By: Tanya Koob
Between work and those pesky grown-up responsibilities, there never seems to be enough weekend to go around. Fortunately, we mountain folks have easy access to multiple national parks and protected areas right out the back door, and with a little bit of creativity, we can prolong the weekend by taking mini-adventures throughout the week.
1. Watch the sun go down from the top of a local summit. Many peaks in the Rockies offer accessible post-work scrambles with short, easy descents (by headlamp if need be). Some Highline-approved hikes are Ha Ling Peak and Heart Mountain from Canmore, Sulphur Mountain in Banff, Whistler’s Mountain in Jasper and Polar Peak in Fernie.
2. Night hike a popular tourist trail. Johnston Canyon near Banff is a lovely little stroll, especially when you have the place all to yourself. Extend your trip with an overnight stay at Larry’s Camp above the Ink Pots, then hike down early before the tourists are even out of bed. In Revelstoke, check out Eva Lake Trail. There’s a backcountry campground at the lake and it only takes two hours to get there at a good pace.
3. Have lunch on a lake. Get away from the hustle and bustle by heading out on the water in your boat of choice. If you don’t have time to go for a paddle, you can keep it simple with a lakeside picnic.
4. Catch your own dinner. Pick up a fishing permit from the local visitor centre and head out to your local fishing hole to rustle up some grub. Bring a cast iron frying pan and some butter to enjoy the fruits of your labour over a campfire before heading home.
5. Check in to your local wilderness hostel. Hostelling International Canada has a network of 10 wilderness hostels spread across the Alberta and B.C. Rockies. Many of the hostels are located within a 30-minute drive from the towns of Banff, Canmore or Jasper. Head out after work for some cragging or mountain biking, then bunk down at a nearby hostel for the night. Bring a change of clothes for work the next day and your boss will be none the wiser.