Favorite Travel Days in 2011, Rafting and Rock Climbing with Austin-Lehman Adventures in Alberta

Each January, I like to look back at the prior year of travel and pick my five favorite travel days that come to mind. Not to boast about where I’ve been on assignment, but to point you in the right direction. You’ll be happy to find yourselves in any of these five locales.

in late July, my family of four took a memorable six-day, five night trip into the Canadian Rockies with the highly reputable outfitter, Austin-Lehman Adventures. Based in neighboring Montana, few if any outfitters know this mountainous terrain better. Each day was jam-packed with adventure, like taking a glacier walk on the famous Icefields Parkway, biking down a backcountry road surrounded by snow-capped peaks on the outskirts of Banff, and taking walks away from the masses to a lonely lake in Lake Louise. Yet, it was hard to top the day we spent in Kananaskis Valley, an hour outside of Calgary. In the morning, we rafted the Kananaskis River and the afternoon rock climbed on the face on Mt. Yamnuska. The river was a rip-roaring ride on glacial-fed waters that certainly cooled down when splashed. My 15 year-old son, Jake, got a wake-up call when he was thrown out of the raft and we had to pull him back in.

At Yamnuska, I followed my daughter up the rock face twice, peering down over the U-shaped valley once atop. It was wonderful to share my love of adventure with my wife and kids and to be in the more than capable hands of the ALA guides. My kids had never rafted or rock-climbed before that day and are now hooked on both sports. My detailed story on the six-day trip will appear in The Boston Globe this spring and I’ll be sure to pass that along.