We are on vacation in the Rockies, and feeling quite blessed with the opportunity at hand. A bout of altitude sickness stole my first 36 hours and left me pretty depleted the next 12 – so I’ve got some ground to cover. My brother and husband suggested a hike. I love hiking and I love them. Four hours and 13 miles later, I did not exactly love this hike, but I can promise you I won’t forget it.
As a point of reference, I explicitly remember being told this would be 3-6 mile trek with possible waterfall views. I would also like to add that I wasn’t planning on seeing a BEAR CUB within the first hour and then wondering where momma was the other three HOURS.
But it’s fine, because I am all about a good challenge, and wanted the opportunity for my husband and brother to see how tough I am, because I’m cool like that now.
Even though I’m tough and all: for clarity’s sake, I am a walk-the-local-trail-with-the-stroller, 30 minute workout DVD kinda gal. Just putting that out there.
During the drive to the base, I envisioned myself creatively curating meaningful conversations whilst meandering through creeks and beautiful clearings.
What I did not visualize were the FIVE SNAKES we met.
Nevertheless, ever the adventurer, during our upward ascent I was trying out visuals and lessons I might later reflect on and write about. Because I’m spiritual like that. ‘Why the climb matters’ was one. Well friends, in those 6-7 miles of climbing, and then 6-7 miles trying not to fall on the way down (if I should fall, ‘fall back’ as Brian instructed), there was no appropriate alliteration to describe the amount of exhaustion, pain, and slight terror I stifled beneath my ‘I’m a tough chick’ exterior. All I got was a failed attempt at blowing dandelion wishes and sore quads.
Full disclosure: we did have fun, and I did get very connected with God and nature.
The first quarter of the way up I was taking pictures, admiring the wild flowers and rock formations God made for us to enjoy. On the way down, I was praying.
Dear Lord, please do not let my jello legs fail me now. Just get me to the car and I promise I’ll worship safe from cliff’s edge. And Lord, give me patience because if Brian tells me to ‘fall to the right’ one more well-intended time, I might scream and fall to the left.
In my fervent prayer, I feel the Lord humored me by reminding me of some practical know-how I’ll share with you now:
Sometimes, when you are losing daylight and you’ve been going hard for over 2 hours, with no end in sight or snacks for sustenance: cut your losses, reapply communal Chapstick, and head back… i.e. Know your limits.
Also, plan ahead. Maybe worry less about the coordinated hiking outfit and more about the actual trail you are about to embark on.
Finally, always know that even when it’s tough and not what you expected – it should make for a great story. That’s one thing we always knew growing up.
When things get interesting, so does the story.
I have this post on beauty I’ve been working on. I’m proud of it and it’s meaningful, but today, I think the Lord allowed me to earn deeper understanding for the flowery post about nature and beauty.
Sometimes life is picturesque and worth the hike. Sometimes it’s not what you expected and a real challenge to walk through. Maybe a good story to laugh about is the beauty He meant for me to see today. Not every day has peaks, not every hike an easy summit, but a good laugh is a wonderful thing.
I want to be able to enjoy the moment: whether or not it’s picture perfect or terribly hilarious.