Copyright 2003, Ann Marie "Ree" Brown
August 31, 2003
Backpacking to a Spiritual Moment
"For he himself is our peace..." (Ephesians 2:14a)
Christian summer camp sign-up time was upon us again. Which camp would my daughters want to attend this year? I always liked to view the camp book and narrow down dates before I opened it up for discussion with them. To my surprise, I noticed they had added a 'couples' backpacking trip.
After shortly discussing the option, my husband and I decided it would be a wonderful experience for us to share with each other and other couples who loved God. We signed up right away since the trip was limited to very few couples. We had only quickly reviewed the description and forgot about it for the months to follow.
Two weeks before the trip, we hadn't received any information regarding the supplies we would need. My husband made a phone call and talked with Scott, the leader of our expedition. Little did we know just what we had signed ourselves up for. Scott explained the hike we would be taking, the camping arrangements, and the basics of the trip. We had assumed we would be staying at cabins and have some possible bathroom facilities, but that was not in the plans.
A few days after the phone conversation, we received our list for things to pack...could this be serious? We had to go shopping. Don't get me wrong, we both like to camp and love the outdoors, but this was unexpected. After our serious shopping trip to prepare us, we were ready.
We arrived early, packed up, and set out on our 6 ½ hour drive in a large van with four other couples we did not know. What an interesting trip, which didn't compare to the drive home after no showers and a lot of fun sharing time over four days. We arrived at Pictured Rocks, Michigan that evening and set up camp. The next morning we would drive to our hiking start point.
The first view of Pictured Rocks was breathtaking, but nothing compared to the entire hike altogether. There are only two ways to view Pictured Rocks; hiking or by boat. Our hiking trip entailed 2 ½ days of hiking along the rock peaks and beaches. At some points, we would be over 200 feet above the water standing on a cliff. It is a beauty that cannot be described in words.
Our backpacks were heavy, most likely because we had over-packed. Carrying an extra 40 pounds on my back while hiking up and down hills was not something I could say I was used to. Not only that, but we were in bear country. I have never seen a bear and out in the back woods, backpacking, I didn't desire to run into one either. At night, we had to put all our food and toiletries in bags and hang them on the high bear poles. We would sleep in the pitch black in our tiny two-person tent and I wouldn't leave my tent until I could see light again in the morning.
The most awesome experience I had on this backpacking trip was on the last morning. There was a small beach close to our campsite that we had spent time at the previous evening. I packed quickly that morning because I wanted to spend time down at the beach alone, knowing there were a few in our party very ready to get back home.
I walked out on some rocks and sat enjoying and marveling over God's beautiful creation. What an awesome and inspiring place. I prayed and spent some beautiful one on one time with my Lord. I looked down along the Pictured Rocks, far away where we had walked the previous day. The light of early morning was hitting upon the rocks so perfectly, as if God had chosen to show me that beauty at that very moment. I began to cry. It was an awesome and amazing experience. It was a wonderful and enlightening moment to take with me forever.
Sometimes, we get lost so much in the hustle and bustle of our every day lives. God wants us to take time alone with him. With family, work, volunteering, and giving to others, sometimes we need to get far away to experience a deeper, more spiritual moment with him. I thank him for that moment in time I shared with him. What a renewal of spirit he gave me.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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Great job, Ree! I admire your courage to hike 2 1/2 days! I have camped LOTS ... but never hiked long distance. I don't think I could handle that! Thank you for the refreshing end to your story! How beautiful! God bless! Donna
Ann Marie, this was a really lovely recollection of your hiking trip. Your time with the Lord sounded so peaceful, refreshing and beautiful. Well done on your first Writing Challenge Contribution and also for signing up for that Hiking Trip. I admire you enormously! With love, Deb