At the beginning of July we gathered together for a day of birthday surprises for one of our new friends. The birthday girl and her family were some of the first people to reach out to us, include us, and invite us to anything and everything. When the birthday girl's brothers announced what they had up their sleeve, we were all in!
They told their sister that they were going to the park for a picnic and some frisbee. Meanwhile, a big group of us took our places at different locations in the park and planned to go out to meet them bit by bit. Eventually, there we were standing in the middle of the field wishing her a happy birthday. She had nooooo idea what was happening.
After everyone was accounted for, we set out for a hike.
I did all of my hiking in the southeast (Chimney Rock, Grandfather's Mountain, Mt. Mitchell, and Battleground were my FAVORITE places to go). We would pack lunch, take our time, play in the waterfalls, and my grandma kept up in flip flops. I LOVE that kind of hiking. We'd stop for fudge or ice cream or to poke around at any spot that looked interesting. I've learned that very few people hike the way I grew up hiking....
This hike was fun and totally doable, but it started out with one step up a super steep hill after another. I started at the back of the line and just kept zooming around people. No talking. I had to get to the top. I was afraid if I went too slowly or stopped I would die. It was one of the hottest days we had had and I had no idea how long the hike was going to be that intense. It turned out, that the intensity lasted JUST until we made it to the top and then it was all downhill and meandering after that. I had nothing to be afraid of.
We stopped for a water break and pictures and more visiting before making our way back down and around the mountain. The views were pretty gorgeous. I stayed near the front of the pack, but my "I'm going to have to be carried out of here" panic was long gone. I took to chatting and even stopped to snap a few shots.
After the hike was over, we said our goodbyes and she thought they were finally going on their picnic and were headed to watch their dad's softball game. Well, little did she know, the rest of us rushed back to our houses to get our potluck dishes before heading to the very same park. There was more hiding in the bushes...
There they are, having their "picnic". Meanwhile....They are surrounded.
This day will go down as one of my favorite days from the summer of 2016. Not only did we get to celebrate and totally surprise one of our dearest friends, but we also got to spend an entire day with some fantastic people. I met several people whose paths I hadn't crossed yet and got to catch up with others that I just don't see enough. The birthday girl's brothers did a FANTASTIC job at coordinating everything.
Hiking and frisbee and eating and music and visiting made for a wonderful day!