It's so tiring doing nothing at all but hiking and biking and eating that it's felt hard to sit down to type. This morning, based upon the premise that to hike with children one doesn't have to actually pick kid-friendly hikes, but rather hike in a kid-friendly fashion, we explored the beginning of a Canmore to Banff biking trail. This trail begins in a creek valley up near the Spray Lakes. We ambled along at an extraordinarily kid-friendly pace, weaving through wider patches of the creek saturated with moose prints, crossing over log bridges, and picking many wild strawberries. The children were delighted and our pace was so delightful. Sadly, only about a mile in we reached a crossroads and additional trailhead sign declaring that the trail was, from that point onward, closed. The wildlife needed more space to stretch out... and we were happy to allow them that space, even though it meant turning back. Our return hike was even slower, and we returned to the car with three mud-covered shoes, lots of bug bites, and red-stained lips.
This afternoon I hopped on my bike and took to the trails. I rode by myself for miles downriver following a bike trail that was well travelled but not crowded. The water was so clear and aqua and the sky so high and blue and I was so alone. The sun was so bright and I felt like my bike might just take flight and begin to circle like a hawk. The day was so warm but the air is so dry here that you don't ever get hot and sweaty, which makes you feel like you could exercise continuously without ever getting tired. Nevertheless, I did ultimately turn around and head back to town, where Greg and his cousins had taken all of our kids to a wonderful playground. We followed the romp with a trip to the local flatbread company where they laid out a beautiful table for 12 for us and our noise completely drowned out anything else that was happening in the restaurant. It was gorgeous.
I have to close with an anecdote of little Maeve, our stalwart hiker, who asks with great regularity to get down from her pack. She's quite good natured about staying in if the other little kids are up, but I do let her come down to hike if our pace is lazy. She putters along, picking up stones, intermittently running, gathering flowers and grasses, and sometimes grabbing my hand. And then, inevitably, after a few minutes, she stops and stands still. She says the same thing every time, and so do I.
I say, "Maeve, it's time to keep hiking. We have to walk."
And she says, "I'm looking at the woods".
I love that girl.