field trip.

thanks for all the meal ideas, you guys!  I accomplished quite a bit yesterday-- I think I logged at least 8 hours in the kitchen.  not bad, eh?  I might have to invest in a padlock for the freezer though, to keep the scavengers from scarfing it all.


a couple weeks ago I packed up the three youngest and set off for Sedona, mainly to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather and enjoy the great outdoors.  when the weather gets nice, I find it hard to roost inside.
it was late morning when I made the announcement, "it's a beautiful day!  let's go on a field trip!"  immediately, Phoebe starts jumping up and down, yelling excitedly, "hooray, a field trip!" while Rowan, not to be left out, joins in the chorus with his version, "yay, feed twip!"  before the frenzy dies down, Phoebe quickly adds, "um, what's a field trip?"  ha.

I explain to her that it's a special trip, usually to explore a cool place.  "sort of like an adventure."  with a note of mysteriousness in my voice I continue, "you like adventures, right?"  Phoebe nods eagerly and Rowan's eyes get all wide as he mimics me, "uh-benture?"  exactly.

so, a half-hour later we arrive at our destination: West Fork, a scenic hiking trail that winds along Oak Creek and is surrounded by gorgeous canyon walls.    

I roll up to the booth to pay the park entrance fee.  as I come to a stop, the (crotchety-appearing) lady inside cranks her head out the window and begins inspecting my cargo.  she peers at the three obviously small children in the back of the van and frowns.  turning her attention back to me, she asks, "you planning on doing the hike?"  "um, yeah," I answer.  "well," she continues, "just to let you know, the creek is running about 2-3 inches above the rocks.  might be a bit challenging for the wee ones to cross."  

oops.  I remember now that this is the trail that requires you to ford the creek in certain spots.  and in order to cross, you have to leap from rock to rock and maintain your balance while doing so, as to not fall in. (the creek is fairly shallow, so it's mostly to avoid schlepping around in wet, soggy shoes, rather than getting swept away.) well, this should be interesting, I thought, because Rowan would be walking.  but hey, I'm always up for a challenge.  I pay the fee and the lady shakes her head as if to say, "you crazy woman."  nothing new there. 

first things first: lunch, because it's not fun to hike on an empty stomach, right?  and the kids were beyond thrilled to eat from a brown bag.  "just like the school kids," Phoebe tells me.  "school," says Rowan, a big smile on his face.  um, Rowan, I think you have a few skills to learn before heading to school, like going pee on the potty for starters.                   

we weren't too far on our "uh-benture" (really, how fast can you go with three kids, age 4 and under?) when Phoebe comes up to me with this sweet bunch of flowers, smiles and says, "mom, I picked these just for you... because you're sooo nice."  it was one of those moments in parenthood where, among all the times of I-don't-know-what-the-heck-I'm-doing, a tiny seed sprouts.  like aha!  I must be doing something right!

as we approach the first creek crossing, I start to get a little panicky.  but instead of having to teeter on slippery rocks to get across, someone had so kindly constructed a makeshift bridge out of a pile of logs.  obviously The Lady in the Booth was not informed of this.  I said a quick prayer and sent Phoebe off.  out of the four times we had to cross, she ended up slipping only once, soaking her sock and shoe.  if it bothered her, she never said. 

getting Rowan (and myself) across was definitely more hairy canary.  for one, I had Scarlett on my back, and two, I had to hold both of Rowan's hands (see above), while he inched along in front of me, stumbling every now and then.  the combination of the two threw my balance off a bit, and made for some slow traversing.  but, nevertheless, we did it.  and I bet you're all siding with The Lady in the Booth now, huh?  thought so.

but oh, the views were worth it!   

as well as watching Rowan.  I tell you, the kid was in his element.  climbing trees, exploring, hauling rocks, picking out walking sticks and playing in the dirt.  I always like to claim: the grubbier the kid, the more successful the outing.  it's all good, because this is what making memories is all about.

chalk another one up for the self-timer.

Scarlett loved the fresh air-- and it wasn't long before she zonked out.  top right picture taken by "photographer" Phoebe.  it was quite comical watching her, as she could barely hold the camera up.

in the end, everything went fine and we all had a grand time.  I loaded the dirty, tired kids into the van and within a minute they were all sound asleep.  and I got to enjoy a peaceful drive home.  that's worth the trip right there.      

so, where will your next "uh-benture" take you?"



Anonymous said...

Wow! You are amazing! I think the lady in the booth would have had me turning around. But looks like an awesome day! What memories! Joleen

Sue Hill said...

Wow, you sure are uh-benture-ess, Jessica! Looks awesome and yes, well worth it!

Kara said...

First of all, looks like you have blog readers at all times of the day and night!:)
2nd of all, I give you credit to go on these "uh-bentures" alone with the wee ones. Sad to say, after baby number 5, I've pretty much stayed planted with my wee ones at home. Maybe you'll give me some inspirations!

Corinne said...

yea, looks like a great place to go on a field trip!! we are heading to the local park today and meeting up with some friends! (my oraganizing/baking is yet delayed another day...) suns out in MN! can't stay home!! and how do you even think of going hiking in such adorable clothes!? gee, you inspire me in that catagory!!! cute pics!:)

Keilah said...

You are adventurous! Very sweet pictures.
If you ever want companions on your field trips, call us up! :)

Briita said...

love this hike although i've never attempted it alone! looks like you know how to get rowan to smile...in the great outdoors! how fun and i was thinking the same thing...even on a hike all are dressed nice!

Anonymous said...

I wish Ken and I would have been close by to join you.We sure do miss those beautiful hikes! We are looking forward to next fall. Thanks for sharing all the pictures of the grandkids. You should have a book made of your blog entries.

Brenda said...

Hmmm.... you have me thinking! Where could I bring the kids on a field trip to? Well, sounds like rain for the next few days so I have a while to ponder that! Awesome awesome pics tho!

able mabel said...

Hee hee! I didn't even think twice about your outfits. They are so "you", I didn't even notice it's not "normal" hiking attire until I read the other comments.

What a fun outing!! I'm sure the kids appreciated it!