25 November 2013

BallTeam Pinnacle

I come from flat land and beaches.  Here in Arkansas, however, we have the Ozark Mountains and the Ouachita (pronounced Wash-i-taw) Mountains, which provide everything from white water rafting to caves to mountain hiking trails.  I have not really participated in all this outdoor goodness, but, I was persuaded yesterday to hike to the top of a mountain.  And I caved.  (Sorry; I couldn't resist....)  Pinnacle Mountain is 1,011 feet at its summit.  That is, based on a 10 foot ceiling height, 101.1 stories high.  Whoa.  We hiked the West Summit Trail.  The views were amazing.  It was 39 degrees outside.  The autumnal colors were just breathtaking.  The other hikers - and yes, there were a few - were pleasant and encouraging.  A few pictures of this great afternoon with my kids and their friends....

At the base - ready to climb.
On the back row we see Samantha and Rachel - white hat.  Josephine is in the red sparkly sweatshirt between them and next to her is Hunter - Rachel's best friend.  In front we have Charlotte, then JMichael on the rock and Ashley, Samantha's best friend.
The views were amazing, though I tried not to look back too much.  This shot is from the beginning of the trail and it's about as steep as climbing a flight of stairs.  Lots of stairs.  There are benches placed in scenic spots with dedications to the people who love this mountain.  One bench was dedicated to a guy who hiked this trail 9,000 times.  Respect.
A little higher up you come to what I called the rockslide area.  There is no trail, just rocks.  You climb the rocks with the yellow trailmarkers.  I crawled part of the way.  Trail-swag. 
Doing this in the late fall was really beautiful.  I didn't mind the cold so much, I guess that's because I was working hard the whole way.  The trail is listed as strenuous.  Yup.  JMichael bounded up the whole way and loved it all. 
Rachel fit us all in this mountain selfie at the top.  Chilly and proud of ourselves.
And in my first-ever selfie - me on the mountain.  I may never do this again, so indulge me a bit.  Thanks.
 Let me tell you a few things I learned on the mountain.  I have amazing kids.  Amazing.  They tackled this natural obstacle just like they do everything - with confidence and enthusiasm.  They naturally divided up:  Samantha and Ashley went on ahead - sometimes out of sight - with JMichael Charlotte and Josephine.  They held their hands, carried them in places and watched out for their safety.  I was so touched.  They waited for us at the top and they beat us getting back down to the bottom.  Samantha was texting me status reports of where they were and asking how I was doing.  They took the little three to the park playground and waited patiently for turtle-paced mom to climb down.  Meanwhile, Rachel and Hunter stayed back, with me.  I was slow and clumsy.  I kept telling them to go on ahead, but, they said no, you are doing this and we are staying with you to the top.  And so they did.  I wanted to quit in about six places - wherever there was a conveniently placed bench - but they pushed me ahead with the promise that the view was worth it and I better not quit.  I'm grateful I didn't quit.  The view was spectacular, but, my kids are more impressive.  What a great afternoon.

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