Oh the Places You’ll Go!

When I think of all the places my feet have taken me – to the top of mountains and deep into the backcountry, into unknown territory in foreign locations or for long runs along forested paths closer to home – I am utterly astounded by their resilience.

Wikipedia tells me that our feet and ankle structure contains 26 bones, 33 joints and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. Each of these tiny parts bears not only my weight but often the pack on my back, and they are called to manouevre over uneven, often accident-prone, terrain. Yet, all things considered, very little has happened to them and they continue to take me faithfully wherever I’d like to go.

Beautiful feet. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Beautiful feet. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

As I stare at my daughter’s adorably tiny baby feet, I can’t help but imagine all the places they will take her in her lifetime. Right now she doesn’t use them very much, except for when she is forced into movement by reflexes. But as her cartilage strengthens into bone and she learns to put one foot in front of the other, she’ll gradually be able to explore the world around her just a little bit more at a time.

Without knowing it, Maya has already gone on lots of adventures in Banff, Jasper and Yoho National Parks, albeit in utero: to the top of Mt. Lady Macdonald, Mt. Fullerton, Massive Mountain, Little Crowfoot, Mt. Cinquefoil and Tunnel Mountain; up on the Waputik Glacier and to Scott Duncan Hut; to the wonderfully scenic viewpoints of Bow Glacier Falls, the Plain of Six Glaciers, Cory Pass and Healy Pass; and gliding along the Minnewanka Loop – all in mom’s belly. And while it will be a long time before she can explore those places on her own (if she wants to!), her parents are looking forward to starting fresh on the trails they don’t often visit anymore, and rediscovering them through an infant’s eyes. In Maya’s presence, and as we inch along on the trail, every pine cone, rock, pika or flower will have new meaning.

Go explore, Maya! We’ll be right behind you as you discover new things about the world around you, whether it’s a bowl from the kitchen, dandelion in the local park, or glacier hanging off an unfathomably large peak.

To close, some words by the famous Dr. Seuss:

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”

In what ways have your kids helped you rediscover the world around you?

Author: Meghan J. Ward

Meghan J. Ward is an outdoor, travel and adventure writer based in Banff, Canada, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Meghan has written several books, as well as produced content for films, anthologies, blogs and some of North America’s top outdoor, fitness and adventure publications. She has a forthcoming travel memoir (Fall 2022), to published by Rocky Mountain Books.

2 thoughts

  1. It’s not so much the places I’ve rediscovered as the experience. Before kids it was a new trail every time I put on my boots. It was a big peak or the deep woods.

    Now I can go back to the same trail time and again and find a new rock or a new stick or a new bug and be perfectly content. Burnout still happens, but it takes a lot longer, and seeing the kids clamber over a familiar boulder can renew the trail for months.

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