Friday, September 19, 2008

Third Grade Lies

Today, I went on a "nature hike" with my oldest son's third-grade class. We were to climb the North Menan Butte, a 300-ft-tall volcanic cinder cone about 15 miles from where we live. We've climbed the butte before. We did not expect any surprises.

Color me surprised.

This innocent nature hike turned into the Bataan Death March of nature hikes. Rather than climb from the public parking on the south side of the butte towards the saddle of the volcano, we climbed the west side of the butte, a hike which begins with a ten-minute jaunt just to get to the foot of the volcano. Then we climbed. And climbed. And climbed. An entire herd of third-graders, two classes in all, most eagerly ascending, but me with the stragglers, including my son, bitter that he'd forgotten to bring a water bottle. I was not bitter. I would have had to carry it the entire time. But we saw lizards, We saw scorpions. We saw little caves I'd be tempted to sneak into and camp out in at night. We also walked, once we got to the rim, to the other side of the mountain, a distance of about two miles, to stand atop the white-painted "R" that faces east. Then we walked down to the saddle, crossed the crater bowl, then slid and skittered down the sandy slopes to the bus. In total, a walk of about four to five miles. Made the kids late for lunch.

But I'd do it again. Tomorrow, I post pictures.

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