Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hiking Up Long's Peak

For years I’ve heard about Long’s Peak. The highest peak in the Colorado Rockies at 14,259 feet above sea level, it looks down on thousands of other peaks. Our son and oldest grandson have climbed to the summit of this majestic mountain. Tired but exhilarated after an all-day hike, they tell of the amazing view from the top. Today, Simeon, 12 ¾ years old, joins them in a hike up Long’s Peak, this time to the Keyhole, a seven mile hike ending near the summit.

His grandparents (my husband and I) overweight, out of shape flatlanders, decide to join in the adventure. We begin early in the morning at a trailhead 9,450 high, in already thin air. Within the first 100 yards, son and grandsons trek past us. We watch and catch our breath, observing their backs disappear around the bend. We won’t see them again until they hike back down.

We hike slowly, enjoying the view. We breathe deeply, enjoying the heavily pine-scented air and the trees towering far above us. The pleasant odor f decayed pine needles tell us why the soil beneath our feet is soft and spongy. The natural rocks and man-placed logs give us steps to climb…and climb…and climb. We stop frequently to catch our breath and enjoy the view.

Looking back the way we’ve come, we see a tell-tale yellow glow above a nearby peak, reflecting its light on the clouds scattered across the early morning sky. We wait. Our breathing slows. We snap photos. Our hearts no longer race. We watch the sun rise over the peak, and then hide itself behind the clouds.

We continue our climb, step after step after step. It seems we’re walking in a pine forest with no end. We wonder if we’ll ever step out of the forest and catch a view of Long’s Peak. With each step the air thins. At this point we are a little discouraged, for the scenery changes little, we are tired, and we aren’t sure how much farther we can hike. We stop more often, not wanting to overwork our hearts.

After another half hour or so, we hear a rushing in the distance. A stream! Our thoughts turn from our fatigue and doubts to the beauty of the roaring stream we hear in the distance. Now with each step we anticipate seeing the mountain stream, filled with last winter’s melted snow, and we eagerly hike up the path.

Before long we round a bend and see our reward. The stream, eight to ten feed wide, rushes down the mountainside, beating the boulders in its path, clear water flying high in the air, running down from Long’s Peak. We stop to rest and eat a snack to recharge our energy. After a rest, we continue our hike, climbing as far as our bodies will allow. Our hope is to hike above tree line.

How many times in life do we plod along, one step after another, focusing only on the difficulty of the path instead of the beauty all around us? How often do we become discouraged when we take our eyes off of our creator? God didn’t promise us and easy path, but He promised to walk it with us.

Philippians 4: 8-9 (NIV) “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

No comments:

Post a Comment