The Best of 2015 on Play Outside Guide

by - Saturday, January 02, 2016

As I reflect on 2015, and scroll through thousands of photos, it's hard to choose favorite moments or trips.  We had so much fun and the year was full of many firsts for our family: first time backpacking (as a family), first summits, and Little POG's first time seeing the sea. Little POG learned to ride a bike and Big POG crushed blue runs on the ski hill! It is truly amazing what children can do when given the chance! As parents, Play Outside Guy and I learned the value of ultralight backpacking gear, brushed up on wilderness survival skills (just in case), and acquired extra warm winter gear for moving at the kids' pace.

The blog grew, thanks to you, and I was fortunate to partner with some amazing companies (Potable Aqua, Stormy Kromer, and Terramar Tribe) and organizations (Active for Life, Alberta Parks). As an Active for Life Ambassador, my role is to promote physical literacy. I hope our outdoor pursuits inspire you to get outside, get active as a family, and try something new! As an Alberta Parks Ambassador, I will have many trip reports on our beautiful Alberta Parks to share in 2016! 

Now presenting the best of 2015 - your favorites and ours! Happy New Year!!

Top 10 Blog Posts

  1. 3 Family Hikes in NW Calgary: Hike to a small waterfall, visit our favorite places in Nose Hill Park (including the new Medicine Wheel), and explore the Douglas Fir Trail - a forest escape in the city! 
    Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park
  2. How Geocaching Improves Your Moral Compass: What do you do when no one's watching? How this activity can be a helpful teaching tool.

  3. Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park - So Close to Calgary, So Much to Do: Only half an hour from Calgary, this beautiful park in the Foothills is worth a visit (or several). Great biking, hiking, and interpretive programs.
    Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park in Fall
  4. Save the Slopes!! (Why the Paskapoo Slopes Should Not Be Developed and How You Can Help): Besides being a mountain biker's paradise, the Paskapoo Slopes are historically and culturally significant.
    The Big Rock, Paskapoo Slopes
  5. 5 Myths About Ticks and Tick Safety Tips: Did you know putting your clothes in a hot dryer (before washing!) can kill ticks? Learn more to protect yourself from Lyme Disease and other tickborne illnesses.

  6. 5 Must-Haves for Better Camping: Therm-a-rest Luxury Lite Ultralight cot for the win! And 4 other amazing items we can't do without!
    Therm-a-rest Luxury Lite Ultralight Cot
  7. Car Camping Pack List: We car camp at least one month a year and I think this is the best car camping pack list ever! 
    This bug screen house has been a lifesaver!
  8. Falling For Winter: A guide to winter activities in Calgary, Bragg Creek, Kananaskis and Banff. Find out where to cross country ski, downhill ski, skate, snowshoe and more! 
    No one loves winter more than my munchkins!
  9. 7 Leave No Trace Fails and Remedies: Don't be that person. Learn how to minimize your impact on wild spaces.
    Graffiti is an obvious no-no, but what about dumping biodegradable soap in streams?
  10. Camping Sleep System 411 - How to choose camping bedding (sleeping bags, sleeping pads, travel cribs, camp cots) for the whole family.
Which post was your favorite? One of the above or a different one? What would you like to read about in 2016?

Your favorite instagram photo

This is the uncropped version of my most liked photo on Instagram. Taken along the Bow River Loop, Lake Louise, Banff National Park.

To see more photos, please follow me at

Our favorite day trips

Ptarmigan Cirque - The Best Short Hike in Kananaskis

Ptarmigan Cirque
Our Favorite Kananaskis Bike Path (Bill Milne Trail) - it's paved and you can ride to Wedge Pond for water fun!
Bill Milne Trail

Middle Lake, Bow Valley Provincial Park

Healy Pass, Banff National Park

Our favorite summer adventures

Backpacking the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail This was our biggest adventure of the year! Check out the route we took so you can see the best parts of the trail and skip the most strenuous sections (if hiking it with kids or limited on time).

Mystic Beach, Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, BC
Backpacking to the Point Campground, Kananaskis A short hike brings you to a beautiful campground near the water. We went with good friends and had good times. Great fishing too!

Near The Point Campground, Kananaskis

Our favorite memories

The whole family agrees that seeing a pod of orcas and a humpback whale frolic through the Juan de Fuca Strait was the best part of our 3.5 week road trip! Biking and swimming at Shuswap Lake Provincial Park were some of our other favorite moments, as well as camping and hiking with friends.

Our favorite winter adventures

We love to downhill ski and spend a lot of time at Calgary Olympic Park and Nakiska. See what we love about Nakiska here.

Learning to ski at Nakiska
We're also big fans of cross country skiing. Check out our favorite family-friendly cross country ski trails in Lake Louise here
Bow River Loop, Lake Louise
We love going on ice hikes too! For details on 3 great canyon ice hikes near Calgary (Grotto Canyon, Jura Canyon and Johnston Canyon), please see this post.

Grotto Canyon

Your Favorite Giveaway Prize

    The numbers have it. With 552 entries, the prize that generated the most excitement was a couple's set of Terramar Sports Technical Base Layers! Expect more product reviews and giveaways this year! 

    If there are any topics you are interested in hearing about, or you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment or send me a tweet. There is no greater joy for a blogger than interacting with readers! 

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