Adventuring with kids is always a gamble. It could be a complete disaster or it could be absolutely amazing. You never really know which way it will go until you get out there and try. I had no idea what to expect packing Liam up on Sunday morning to do the Grassi Lakes trail just outside of Canmore.
“Liam, what do you say if we see a bear?”
He puts his hands out in front of him, “Whoa, bear!”.
This may be one of my proudest parenting moments, teaching him the basics from my Bear Aware training from a college summer job in the foothills. It’s kind of an inside joke for my family and friends who’ve been through this training. Don’t worry, we were carrying bear spray too.
Shortly after that, Liam took off running up the trail. I looked at my work friend who joined us for the day and said, “I bet you didn’t expect to be trail running today, did you?”. Liam was our trail guide and entertainment as we walked through the trees. At one point, he had stopped and spread his hands out claiming to be the owner of this trail, “I call it the Universe Trail!” It was in this moment that made me wonder if Liam could feel the magic of the mountains the same way I do.
We stopped midway to take in the views of the waterfall, the Canmore townsite, Ha Ling Peak and EEOR while we ate our picnic lunch. There were tons of people along the trail and a lot of them were impressed to see Liam trucking along, having a great time.
At one point, someone from one group gave Liam a high five as they passed and another person told him they liked his hat. He turned around with the hugest grin and said, “Mama, they think I’m cool!”. But I was grinning even more because I thought he was pretty cool for being out there with me. He was having so much fun, making up his own stories and adventures, and didn’t complain about the walk or ask to be carried once.
We probably spent a good hour or more wandering around the beautiful little lakes, petting all the pups who were eager to go for a swim, watching the rock climbers and throwing rocks into the water. Liam wanted to keep exploring but eventually I had to convince him that it was time to go since we still had to make the walk back. We took the easy route back down to the parking lot and Liam took off in a full out sprint for nearly half the return trip. Again, I laughed as my friend and I ran behind, still not expecting to be out trail running with an almost-four-year-old on a Sunday afternoon in the mountains. The running slowed to a crawl followed by just a bit of complaining from a tired little boy. The promise of ice cream was all that kept him going to the bottom. There were some pretty happy high fives when we reached the parking lot, my heart swollen with pride and my soul full of that mountain magic.
There’s really nothing better than conquering new trails with your mini adventure buddy.