The Trails and Paddles team is composed of a dad and daughter. Kevin wanted to share a bit about where his love and admiration of nature started:
It was the summer of 1966 before my seventh birthday. My brother Clancy and I had just acquired some new “lumberjack boots” that we loved stomping around in so much the soles eventually fell off. Myself, Clancy, and my other two brothers went on a very rare trip out of East Calgary with our mom and aunt who suffered from childhood polio and had to drive with hand controls.
This was a time when blue-collar families didn’t go on vacations often, if at all. Our dad was a train engineer who was away from home for long periods with six kids to provide for. We were mostly on our own to create adventure close to where we lived, so travel was a rare treat. This was our first trip to Banff. It was what I would later realize, the start of my life-long love of adventure, wildlife and the mountains. The passion was born, maybe without me knowing at the time.
Banff was much smaller at the time with only small amounts of tourists. Seeing the mountains, trees and wildlife from the car in real life was magic. We visited the museum where we saw many furs, antlers and hides as well as mounts of deer, elk, moose, a standing bear and other creatures natural to the park. I was in awe. The thought of being able to wander in the wild with no people or cars was life-changing. I came back to Calgary with a different view of the world.
Just around the corner from where we lived was the Hyland Theatre, now known as the Ironwood. They ran a Saturday afternoon matinee movie called Night of the Grizzly, a story of a marauding Grizzly Bear called Satan who terrorizes a mountain ranch in Wyoming. It’s currently available on ITunes, I would highly recommend it! I remember that afternoon, walking home in our lumberjack boots through all the grass pathways, puddles, anything remotely called a trail wishing we were tracking Satan through the Montana wilderness.
As I aged I have always gone to the forests to explore, whether it be camping, hiking, snowshoeing or canoeing. Just being there every chance I could. To this day I am always adventuring outside any chance I get. I brought my two daughters out camping when they were just babies and we have adventured together ever since. I’m glad I got to share these experiences with them and pass my love of nature and adventure on to the next generation.