Friday, June 28, 2013 we live in bear country.... Jon and I hiked up and past the Anthracite Pass trail. Once we dropped down into the next valley, we were in the Ragged Wilderness area. We were still on the trail but it was not a heavily hiked trail. But again the scenery was, of course breathtaking.

Anyway as many of you may have guessed by now I have gotten into wildflower identification. So the trail was full of Mountain Lupin blooming everywhere. After we had our sandwich, I told Jon I was going just a little further up the trail but not too far. The path (a single person path) suddenly had this beautiful collection of Mountain Lupin on one side with the white bark Aspen on the other side. So I just had to get a couple of photos! Not that I even come close to being a photographer.

As I was getting a few photos I heard a huge thrashing of the undergrowth below the trail. I thought to myself, "Wow that is one large animal!" Then I got a little concerned when it seemed to be getting closer. Mind you the creature was moving quite fast. Then I heard the huffing and snorting of the animal and it did not sound too friendly; not that I am fluent in animal talk. So I am pretty sure a bear was headed toward me.

I responded......I backed a little further up the hill (to look bigger, I read somewhere that might help). I called out to Jon in a calm, that I did not feel, sort of loud voice. "Jon, I need a little help. Jon a bear is after me! A little help please and could you hurry?" He responded, "really? Do you see him?" I then yelled out my usual mountain wild life I am here call, WOOOOHOOOO! The large creature finally stopped whatever it was doing and I heard no further sound.

Jon arrived on the scene and again wanted to know if I saw him. Now I am still standing up the hill a little and looked at him wondering if he truly knew what just happened. He goes on to tell me that he had heard the creature as well and would like to see it and yes he did think that the creature was upset and perhaps letting me know that. I responded that I certainly DID NOT WANT TO SEE HIM! I led back in the direction that we had come from, telling him to stay close and in military terms to watch our 6s!! His next response was," good thing we don't have grizzlies here!" What can I say, he was right about that!

Once I got home I looked up Black Bear encounters and am pretty sure that he was doing what is called a "bluff attack" which means that he was warning me to get out of his territory. And to my dismay, in my shock I did what the internet said I should do. Do you think the internet has really ever encountered a creature in the wild?

Well anyway God took real good care of us and for that I am truly grateful!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Photo: Proof that I was there.
Hike to Schofield Pass......Our little hiking team hiked to Schofield Park and I continued up to the actual pass. This was a new hike for us and was filled with many surprises. There were unusual columbines (wildflower) in different shapes and unusual colors. There were numerous waterfalls from the melting snowpack. There was one bear but he was across the canyon and I might add for Mother's sake, unable to get to us! In the Schofield Park there was tundra (because we were at 10,000 feet), wetlands, and copious amounts of Avalanche Lilies and delicate white Marsh Lilies. Yes, I did sing "The Sound of Music" once!

The hike was a long one and we got .7 miles from the Schofield Pass which was always MY destination. However Jon and Joy had enough of the hike and decided they wanted to head back. I looked at them and said, "Oh no, I am out-voted!" Imagine that! Joy, seeing my disappointment, told me that since I was fast that I could go on up to the Pass and catch up with them as they headed back. Jon was quiet. I thought about it.....(remember the hiking rule, do not hike alone.) I asked Jon if he thought it was stupid for me to continue and he responded yes but that it had never stopped me before so I could just go ahead.

The path up to the Pass was a dirt road and not the rocky slopes that got us to the point that we were. I was following hiking rules 2 and 3: someone knew where I was going and I was not going to bushwack. So I reasoned it should be safe to go ahead and that is what I did. I got up to the Pass and took a picture of the sign to prove that I had made it. Thus I had to hurry to catch up with the "hiking team" that was on the return trip.

As I began the fast-pace back, I was alone over the flats, the alpine meadow of Schofield Park. I saw the tundra, the wetlands, the flowers, the surrounding mountains, the blue cloud-patched sky and I became tearful at the beauty! Of all the babies born on April 17th, 1957 how was it that I was so blessed to be experiencing this moment! It was just God, me and His majestic creation! I was surrounded by His wonderful imagination and was aware that I too was a part of this brilliant canvas in which there are not enough words to describe! The humbling part is that out of all creation He loved me enough to send His son to die for my transgressions and to live again so that I could one day be called home to be with Him for I allowed myself the quiet tears because truly there were no words adequate for the moment!

As a side note I did catch up with my hiking team and thus am able to write this!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Took my wildflower friend and hiking buddy on the Milton Falls trail in search of the Fairy Slipper that I found this past Sunday with the Church hike. We were rewarded by finding several of the delicate little Calypso Orchid, the Fairy Slipper. Better photos follow. God's little gifts are everywhere if we would only have eyes that see and ears that hear and hearts that are this is my prayer......

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Raspberry Ridge Hike......Have you ever wondered why a certain trail is referred to as a certain name? The sign at the trailhead said Raspberry Creek trail. But around Marble the trail is referred to as the Raspberry Ridge trail. Now that may have been due to fact that the 11,000 some feet mountain has a long ridge line. But after hiking it I have a different idea.
The trail has become rather infamous of late in Marble circles due to the adventure another Air Force Chaplain who came here and helped the church to hire us had. He started the trail at 4pm. Folks, that is late to begin a hike!!! As he went further and it got later, he decided to try to bushwack down. At one point he cliffed out ( which is hiking lingo for he came to a cliff edge.) So he eventually ended up coming down a snow runoff area on his behind gathering speed until he was out of control and eventually ended up in the Crystal River. He suffered from hypothermia and a Marbleite couple saved him by warming him up quickly. But we all confirm that God was the miracle in his survival!

I digress. So Jon, Joy and I took this hike upon my recommendation. It started out as a normal uphill climb. But then the trail became a footpath. I do not mean a footpath as in 12 inches wide but a path in which you only have room for one foot in front of another. Then the mountain trail opens up and you can see the sheer drop-off just by your footpath. I started using southern vernacular and prayer, "Lord have mercy!!" At one point we had to cross where the snow was still running off in a stream of water. If you slipped while crossing, it would truly become a 'Lord have mercy' experience! Jon used his walking stick to help us to cross safely! Therefore it is my deduction that the reason the trail is referred to as the Raspberry Ridge trail is that for portions of it you are literally on a ridge along the side of the mountain! Did I mention that the "footpath" tilted slightly down toward the drop-off?

Eventually the trail rounded the mountain and we found ourselves in a beautiful peaceful aspen grove. The aspens had the new leaves that are the perfect shade of green that says new and tender. The trail was a little wider and there was no apparent drop-off. We could hear a stream close by and we sat on a log and had a picnic. Food tastes so much better above 9000 feet! There was only one problem. We had to return the way we came. Footpath, ridge, drop-off......Lord have mercy!!!

Life's journey can be much like this hike. You come to places where the path is narrow and you may feel as if you are just clinging to the ridgeline. But as God has so mercifully revealed to me along the way, the peaceful safe haven of the aspen grove is just around the corner. He will sustain you there to give you the strength you need for the return journey!

"Come unto me .......and I will give you rest. Take my yoke......and I will give you rest" May we always be open to the rest that God offers when we take the time to be quiet before Him. May I always breathe in the peace that He offers so that I may have strength for the journey.