The kids and I packed our camelbacks and snacks for our second hike to a summit around Phoenix: North Mountain. I discovered while hiking that Shadow Mountain, Lookout Mountain, North Moutain and Shaw Butte are all pretty close together. This time, we invited two other families to join us.
One family I met a year ago the Veritas homeschool group when they moved to Arizona from South Carolina. We actually live no more than ten minutes away from each other, walking at a six year-old's pace. She has three kids roughly the same ages as John, Kyle and Jessi. We have been getting together since August for a little group P.E. in a nearby park. Kyle and her middle boy are fast friends and are playing baseball together on the same team. Elizabeth has found a kindred artistic spirit in her oldest son, who is Jessi's age and Jessi and her young daughter like to play together and Jessi gets her Barbie fix at their house.
The other family I met through two different families. She emailed me in the winter with a list of prayer requests for a family we know whose wife was going through breast cancer surgery. I knew the woman, a busy mommy through a Bible study that we had attended and she had a Boy Scout connection. A week later, I actually met her when I helped a mom in my homeschooling group run a garage sale to help her raise funds to go to Africa to see the sons that she "adopted" living in an Ethiopian-run orphanage. Since then, I started to consistently run into her in our church and she decided to join the homeschooling group. Isn't it funny how God throws people together?
The hike started out cool and cloudy with a bit of a wind. Since the beginning of April, temperatures had taken a twenty degree dip, which was actually welcoming. However, a couple of my kids complained about being cold in their short sleeved shirts (don't laugh, you Minnesotans and Chicagoans! Don't cry either.) However, the sun soon burst out from behind the clouds and those wearing coats soon gave them to their moms because they became too hot. The start of the trail was steep but wide and soon turned into an aging road that led almost to the summit. The summit is actually being used for micro-wave extenders and cell phone towers. The trail seemed to end there, though a small, round, sun faded sign indicated another trail that looked more like a foot trail than a groomed trail. However, it took us down, winding around boulders, making us sit down sometimes to get to the next ledge (for those of us with short legs or weak knees). Most of it was rocky, though there were a few times when it became those little small pebbles that can easily cause you to land on your derrier. There were at least a few times when I wondered if I lost a marble or two to let my kids scramble down the steep path with a drop off so close that would lead to certain damage if they slipped off it. Plus, I had heard from a mom at our P.E. class that this is the time when hibernating snakes, grumpy and starving, come out of hiding for the first time all winter. However, the kids kept their footing and we didn't see any snakes, at least on that hike. The only potential problem came when one child, terrified of bees, encountered bees flying too close to the path. The kids all seemed to hit it off and the moms who didn't know each other got to know each other better. A fun time was had by all. I hope you enjoy the "movie" I put together.