The team is 69, now. They hit 68 and headed straight for Northrend, where they did the starter quests near Warsong Hold in Borean Tundra and got to level 69 pretty quickly. Most importantly, the hunters upgraded their 55 DPS bows to 76 DPS crossbows.
While I was doing the very first series of quests (which take part in the quarry surrounding Warsong Hold), there were a few moments when the spawn rate of the nerubians went through the roof. I don't know if it was because a number of players were questing there or for any other reason, but for a while it felt as if the group was being swarmed. It was getting difficult just to stop to loot mobs and quest items. But after a while it settled down and I completed my questing. I was even lucky enough to get the easy quest that starts when you loot a fragment from a mob that leads an attack on the hold.
But it occurred to me as I was killing nerubian after nerubian, that I was passing up the chance to skin them for a shot at Nerubian Chitin and Arctic Fur. There are two benefits to this. One, I try to be as self-sufficient as possible, and being able to skin these items myself is useful if I want to make gear for the group later. Second, if I have a surplus, I can auction them for extra gold. In fact, I've started up my auction alt again and in three days she's gone from having 100 gold to more than 400. And low/mid-level tradeskill items sell pretty well, which means that any efforts I make at raising my gathering skills will be profitable. The guild bank has just over 13,000 gold, a total that has hardly changed in months. I don't forsee needing to take any gold out for a while, but it would be nice to start building that total up.
I do not want to take any of the crafting tradeskills. I already have those covered with my other characters, and the redundancy would be expensive. Gathering skills cost nearly nothing (just training costs, since I still have some Gnomish Army Knives in the guild bank) and they can provide both gear and gold. I'd hate to get to Sholazar Basin, find a titanium vein, and not be able to mine it. By covering the three basic gathering skills (skinning, mining, herbalism), I'd be able to gather anything except the clouds that an engineer can extract motes from.
My plan is to have the shaman take skinning and herbalism, since she is the lead character. Mineral veins are much easier to spot with the naked eye than herbs are, so she will be able to track herbs and also skin mobs. One of the hunters will be a miner. I've spent the past two evenings slowly working herbalism and skinning on the shaman, and she is up to a skill of 129 in herbalism and 145 in skinning. I should be able to quickly level her up to 300 solo and then I can level one of the hunters up to 300 mining. At that point I can take the group to Outland and quickly level both skills to 375.
After that, I will get them to level 70, which won't take long at all, and then I want to sit back and see about optimizing the group again. I will probably re-do their talents and I plan to try a different pet setup, most likely with one tank pet and three DPS. That way I can focus heals on the tank pet (including Earth Shield) and see how it does on tougher mobs, perhaps even instanced mobs. I may also look into new keybinds and macros. But for now, it's all about gathering my way to 375.