Walking Toward the Light

I spent three hours working through a research problem, and I needed to stretch my legs and clear my mind.

“Precious, “I’m going for a short walk. Would you like to go with me?”

“It’s 9 o’clock, it’s dark, it’s cold, and no. I don’t want to go for a walk.”

“The walk will be good for you.”

“It’ll be better for me to stay warm here in the RV.”

“Okay; I’ll be back in ten or fifteen minutes. I love you.”

“I love you, too. Take your jacket.”

I didn’t take the jacket because it was still 69 degrees outside; but I didn’t realize it was so dark! I turned on the RV porch light but it is quite dim, and I couldn’t see the moon. Oh well, I’ll just step carefully, and my feet will let me know where the path is.

After walking about twenty paces past the car, I quickly stopped. Something wasn’t right.

I reached out with my right hand and felt prickly pine needles that I couldn’t see. I also couldn’t see my hand. I rubbed my foot on the ground and discovered I was off the path. Because it was dark and I didn’t use the porch light as a point of reference, I hadn’t walked in a straight line.

Well, what do you know? I thought. I’m off the road. My plan didn’t work out the way I thought it would. Hmmm … Carol might gloat over this.

I looked around and saw the RV porch light, but I still couldn’t find the moon. (I later discovered it hiding behind some clouds.)

Walking toward the light, I returned to the RV.

“I thought you were going to be gone for ten or fifteen minutes. What happened? Where’s your jacket?”

“I didn’t need the coat, but it’s a good thing you didn’t go with me.”

“I know: it’s cold and dark.”

Here comes the gloating.

“Believe-it-or-not, Precious, unless I was looking toward the RV, I couldn’t see my hand in front of me.”

“You were smart to come back. I told you it was … oh, never mind. You want some coffee?”

She didn’t gloat. I love her! “Yes, thank you.”

That three-minute episode in the dark reminded me of a recent news report. A man on a 4-day back-country hike found the body of a woman who had been missing for over two months. Apparently, she didn’t file a plan with the forest rangers, nor had she told friends or family where she planned to hike; and a compass was not in her backpack.

Without proper planning, it is easy to get lost!

What do we need for a successful outing? First, tell someone where you’re going.

Next, REI co-op (https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html) lists ten essential things: navigation (such as map, compass, GPS, etc.), headlamp and extra batteries, sun protection, first aid kit, knife, fire-starters, shelter, extra food, water, and clothing.

The REI author said, “The exact items from each system that you take can be tailored to the trip you’re taking. For example, on a short day hike that’s easy to navigate you might choose to take a map, compass and PLB, but leave your GPS and altimeter behind. On a longer, more complex outing, you might decide you want all those tools to help you find your way. When deciding what to bring, consider factors like weather, difficulty, duration, and distance from help.”

That is good advice, but many people are short-sighted and don’t invest the time to learn about it.

I find the same goes for people traversing this journey we call life. They are raised to fend for themselves and fight to get ahead – often by stepping on others. But they do not plan for the longer journey: the one that begins at death. Without planning for this final trip, it is easy to get lost – permanently.

What do we need? The map is the Bible and is also our most valuable point of reference. Food and water are wisdom and knowledge we learn in the Bible. The headlamp is the Holy Spirit; He will help us see life properly and walk straight. Clothing is the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, and the rest of the spiritual armor found in Ephesians 6:11-18. God, Himself, is our shelter.

Your most important trip is ahead of you. Plan well for it by reading the Bible and learning to live for the Lord. Walk toward the Light.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Have you ever seen the Rocky Mountains? No, I don’t mean in a picture, on television, in the theater, or on IMAX. Have you ever driven through the Great Rocky Mountains? Perhaps many of you have driven through a portion of them, but did you observe the grandeur of these magnificent granite formations?

Carol and I visited the Rocky Mountain National Park, just after viewing the total solar eclipse in Glendo, Wyoming, as we celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary. It was a spectacular trip. The word “spectacular” is the keynote for this trip.

The Rocky Mountains, commonly called the Rockies, start in northern British Columbia, Canada, and extend about 3,000 miles south to New Mexico, USA. Several facts about the spectacular Rocky Mountain features are: 1) the Sangre de Christo Mountains run from New Mexico through Colorado; 2) the Rio Grande has its headwaters near Wolf Creek in Southern Colorado; 3) Pikes Peak is near Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs; 4) the Grand Tetons and Big Horn Mountains are located in Wyoming; 5) Branff National Park is in Alberta, Canada; and there are many more! This mountain range should not be confused with the Pacific Coast Ranges, the Cascade Range, or the Sierra Nevadas.

Some geologists say the Rockies are well over 55 million years old on a 4.54 billion-year-old earth; some say they were created about 6,000 years ago when the earth was created; and others say the Rockies were created just after the great flood about 4,500 years ago. But whatever age is ascribed to them (only God knows their true age), my Precious and I had a great trip.

The original Native American Cree name was probably “as-sin-wati”; loosely translated as “seen across plains, look like rocky mass.” But their present name was given by Frenchman Jacque Legardeur de Saint-Pierre in 1752 when he called them “les Montagnes de Roches” (pronounced: lay Montanye de Rosh) – or, the mountains of rocks. And that evolved into the Rocky Mountains. Seventy-four peaks in the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) are over 12,000 feet; twenty-three more top out over 13,000 feet; and two peaks are over 14,000 feet (called 14ers). That’s a total of 99 spectacular peaks in only 415 square miles.

This continental ridge is 70 miles wide at its narrowest, and 300 at its greatest span. I read that the lowest elevation of the Rockies is 3,400 feet above sea level where the Arkansas River flows from Colorado into Kansas; but I didn’t know the base of the Rockies reached that far. And the highest point is magnificent Mount Elbert in Colorado at 14,400 feet.

Driving through Boulder, CO, we started our tour through the RMNP in the town of Estes Park, CO. situated at 7,522 feet. The east entrance to the park is on highway 36, only 3.5 miles from town. If you are driving from the south or west, you can take exit 232 on I-70, west of Denver, and drive north on highway 40. Follow the signs.

Hiking is a common activity. Starting at the parking lot near Bear Lake at 9,475 feet altitude, seven lakes are within 4.7 miles walking distance. That is: 4.7 miles – ONE WAY. Save your energy because you probably want to come back. We walked around Bear Lake – only 256 feet away – and back to the car.

We drove down Devil’s Gulch but couldn’t figure why the name because it’s a spectacular drive. The next day, we left Estes Park, drove to I-70, took exit 232, and entered the Park from the other side. Did I say the scenery was spectacular? Well, it WAS!

Going through Idaho Springs, Granby, and Grand Lake, the west entrance was 145 miles from Estes Park and the views were breath-taking. We visited the Alpine Visitor Center and the Trail Ridge Store above the tree line at 11,796 feet and took pictures of a coyote pouncing on an unseen rodent – probably a mountain vole, yellow-bellied marmot, or some other high-altitude critter. Words and pictures cannot adequately describe our emotions and experiences as we saw God’s handiwork in the high Rockies.

This trip caused me to focus more intently on my relationship with Almighty God: the Creator of every natural thing we saw. The song by Stuart Hamblen sums it up: “How big is God, how big and wide his vast domain, to try to tell these lips can only start. He’s big enough to rule the mighty universe, yet small enough to live within my heart.”

If you get the opportunity, I encourage you to visit the Rocky Mountain National Park. And you can call them les Montagnes de Roches if you prefer.

Happy Traveling.

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