Being the Daughter of the Walking Twin Cities Guidebook Author
It takes an entire family to write a guidebook. At least that’s the case for Walking Twin Cities authors, Holly Day and Sherman Wick. With the ink drying on the third edition of their popular urban guidebook, Holly reflects back on her daughter growing up as a mini author accomplice.
Perhaps the one person whose life has been defined by Walking Twin Cities the most has been our daughter, Astrid. We worked on the very first edition when she was a little over four years old, the second edition when she was in fourth grade, and this newest edition as she was in middle school and preparing to enter high school (she starts next week!).
Her greatest contributions to the book came with that first edition. Because she wasn’t in school, she went along with us on every single walk during a pretty brutal winter season. Any time the temperature went over 30 degrees, we put on our coats and boots (and Astrid, her full-body snowsuit), threw the jogging stroller into the back of the car, and drove to whatever site we needed to map and explore for the day.
At first, Astrid was delighted to escape from being stuck inside to go on these 1-5-mile hikes. She’d spend most of her time strapped into the stroller, a cup of hot cocoa or a cookie or a brownie—whatever we could find at a bakery or coffee shop in the area we were mapping for the day—clenched in her hands, happily pointing out birds and trees and saying “hi” to people as we passed by. Whenever she wanted to stretch out her legs, we’d let her out of the stroller and let her run along the path or play in the snow, which made our job take longer but was so much more fun.
After mapping out the first 200+ miles of hiking trails over a period of several months, though, the novelty of being dragged away from her Scooby Doo cartoons and toys to go on yet another hike had worn thin. “I don’t wanna go!” she’d scream when she saw us gathering supplies to go outside. “No walks!” Luckily, some of these days we were able to drop her off with either my parents or Sherm’s mom, and we’d plan out and hike the remaining walks for the book until sundown, with a stop for lunch and several stops for coffee. I got more use out of my ugly hiking shoes that year than I ever thought I would (sorry, Mom, but they are ugly!), and every time we have a new edition of the book to work on, I pull them out of the closet and put them back on again.
While she was in school most of the time that we were rewalking and rewriting these hikes in Walking Twin Cities, she did get to come along with us for treats. Both our children have learned to equate writing books with getting to eat pizza and hamburgers from a different restaurant at least once a week, impromptu presents of brownies and cookies and pastries when they come home from school, and spontaneous trips to whatever new ice gourmet cream parlor has popped up in the Twin Cities. Looking over the past editions of Walking Twin Cities, as well as looking through the new edition itself, it’s hard not to wonder where we’ll all be when it’s time to write the next version of this book.