It was Wednesday, October 21, 2020. Taryn woke up all bright-eyed, wondering how her birthday would go. Taryn’s parents came into her bedroom, and Boulder immediately bounded off the bed to greet them.
“Put on your hiking boots,” Mom said after all the birthday hugs and kisses were done. “And make sure Boulder’s harness is on … we are going on a birthday hike!”
Although the Brady family always went on hikes, Taryn got super excited because there was just something magical about the sound of a birthday hike. In fact, the family had never done a BIRTHDAY HIKE specifically before, so Taryn knew this was special.
It didn’t take long for the car to stop at one of their favourite hikes along the mountain river. As they hopped out of the car, another car pulled up. Who should get out? It was Annie, the new girl at school who had just moved to Banff from far away. Taryn remembered telling Mom all about her and that she was really nice.
“Tah Dah!” said Dad, “Annie is here to celebrate your birthday with you.” Taryn was super pleased and eagerly greeted Annie with an elbow bump and a laugh. Soon they were set to go.
“Safety first!”, said Dad. “You know we have a lot of wildlife and the bears are out eating as much as they can before their winter’s hibernation. Here’s your bear bell walking sticks.”
Boulder fussed just a little as bells were attached to his harness. “He’ll get used to them.” Taryn told Annie. “Once we get going, we won’t even hear the jingle, but the bears will! Then they won’t get surprised—they will just disappear back into the woods. There is good information on the signs of what to do if we meet a Bear, Annie.” Taryn explained. “I’ll show you.”
“Smile!” said Mom, “Lets get a picture of you two before you go."
Taryn and Annie followed the path, enjoying the sound of the rushing river that was now far below. “We must never get too close to the edge of the cliff”, explained Taryn as they looked at the clear blue racing waters down below.
Meanwhile, down at the river bed, Taryn’s family were working fast and happily. They had secretly brought everything needed for a perfect birthday lunch—even the kitchen table! Then Taryn’s Dad slipped off quickly and very quietly. Like a trackman, he followed the girls on the trail, just to be safe.
After a while the girls were back. “Wow a banquet at the river!” Annie’s eyes were wide. “You brought the birthday to the hike!!”
Taryn laughed. “This is like …. stupendous!!” All the food was Taryn’s favourites—chicken sandwiches, a basket of raw carrots and fresh raspberries, and of course, cake and an extra special lollipop treat for later. But, best of all they were out in nature and using real plates and glasses. No waste here on the mountain. “This is the best!” exclaimed Taryn.
After a no ordinary birthday picnic, Taryn took Annie to the flats of the riverbed where the overflow waters lay calm and still. Here they could find flat rocks on the dry parts of the riverbed, and Taryn taught Annie to skip rocks over the water.
That night just before falling asleep, Taryn thought about the day. It was perfect--all her favourites. Then she had a great "AHA!" moment. Taryn began to remember all her parent’s questions…What’s your favourite thing to do? Do you have any new friends? She smiled, she yawned and then she was sound asleep with a smile on her face.
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