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For the last few years, I have been able to go backpacking on the John Muir Trail with my son Ben. I have been overwhelmed with the amazing support I have received from my family, friends, and church family. People have told me they are thankful for the pictures I take because they are of places that otherwise would not be seen. Others have shared how they appreciate the thoughts I write while on the trail. For some reason, backpacking clears my mind and helps me super-connect with the Lord. Below are some of my thoughts from this year’s trip. I will be sharing more thoughts next week, too.

Gratitude changes everything. I am falling asleep under the stars and thanking God for so many things. We got a flat tire in Mojave, but we had a spare and we stopped right next to an auto parts store that was open on a Sunday. The dogs were great, too. It cost over $200 in tools and added three hours to our drive – which meant we got to the trail later and could not hike as far. But I choose to thank God for the good and thank Him for His presence and provision in the problems. I am so glad to be out here under these stars. Heavenly Father, don’t give me a lighter load but stronger shoulders and greater grit.

Motivation. Today was harder than expected. Because we hit the trail late yesterday, we had to make up those miles today—which included going over two passes at almost 12,000 feet. And it rained on us a few times for over an hour. So why still do this?

  • Ben and I talked for over six hours today. We can camp, but backpacking gives day over day extended times to talk—there is nothing else to distract you. Our relationship is different because of these trips.
  • There is unmatched beauty out here. It speaks to me and overflows into praise to our Creator. I stop often to take pictures and take it in. And the view of the stars is spectacular. I saw two shooting stars and three satellites tonight.
  • My worry is gone. Ever since the pandemic started, I have been dealing with some anxiety – almost like it is all on me to keep everything together. Today, not a bit. Not one thing to worry about, just the challenges of the mountains.

Support is so important. I would not want to do these trips alone. Being here with Ben adds a fun and importance that otherwise would be missing. A large reason why Ben is here is to support me. It is not that he doesn’t like backpacking, but the John Muir Trail is hard. He is here because I asked. I don’t ever want to abdicate my responsibilities, but I am learning to seek out support sooner. It makes a difference, and this trip underlines the lesson.

I hope these thoughts are helpful to you. Thank you for reading and for all of your prayers and support. God bless you!