Friday, October 16, 2015

Higher Ground

 On Saturday morning, once again, the team assembled in the kitchen
to prepare for launch.

With no firm deadline to meet this morning
(like yesterday's cave tour time slot),
Team Choate put on a lovely breakfast for us all :D

Then we packed a picnic lunch
and headed for Pinnacle Mountain,
where we met the Hibbard family
(minus Doug, who was working at the church).

God gave us a gorgeous day for a hike -
sunny and warm, but not too warm.

Though that was a matter of opinion.
Note the native Arkansan, below, wearing a knit hat and a jacket...

Though we may have regional differences on what constitutes a "mountain",
Pinnacle Mountain earns its name by standing alone, surrounded by gently rolling ground.
And the trail up the mountain was no casual Sunday afternoon stroll ;D

I believe it gained about 700 feet in elevation in three-quarters of a mile.
See the yellow spray paint on the rock to the left of the kids?
That marks the trail.

We had a big enough (and responsible enough)
group that we didn't mind spreading out a bit
as we went up at different speeds.

About half-way up we started seeing the beautiful views.
This is looking to the NW at Lake Maumelle.

I was hoping to use Katherine's short legs as my excuse to hang back,
but she sure out-hiked me :D

Ann and Olivia H. kept a steady pace...

and Joanna, Olivia C. and I stopped to look back where we'd come from.
Our vehicles were parked in the big grassy meadow in the distance!

Pressing on, the upward way ;D

Ah, the summit!
Actually, there are two summits - this is the East Summit,
with the Arkansas River in the background.
We could kind of see the tall buildings of Little Rock,
but it was pretty hazy.

it was just plain pretty :D

Here, you can see the earth dam on the east end of Lake Maumelle,
and Olivia C.'s braids :D

We left the picnic lunch down below for after the hike,
but Joanna thoughtfully brought a bag of trail mix with her,
and we all appreciated a couple of handfuls to snack on.
Especially the two teen-age boys!

Thanks (Joanna or Ann?) for snapping this one of Tate and me :D

Okay, yes, they're posing.

The four teenagers - Sarah, Benjamin, Tate, and Olivia H.

And all the kids...
Back: Sarah, Tate, Benjamin
Front: Olivia C., Katherine, Steven, Angela, and Olivia H.

Tate did a great job sorting out all the kids,
but the two Olivias we kind of joked about...
Olivia Choate
Olivia non-Choate
Olivia non-Hibbard

And, YAY!
The three moms, with their feet planted on the "higher ground" ;D

Over on the West Summit
the kids were chasing lizards
and enjoying the view to the south.

We decided to break into two groups going down.
The guys wanted to try the east trail,
which appeared to be somewhat steeper,
while the rest of us went back down the way we came.

Again, you can see yellow marks painted on the stones to mark the trail.
Fortunately, the steepest part of our route was quite like a giant set of stairs!

The other route was indeed steeper,
though I have a feeling there was some horsing around going on ;D

We were really thankful to see the fabulous spread of picnic food,
complete with chocolate chip cookies :D

We were glad Doug could come join us for lunch,
though he missed the hike.
All too soon, the Hibbards needed to head home to prepare for church.
Saturday isn't the most relaxing day for a pastor and his family,
and I'm glad they were able to be with us!

Back at the Choates,
we were treated to dinner AND music :D
Aaron and Joanna both majored in music (right?)
and play cello.
All the kids also play instruments and/or sing.
We heard Sarah sing,
Benjamin play viola and piano,
Olivia on the piano (I think, right?)
and Katherine very willingly played a piece on her
Katherine-size cello for me.

I love her concentration :D

They cheerfully gave me a first lesson,
and I stumbled through
Twinkle, Twinkle,
but I'm clearly Not Ready For Prime Time ;D

Aaron and Joanna, however, play beautifully.
*Happy Sigh*

Tate taught everyone a game our youth group likes to play,
involving passing papers around with everyone contributing
characters, location, dialog, and action to make
utterly random and completely silly little stories.

The Choates were quick to jump in and make it fun!
Love that about these folks :D

1 comment:

Choate Family said...

YOU GUYS are the ones who make hiking, playing games, and just plain ol' life fun! Thanks for sharing such a special time with us :-)