When I am backpacking, I usually spend some time writing out the thoughts that have rattled around in my brain as I trample along the miles. I thought I would share some of these thoughts in a couple of blog posts. The first one is below, and the second will come out in a couple of weeks. These are from my time on the John Muir Trail, from Duck Lake to Tuolumne Meadows, 53 miles in 4 days – July 2018.
- I am so appreciative for my wife and all she does to support me.
- So much is perseverance. Last year the snow kept me away. This year the wildfires gave me pause, but I want this trail. Then our tent got stolen and I left my hammock at home, which meant a $140 gear purchase. It will not be easy to get the goals and dreams I long for.
- Today was a tough day, mentally and physically. We started on the wrong trailhead which slowed us down, bruised us up, and added a mile to the day. The altitude was tough, being over 10,000 feet almost all day. Then there was a thunderstorm, and we took cover for a while. And Ben was not feeling well. This was that spot on the trail when I questioned everything and wondered if I should leave the trail tomorrow. But tonight at camp was good: we arrived before 7pm and got a good spot. There are 4 other groups here, but we are spread out enough. Ben and I watched a movie and avoided the bugs. I feel great now, and I know that moments like these – as I drift off to sleep after hiking 10+ miles and hear the river as I sway under the stars – can’t come if I quit.
- Devotion: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, God wants to spend time with me, just because He loves me. Just like I want to spend time with Ben.
- Devotion: 1Thessalonians 2:13-17, those who suffer together are bonded. The John Muir Trail will do that!
- I am so proud of our hiking today. We went 6+ miles and 2500 feet up – all after lunch. This was a mental challenge, and we did it, even though we are very sore. Ben cracked a lot of great jokes this morning on our 6 mile downhill. A 12+ mile total today as we pulled into Rosalie Lake, and it is gorgeous.
- Sometimes when packing, there are so many thoughts to unpack. I am glad that on this trip I have not needed to do that. This is just time away with God, with Ben, and the challenge of the trail.
- The next challenges in my life are clear: overflow, capital campaign, building, staff, doctorate, part of planting, loving my family more and more. I see this trip as a challenging refresh, a last breath before the challenges ahead. I don’t want to burn out, but perhaps in the past I shied too much away from the harder things. My family still must come first, and I don’t want to miss my own life, but my gifts are not my own but to be used for His Kingdom. I am truly enjoying seeing my gifts unleashed by God, through humble prayer and in community. I am excited about what is to come.