For our walk today, we decided to head to Spencer’s Butte, one of our favorite hiking spots in Eugene. It’s just a few miles to the top and provides a sweeping view of the valley unlike any other in the county. Zeal likes it especially because the last few hundred yards are more like rock climbing than hiking and he loves to bound up to the top and then have a special treat while taking in the view. Our dog seems to love it too.
So, we drive to the parking lot leading up to the Butte, park, get out and start the hike like we always do. Spotting a few women walking ahead of us who were starting to get our dog worked up, Zeal said, "Look at this Mom! We’ve never gone this way", and took a quick right turn. "Come, Bengali!" he called, and they both ran off.
The top is this way, I thought, but followed his and the dog’s lead.
We’ve been in these woods at least a hundred times. We thought we knew this place. And look what we found, hiding on the bottom right of Spencer’s Butte.
"Wowwwwwww!" He marveled. "Whaaaaat iiiiiiss thiiiiiiiis?"
Well, apparently it is the Rise to New Heights Spencer Butte Challenge Course . Here's what the brochure from the rain-protected little box says:
You are lying on your back, stiff as a board, in the arms of your teammates. Your hands are folded across your chest. If your eyes were open, you'd be looking up at the sky. Yet, you've kept them closed, hoping to somehow improve your chances of being passed through the giant rope Spider Web without touching any of its tenuous strands. You and your teammates have diligently planned how each person will go through the web; who will go through first and who will follow; who will step through the holes, and who will be guided through the higher ones. After passing through safely, you breathe a sigh of relief, and your teammates cheer the effort.
The Spencer Butte Challenge Course offers a professional learning opportunity that will help your group explore the dynamics of teamwork. By using experience as the teacher, groups actively explore their abilities, learn team skills, and build relationships...
The course is accessible to youth, adolescents, adults, and people of all abilities.
We played for a bit...
We spent about a half an hour walking back and forth on this one, which for this kid who has had an ongoing interest in simple machines, was extra special. Can you say "fulcrum"?
The storm started again, and the rain was coming down and wetting us more than I was up for. We left amongst minor protest from the dog and a promise to Zeal that we would go back tomorrow.
So here I am plotting to not just get a group of kids up there to do the challenge course together, but to gather the adults in my circle of scout leaders, women's groups, and other organizations we are involved in. For it is often us, the adults, who need the reminders and practice to take the road less traveled now and again. Without it, how are we ever to guide children in that practice?
Happy listening to the children and a very lovely Earth Day!