65-Down The Mountain We Go!
I don’t think my face hurt so much from over exposure from the bright, beaming sun that contrasted the perfectly blue sky, as it did from the perma-smile and joy that beamed from my spirit. Seven of us set out to climb a mountain and we succeeded. More impressive than that, the weather seemed to know how important it would be for the guys to look back and be able to see how far they had journeyed. I felt the deep satisfaction of trusting God and allowing Him to see this expedition through to the end… well, almost. Getting down is the most dangerous part in the vertical world of sports. Not only is it physically demanding, especially as you press into day five and six, but your emotions can sometimes have the best of you. It’s a bitter-sweet phenomenon in that you have just climbed a mountain, but on the flip side, you can’t stay there. Endless peaks stretch across the horizon in every direction, indescribable beauty makes the fingerprint of your Creator clearer than you have ever seen before… and now, you must leave it all behind.
Every step now is one step closer to a new joy—seeing friends and family again, sharing your highs and lows from an epic adventure, eating food that doesn’t require hot water to cook—with it’s own set of challenges. Trudging through a whiteout in deep snow doesn’t seem so bad as you notice your trail diminish into a maze of briars and streams, covering the side of Mt Helena like a light fur coat. You can’t quite make out the coordinates of the TOLR (Top Of the Logging Road) and if you miss it, you’ll be in a world of hurt. Going down aimlessly means hours of possible back tracking through terrain you can’t imagine having to negotiate traveling uphill in. You check the time, pushing six hours on your feet, and why in the world is your pack heavier than on day one?! In the midst of misery, you are not alone. Each man literally following your footsteps was filing this extraordinary experience in their own minds forever.
We are never alone in life. I’m reading through Ecclesiastes right now… “Vanity, vanity says the preacher!” What Solomon is reflecting on is that everything has a cycle; there is nothing really new. I was not the first one to experience the reality that I can’t live on the mountaintop. I wasn’t alone in my thoughts in the moments of bushwhacking down the side of Mt Helena, and I’m not alone in my current life contemplative moments either. There was a world of people who have experienced the myriad of emotions this life has to offer, and they wrote about it in the Bible—it’s there for us to experience if we’re daring enough to dive in!