Journey to the Top, from Camping trip August 2010

Nothing beats the view at the top of a 14,000 foot mountain. Once above treeline, one could see the peak.  As it neared in proximity, my steps slowed to a turtle’s crawl. One step in front of the other, bit by bit, little by little, climbing higher  and higher. We would stop occasionally to breathe in the thin air and soak in the majesty around us. I nibbled at the snacks and sipped my water, trying to conserve it. I even ate some of Amy’s snacks and drank her Gatorade. Must remember that for next time. Gatorade is a must. It helps with headaches.

We reached this one flat spot, about 500 feet, from the top. And something happened to me. I felt this jolt of adrenaline coursing through me. I didn’t want to stop, so upward I went. Amy followed me. She told me later she didn’t know what had happened to me.  That I was making her get out of breath. I was determined, with the goal & end in sight, not to stop. I scaled the rocks and boulders in my path. I used my hands and crawled like Spiderman, but I made it.

Words fail me. The beauty almost hurt the eyes. One could see at a 360 degree angle. Every ache was forgotten. My headache disappeared. I leaned against a giant boulder, shivering against the cold, and soaked in the view. You could see for miles and miles. Peaks of other mountains, shaded blue and purple and green, filled the horizon. An almost indescribable feeling enveloped me.  It was like, “I’ve done it.” It was like, “If I can do this, get to the top of this mountain, I can do anything.” The majesty was incomparable. The fresh mountain air cleared my mind. As I scrambled back down, like a spider, low to the ground, I felt like I’d seen a treasure. I stored it up in my heart for the times to come in the valley. As David exclaimed in the Psalms, “What is man that You are mindful of him?”

It took us 3 hours to get back down. At one point, I fell, twisting my ankle a little. Nothing bad. My leg just gave out. I guess my body got tired. My soul was rejuvenated.

When we reached the trailhead, however, tiredness overcame us. I was wondering how in the world I was going to make it the last mile or so. Then angels of mercy met us in a white SUV and offered us a ride. The woman remembered me from the summit. I had welcomed her to the top. She was a crazy driver, and her husband was drinking a beer. But we blessed them for driving us to our car.

I fell asleep on the ride back to the campsite. I was excited to brush my teeth and change my clothes. It’s the little things in life. My friends who hadn’t hiked had set up my tent and the air mattress. Bless them! We built a fire and ate hot dogs. Yes, I ate hot dogs. (so surprising for my once vegetarian life, but that’s another blog) It was delicious. Manna from heaven. Food from the king’s table. Really, I would’ve eaten anything that evening and been happy.

Then we went down the road to the hot springs. It was lovely to soak in hot water. This hot springs facility actually had a spot in the river. You could sit in the river in the actual pools of the hot springs. It was hard to regulate the water though. I had fun. The women’s shower room was just like Europe. It was difficult to locate a corner for privacy. I finally gave up and just changed.

We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. I enjoyed the campfire. The cool thing about camping in the mountains is the clear night sky. Orion was glowing brilliantly. I said, “good night”, crawled into my sleeping bag, and without anymore hesitation, fell promptly to sleep.

Yes, “my God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.” He seemed a little closer on that mountain, like I was coming up on His territory. I’ll carry that impression my whole life, while I’m down here, trudging along, constantly seeking a glimpse of Him.

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