Last weekend was a public holiday in Canada – apparently normally the weather is cold and snowy and very temperamental but this weekend we were blessed with beautiful clear blue skies, sunshine and a nice and toasty 25C!

So Mr HP and I obviously wanted to make the most of this beautiful long weekend by being outdoors and without spending too much cash.

So we decided to have a day out hiking in Banff, about 100m from our apartment in Calgary.  Because it is Canada’s 150 celebration this year entry into the National Parks are free – hooray!

Now we don’t want to be wasting our hard earned pennies on food and coffees so on Saturday evening I packed a picnic of Fritatta, Sandwiches, fruit, and some veggies along with some coffee and bottles of water – we were set.

Sunday we got up at the crack of Dawn donned our hiking boots and fitness gear.  Then we had to get Rose, mini HP, ready.  If anyone has tried to have a day out with a baby the amount of stuff you need to bring is bonkers;

Spare clothes, nappies, baby carrier, car seat, milk, changing bad full of everything and my breast pump so I could express her milk throughout the day – its literally a whole car full of baby crap – oh how our lives have changed!

We set off (later than we would like) and arrived in Banff at about 9am.  Our first stop was to hike Tunnel Mountain – this is a pretty easy short hike to the summit of a mountain overlooking the town of Banff.  The views on the way up were breathtaking – it might have even been one of the best views I have every seen!

Once we got to the bottom we enjoyed our thrifty picnic and went on to explore more of Banff.

We then visited the Cave and Basin – this is the site of a cave which led to the birth of all national parks in Canada – it was also free as a result of the 150 celebrations.

We finished the day off with another hike along the Bow river falls.

This was without a doubt my favourite day out this year and we had such a great time!  Essentially our only cost of this was half a tank of fuel costing us about $25.

It just goes to show you can have a great day without breaking the bank.

So not only were we enjoying stunning views but we were also being healthy and getting some great exercise as well.

Hiking or simply going for a stroll in a park is one of our favourite past times.  Its free and you get to explore the amazing natural scenery of where you live.

Hiking is also a way to talk as a family.  All to often if you’re in a shopping mall or at the movies you aren’t really talking or spending quality time together

I can’t wait for ur next trip into the mountains to further explore this beautiful country!