To celebrate a few milestones for my growing blog – 100+ likes on Facebook, 100+ likes on Instagram, and 400+ followers on Twitter – in keeping with social media tradition, I will be sharing some info about me and doing my first giveaway (contest closed Dec 2014). THANK YOU so much for reading, commenting, and sharing my posts and tweets!
Q&A with PlayOutsideGal (Karen Ung)
- What is your favorite hike? For mountain hikes, I love Snowbird Pass in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Cirque Peak in Banff National Park, and Nub Peak in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. I also love beach walks and the amazing terrain in the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park. My favorite kid-friendly hikes close to Calgary are Rawson Lake and Grassi Lakes.
Mount Assiniboine and LakeMagog at Sunrise
- What is your favorite backpacking trip? The Berg Lake Trail. There is a pretty lake, several stunning waterfalls on the hike in, and a great dayhike (Snowbird Pass) from Berg Lake. Listening to icebergs crashing into Berg Lake at the foot of Mount Robson was incredible. I woke up seconds too late to see it happen, but hope to see it with my kids in the near future. Mount Assiniboine is a close second favorite.
Reef Ice Field seen from Snowbird Pass, Mount Robson Provincial Park
- What is your favorite scramble? Mount Redoubt in Skoki. The views were great and I was in great company. I think your hiking companions really make your day.
- What is the longest backpacking trip you’ve ever done? The West Coast Trail. Sure, it was 75 km, but it was easy because it was pretty flat and we went at a leisurely pace. We spent a whole week on the trail! I highly recommend taking your time if the weather’s good. My group loved lazy lunches on the beach while watching seals frolic in the tide. Oh, and did I mention an 87 year old did the trip with us?! ‘Twas an epic adventure!
Carmanah Lighthouse, West Coast Trail
- How did you meet your husband? I used to lead events for the Calgary Outdoor Club and my hubby signed up for my backpacking trip to Egypt Lake in Banff National Park. We hit it off right away and I was overjoyed because he liked every outdoor activity as much or more than me. I love cycling; he had ridden his bike all over France for 8 months. I like kayaking; he was building a kayak. I was planning on the doing the West Coast Trail; he had already done it and had advice for me. My hubby has gotten me into winter sports and just made my life better in so many ways.
Our Chesterman Beach, Tofino Wedding. Modelling Helly Hansen Rain Gear. Photo by Chris Pouget.
- How do you get your kids outside every day? I do things they like, at their pace, until the little one conks out and then we continue at my 5 year old’s pace. I usually bring the Chariot or a baby backpack to transport my little one (3 yrs old), but we still bring skis/snowshoes/a scooter/a balance bike for my youngest so she can try what the rest of the family is doing. For short trips, we suck it up and move slowly so the little one can build some endurance. Getting both kids to walk slowly is better than not walking at all!
The Chariot in Action – carrying my 3 year old AND her balance bike
- Dream vacation? I would love to spend a month in Hawaii near a beach. We spent 10 days in Oahu in 2009 and it was heavenly. My other favorite places are on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia. Even though I went there all the time growing up, I never get sick of the scenery.
Kahala Beach, Oahu
- Biggest pet peeve? People who throw caution to the wind when venturing out with their kids. While we will go sledding or build a snowman in extreme temperatures (for less than an hour), we will not tent camp in it or drag our kids to the mountains to ski all day in it. Too many things can go wrong (As former VP and President for an outdoor club with 4,000+ members, I have seen and heard it all!). We wear helmets for cycling and all winter sports, even sledding. We do not skate on thin ice (makes me think of Jack Frost in Rise of the Guardians). Finally, we do not pack ultra light and are not ashamed of it (we bring extra clothes, mitts, food, and water). Pack well, observe and respect the conditions of both weather and terrain; then you can have fun for many years to come.
- What’s on your Bucket List for the next few years? Berg Lake Trail*, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park*, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands*, Grand Canyon*, Colorado, Maui, Okanagan*, and Jasper. *I have already been, but want to take the kids there.
Malaspina Galleries, Gabriola Island
- What’s your favorite play outside gear? In this season, I am loving our Cougar2 Chariot with ski attachments*, Littlelife Freedom Child Carrier, Oakley prescription sunglasses*, Arc’teryx Fission SV jacket*, Helly Hansen Legendary ski pants*, Black Diamond Mercury Mitts*, MEC Storm Degree jacket, Salomon Nytro winter boots, Teko midweight hiking socks*, MEC Toaster Parka & Bib Pants (for the kids)*, and MEC Toasty Mitts (for the kids)*. In summer, I wear Vasque Breeze 2.0 hiking boots and my Outdoor Research Alibi soft shell jacket – with shorts and a shirt, of course. (* shown in photo below.)
Cross Country Skiing in Lake Louise. Photo by Tanya Koob.
|My itFitBand – not just for jogging or yoga. Works with a bike helmet to keep ears warm.