Monday, August 29, 2011

Hiking Musings

In the post right before this one you can see some of my favourite pictures from my recent hike in Yoho National Park in BC. In this post however, I just want to share some of the things I experienced and some thoughts I had from the hike.

Going into the hike, I didn't really know if it would be managable, or if it would destroy me physically. Now, having completed it, I am very happy with how I did. Overall it was managable, but there were moments of pain, sweat, tears, and moments where I did not know how I was going to carry on.

On the second day of the hike we did a trail called "The Whaleback." For five hours we hiked switchbacks up the side of a mountain, through a pass, and then back down again. After that five hours, I was exhilirated both from the sights I had just witnessed and from the fact that I accomplished so much. But I was also physically exhausted - pain in my knees, my lower back, my upper back, my shoulders. And at this point we still had one hour left of level ground hiking before we reached our campsite. You would think that flat ground would be a breeze after so much hard work. But exhaustion was creeping in, and I literally did not know how I would be able to go on. At one point as Kevin and I were encouraging each other to keep putting one foot in front of the other, he said to me "We are more than conquerors!" And I said back "But not on our own - more than conquerors through Jesus..."

As I kept somehow putting one foot in front of the other, I began to think of Jesus. Specifically of Jesus carrying the cross up that hill on the day He gave His life for us. How did He find the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other? I was just trying to keep going so that at the end of the trail I could throw off my pack and find some rest. He walked on by choice knowing that what awaited Him was His death.

At the end of the third day, we had just hiked a trail called "The Iceline." This trail was mainly above the tree line and our view of the surrounding mountains was brilliant! There were still peaks above us with glaciers and lakes and rivers. It was a totally different landscape than anything else I've encountered before. That evening I read a few verses in John 1. Verse 3 - He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make. I'm lying in my tent with an overwhelming flood of images from the day - all the sights of awesome creation I had hiked through - and none of it exists without Jesus. He spoke it into being. Wow!

There's also just something about pushing yourself to accomplish something of this magnitude. It's not that it was ridiculously hard - but for me, a semi-active girl who mainly sits behind desks and computers and occasionally takes a bike ride or a walk - this was big. It's been a little more than a week since, but I keep thinking "If I can climb a mountain, I should be able to do..." I got myself up off my bum and did something amazingly worthwhile and I feel now that there is less room for excuses, less right for me to not do that on a daily or at least regular basis - physically but also relationally, spiritually. It is worth it to get up and do something! Walk, bike, play a sport, go out for coffee with someone, spend time with God outside, sing, be quiet, be loud.... I think for a small window I saw that life is supposed to be lived, not watched.

There was a point a few weeks/months ago where we were unsure if we were going to be able to go on this hike. But multiple times throughout it, I thought and even said to Kevin, I am so glad we made this happen. It has been a goal of mine for a little while, and it was worth it to do.


  1. Hey Jess, I'm so proud of your accomplishment!! And I'm so glad you got to see the beauty in the back mountains. It really is un-describeable!! One has to see it for one's self. As you spoke about your hard day, I too was reminded of my hike last year and the "wall" I faced, wondering if I would make it or not. When you reach the "wall", even the flat ground is a tough feat. Crazy, but true. And with God's strength we go on, trusting Him to get us through. Thank goodness we have Him with us every step of the way. Thanks be to God! Love you lots, Mom R.

  2. Hey Mom, thanks for the note! It was an incredible experience and I'm glad we got to do it together! I will never forget it. Blessings on you!! Jess