drive back to Calgary. 5 days away from my regular life went by quickly, especially with such gorgeous surroundings and good company.
As soon as I got cell reception while driving back to Todd's house, I started getting all sorts of text messages from Stacey and Samantha as they were at the hospital with Callum. He had a run-in with Stacey's treadmill and they were treating him with burns. It was a wake-up call bringing me back to reality, but helping me feel glad to see my kids again.