Monday, June 02, 2014

The Perfect Hike

I went on "The Perfect Hike" today.  Truthfully, there has never been a hike that I have gone on when I didn't think that, but this particular hike was the perfectest.  There was danger, beauty, severe weather, some good journaling, an awesome 2-way conversation with God (that doesn't always happen! ...usually, it's just me talking at Him) and the perfect sandwich.

As I was driving up the mountain to reach the trail head to a section of the Pacific Crest Trail that I was going to hike along, I passed a logging truck with a flat bed trailer loaded up with logs on a narrow, winding road.  I had to pull off into the ditch in order to give it room to pass me, and even then it was a pretty tight squeeze.  After I passed it and drove farther, I noticed that the road grew more narrow and the drop-off much more steep.  There were some pretty tight turns, and much of the road was unpaved and it did not have any guard railing.  I realized that if I had left my house a little bit sooner than I did, I might have been in an accident or driven off of the side of the mountain.  There is just no way that logging truck and my car could have fit at some points on that road.  Crazy!  I am soooo glad I was not able to find the other hiking shoe, causing me to be delayed by about a half hour while I looked through every closet and under every bed, ultimately settling on wearing a pair of tennies instead.  If I hadn't been delayed by the missing shoe.... who knows.... I cannot even envision what the outcome could have been, as I am a tad squeamish of heights, and that little, winding, dirt, mountain road with it's steep drop-off was a tummy turner.

Once I got up to the trail head, Rain (dog) and I took off on our trek.  The weather was gorgeous.  Clear and sunny and slightly breezy.  Surprisingly, there were no other hikers on the trail all the way in to the lake.  After 2.6 miles of hiking, I reached the lake.  This is the third or fourth time I have hiked in to this lake, but it was more beautiful than ever today.  I only spotted one other small group of hikers down around the lakes edge, once we arrived.  I sure do enjoy my solitude sometimes, so it was nice that it wasn't heavily loaded with tourists.  I found a nice place to sit and wade my feet.  I was pretty much starving at that point, so I unpacked my pack and pulled out some dog food for Rain, and then for me, the best tuna and diced pickle on whole wheat sandwich I have ever eaten in my life.  It was so extra delicious because of how hungry I was.  Food consumed after exercise always tastes the best.  Yum.

I played fetch with Rain and watched her swim for a while.  Wrote some in my journal.  Had some amazing prayer time.  Took a bunch of pictures.  Felt the sun on my shoulders and the breeze through my hair.  I felt, also, Rain nudging me with a stick she had found because she wanted to play fetch some more, and doesn't know what, "Mommy time.  Go play", means.  She also doesn't know that I don't enjoy her shake showers each and every time she exits the lake.  I could be 30 feet away from the water, and she would literally wait the whole walk over to me before she would shake the water out of her fur.  It's like she purposefully sought me out over and over to torment me with her cold, muddiness.  LOL.... But that's ok.  She was wearing doggy smiles and I was too peaceful to be too annoyed.  :-)

As I was looking around at all the beauty in nature, I kept gravitating to the old, dead trees and tree roots... They have always been just so wonderful to me.  Something about them draws me to them.  Odd, I know, but I had a lot of time to think on my hike alone today, and I think I may have figured out why.  It might be because of what they represent to me.  They were once alive and vibrant, strong and full of life.  Then some unknown force came along and poisoned, cut down or killed them.  Now, they are only a remnant of what they once were, however... every once in a while, someone comes along who will stop and take the time to really see them, not for what they are not, nor for who they once were, but for who they are in this very moment... and they are fully and genuinely appreciated.  To that person, they are more beautiful than ever, just the way they are.

As I was taking pics, I noticed the clouds rolling in.  They seemed a little dark on the bottom, so I decided it was time to hike the 2.6 miles back to the car.  Fearless Rain led the way, with me following, attached to the other end of the leash.  She does not have a slow speed.  We were almost jogging the whole way back.  And we were full-on sprinting during the points along the trail where she spotted a squirrel.  About halfway back, it started to rain on us, lightly.  It was so wonderful!  The temperature of the air was still a bit warm, and the rain wasn't very cold.  I was in shorts and a tank top, but it felt great on my skin.  It started raining a little harder, but not too hard, and I couldn't help but smile.  God gave me the perfect weather hiking in and the perfect weather hiking out.  I had no jacket or sweater, but didn't need one.  The scents were what I loved the most about hiking in the rain.  All the smells of the forest came alive.  The smell of pine, wild flowers and raindrops... scensory overload was happening and it was awesome.  I wish I could have bottled it up and saved more for later.

We got back to the car and started driving back down the winding road.  Only a couple of minutes into our drive, the rain changed.  It started raining really, really hard.  THEN it started to hail.  Really hard.  Hail the size of marbles.  It was so loud coming down and pinging against my car that it scared Rain, and she looked at me with big, round eyes, then curled up in the smallest ball she could make and buried her head in the blanket in the passenger seat.  We had barely missed the big storm!  I couldn't believe we had just made it to the car literally only about 2 minutes before all that hit.  So.... just to refresh... IF I had left just a bit earlier in the day for my hike, I might have been run off of the mountainside by a logging truck OR been pelted by monster hail.  Kinda crazy timing, right?!

I had a very good day off.  I felt God's protection over me.  I felt His showers of blessing on me.  Life is good.  I am content.  And was or was that not "The Perfect Hike"?  Yeah, I thought so too.  :-)

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