Field trip! (Ostensibly, desert survival)
Good thing I looked a little more closely at the e-mail with all the info for today’s field trip, in order to tell a new friend the details this morning; I thought it was to be at Spur Cross Regional Park. It wasn’t; it was at Cave Creek Regional Park. That would’ve stunk to have gone to the wrong place!
The event didn’t start until 1:00 p.m., and I decided we’d get there early and do a little hike, and eat lunch beforehand. At least one other family was going to arrive early, as well, but we ended up being the only one, which, actually, was just fine with me.
Before we set out from the truck, I asked the kids if they wanted the longer one-mile hike, or the shorter. I shouldn’t have asked; as expected, only Grant wanted the longer one. If we didn’t have an agenda that day, Grant’s vote, along with mine, would have overruled the other three. We’ll have to come back for certain and do the one mile loop, and soon. Still, it was worth it. However, it’s actually a bit of an overstatement to call it a hike. It was more like a mildly hilly ¼ mile stroll on a dirt path.
It has been literally SIX YEARS since I’ve seen the spring foothills so green (the pics below do not do them justice; it is SO GREEN). In the Sonoran Desert, January showers bring March flowers, and there will be a LOAD of them in a few weeks, as both January and February have been awash with wonderful rain.
Today, there were just a few flowers in bloom: some desert bells, Mexican gold poppies, a few desert marigold, and an even fewer brittlebush. The hillsides of the park are covered in brittlebush, so when they bloom, it will be absolutely garishly bright yellow. I can’t wait.
Also, this was the first hike in which Fiala was walking. I brought along a sling, to put her on my back, but she would have none of it. She didn’t want to hold anyone’s hand or anything. Even Audrey remarked on her baby sister’s eagerness and toughness. That, too, makes me look forward all the more to really start hiking in earnest again.
Along the way, we saw a lovely female cardinal, who serenaded us as we walked along.
Here’s some park scenery:
Although I’m philosophically opposed to there being playgrounds in parks primarily used for hiking, my kids sure aren’t:
There was a good turnout for this ranger talk, which was supposed to be on desert survival, but my boys (and myself) were hoping for something a little more gritty than, “If you get bit by a rattlesnake, get to a hospital ASAP.” Still. Ranger Jim was very nice, and it was interesting, if not particularly informative (other than the nice section/diagram of a desert solar still).
About a third of the way into the talk, I had to slip up and whisper to Grant that he had answered more than his share of questions, and to give everyone else a chance. (I was very proud of him for being mindful of that the rest of the time.)
I’m probably biased towards homeschooled kids, but I think all the kids did a very admirable job of eagerly both asking and answering questions. However, a slightly awkward hush fell over the group when Ranger Jim asked if anyone knew how long scorpions had been around. Later, my daring friend Allison said that she very nearly hollered out, “Um, you’re talking to a group of young earth creationists!” But, she was saved by a little girl who wisely answered, “As long as the animals have been!” And, yes, that is true, no matter which way you look at it!
Good times. 🙂