But first I have to explain that this afternoon I got a cautionary email from Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason.
I will copy that email in its entirety so as to convey what is being cautioned...
I have just been informed by your brother that he, your two eldest sisters and one of their wives are going to attempt to hike Camelback Mountain tomorrow morning, via the Echo Canyon Summit Trail.
This is the same 'extremely difficult' trail that I traversed last week.
I don't see this outing going well. I know that one member of the hiking party has severe lower back issues which may prevent him from reaching the summit.
To reach the summit, one climbs on large boulders, often on all fours, for a gain of 1700+ feet in about a mile.
Many rescues are made on this trail via helicopter. Local authorities use a helicopter to rescue hikers, as the pathway to the summit ends after a few hundred yards, leaving few other options.
I advised your brother that someone ought to make sure that the helicopter has a full tank of gas.
I can understand Jason's concern. The main objects of concern would be Jason's eldest aunt, who also is my eldest sister, Clancy. That would be the most recent photo of Clancy. that I could find, which you see above. You can sort of intuit from the photo why Jason has some concerns about Clancy getting on a Camelback.
The brother to whom Jason refers is my little brother Jake, who also is Jason's dad. Hiking with a bad back over treacherous terrain is a recipe for pain.
Now, the other two hikers, those being my second eldest sister, Jackie, and my ex-wife, Fancy, well, I don't think those two present as big a concern as the other two.
On my last visit to Arizona I went hiking with my second eldest sister, Jackie, who also happens to be the mother of my Favorite Nephews Christopher and Jeremy. We hiked up Piestewa Peak. Jackie wore me out on that hike. At one point she somehow went straight up the peak, bypassing a pair of switchbacks. Suddenly I had no clue where Jackie was. Eventually, after she watched me spend a couple minutes being perplexed, hollered from above, letting me know where she was.
Now, Jason and I may be totally wrong in our danger assessment regarding this Camelback Mountain climbing expedition. All four of these hikers have been regularly playing something called Pickelball. Maybe all that Pickelballing has gotten the quartet in excellent shape.
I expect I will be getting a report about this expedition tomorrow. I will be in Dallas for most of the day. I likely won't know if a helicopter rescue was needed until I get back to being connected to my computer. Unless I get a text message...