Friday, September 27, 2013

LOST!!!!!! and undone.......Well I suppose it would be better said, we were all lost and I became undone! Jon and I planned a hike through Dark Canyon with another couple who were our friends. I am not sure after yesterday that they will still be our friends. Did I mention that I was lost AND undone?

The Canyon was very beautiful but the trail was a little muddy. The plan was to just hike in 4 miles and hike back out 4 miles. But during our picnic the "men" got out the trail map. Now I do not know if the fact that we would have to return straddling and jumping around mud had anything to do with their decision or if it was a male bonding thing. Whatever the case they decided to take a different trail back. So off we go...

From the very beginning finding the trail was difficult and was climbing up to a ridge line. (the name of said trail was Lightning Ridge Trail, should have been our first clue.) About 40 minutes in we all finally admitted that we were lost! This was the beginning of my "undoneness".  Jon has always stressed the potential danger of getting off trail in the mountains and especially in the wilderness areas. I was once lost as a young girl with my friend, Susan Williams in woods back of her house. It was not fun then and I didn't like the feeling returning in adulthood. So my first reaction was anger; I was mad that we had not returned the way we had planned. I was mad at the decision maker. I was mad! 
Our alternative became what is known as bushwacking. So after consulting the map we started through ferns knee deep and scrubby oaks in the direction the map consulters decided we should go. I kept tripping over logs that were under the brush and falling almost on my face. Jon was stung by yellow jackets every time we stopped. I moved from mad to extremely frustrated! I didn't hold in my feelings. I read somewhere that it was not good to hold in feelings due to the fact that it could lead to a stressful life. Did I mention that I am the pastor's wife and that we were hiking with parishioners? Did I mention that they may no longer want to be MY friends?

Our bushwacking was climbing because after all the trail was suppose to be following the ridge of a mountain. We ran out of water and had to refill at a stream (I have a filtering system for water). I think it was while refilling the water bottle that my camera got lost all on its own. I am sad to say that it didn't make it out. At this time it was around 3:30 and it is now Fall, meaning that the sun drops below the mountains early and it gets cold earlier than in summer. I moved from extremely frustrated to scared! I thought about my friend who was on a rescue team out of the Vail area. Could she find us in all the thick bush we were in? Then I remembered that no one knew that we had taken another trail. Bad rule to break! I also knew a front was coming in with cooler weather and rain. So spending the night on the mountain was not probably going to lead to a good outcome. I did mention fear didn't I?

Well finally once we reached the top of a ridge line and literally beat the bushes to find a trail, my "female" friend found a small trail and I saw a pink ribbon tied to a bush by the trail. I was told it was a hunter's mark for his trail. So off we went. We saw horse skat, YEAH, and footprints even better! The trail was going in the right direction, west and down! And the rest is history because I am now writing this!
I usually end these posts with something "spiritual." My friends or use to be friends had all sorts of beautiful spiritual offerings of the experience. All I can leave with you is PRAISE GOD FOR TAKING CARE OF US AND HELPING US OUT OF THERE! Also I might have figured out the stages of being lost: first anger, second extreme frustration and finally fear. Maybe I could write a book on the stages of lostness. What do you think?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

So we did the Maroon Pass Trail Hike.........When I go on hikes I try and apply the hike to life and spiritual matters thereby internalizing the hike into my inner life. Jon and I along with another couple who are our friends took on the West Maroon Pass trail. It does not take long in mountain living to realize that when a mountain pass is mentioned that it means climbing or driving up to a particular mountain point and then dropping down to another side. The West Maroon Pass trail leads from Aspen over and down to Schofield Park that gives you access to Crested Butte.

Our hike began at an iconic scene in Colorado called the Maroon Bells which is a view of two famous peaks that are pyramid shaped that are a little more than 14,000 ft in elevation. From the lake at the bottom of these peaks which lies a little above 9000 ft the hiker must hike up to the 12,500 ft pass. Doing the math the trail went up! We began..... We went over rocks and slippery mud and crossed several running streams helping one another by holding out hiking sticks to keep from slipping in and getting completely wet. By the third crossing I ceased to care about wet shoes and wet feet; the goal just became about getting across.

Then we started the above 11,000 ft part. The air is much thinner and breathing became more of an effort. My lungs always tell me when I am at 11,000 ft. We marched on concentrating on one small goal to the next. As we got to 12,000 ft we had 500 more to go to reach the pass. Then it was just a matter of breath step, breath step, sip water, do not look down off the foot path, breath step; you get the idea. Finally we made the pass. Once up there we began cheering on all those we had met on the journey to make the final steps to the top! We took a photo to prove we made it, we ate the second half of our sandwhich, hydrated with fluids and then looked down the other side and thought we have to go all the way down there!!! Oh well that was the only way to the refuge of the car!

We made it down and awaiting us was the car, YEAAAAA!!! and a storybook cabin whose owner had a freshly baked peach pie with homemade whipped cream! I had never tasted a better pie!
So what did I learn? When I think of the hike the word endurance comes to mind. Our spiritual reward goes to those who endure to the end. Along the way God shows us views we never expected to see in our lives. He sends people to cheer us on and gives us the opportunity to cheer others on. And sometimes the way is muddy and sometimes there are streams to cross. Yet those same streams offer a place to refill your water bottle. And sometimes there is the best peach pie you've ever tasted at the end of the trail!

So do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded.You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised......Hebrew 10:35-36

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The call of the mountains........Today I just simply felt the call of the mountains, the call of the trail, the pull to grab my hiking gear and go. So my yellow lab and I took off on the trail to the Crystal Mill! So we jumped into the Bob Marley jeep (not actually named for the singer but the fact that we bought it from a doc named Bob whose wife is named Marly).  Due to that fact they placed a sticker with a picture of the singer Bob Marley inside the back door. Thus the name of my jeep.

So Starbuck and I drove up Daniels Hill and parked and began our hike. The trail goes along the side of the Crystal River and today the river ran clear and brilliant. The sound of it soothed my soul. The energy required for the hike allowed the worries to slip away with each breath, with each drop of sweat and with each "rocky" step. Starbuck and I shared yogurt and peanuts by the Crystal Mill. I breathed the fall-tinged air and my spirit was lifted.

So perhaps the call of the mountains was actually the call of God......."Take my yoke upon you for my burden is gentle and light." "Do not worry about tomorrow for sufficient is the evil of today." Allow Me to be your "refuge and strength." "Trust in me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make straight your paths." ........Yes I think the call of the mountains was actually the call of God!