Treks and Trails

The view of Fort Ticonderoga from the top of Mount Defiance

 

He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not sleep. – Psalm 121:3

To celebrate our fortieth anniversary, DH and I took a two-week camping trip through the Northeast. Starting with the Finger Lakes region in New York, we drove through the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains in Vermont, the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and then up the coast of Maine to Acadia National Park.

When we weren’t on the road, I’d planned for our vacation to be a time of resting and recharging.

I should have known better than to think Dean would be content to sit around relaxing. Every day he was anxious to be out the door as soon as breakfast was over. We put 450 exploring miles on our truck and I don’t know how many on our feet.

The first trail we hiked was the ¾-mile Gorge Trail in New York’s Taughannock State Park – a level, gravel-topped track that ran parallel to the Taughannock Creek and led to the 215-foot waterfall of the same name.

“I can do this!” I thought as I stepped along, stopping to read every placard along the trail, feeling proud of myself because I was really pretty much out of shape.

The next trek was up the one-mile paved road to the summit of Mount Defiance in Ticonderoga, New York. We’d spent the day exploring the fort, and all I could think of was getting back to the camper and propping up my aching feet. But when we got to the road to the summit, the gates were closed.

Celebrating the climb

“I can do this!” I told Dean when he said we’d have to walk. Somehow I got my second wind. And third . . . and fourth . . . it took 36 minutes to reach the summit – 25 walking minutes and 11 stopping minutes for me to catch my breath. There were places where we ascended a foot with each step. But the view at the top was worth every gasp.

When we reached Acadia National Park in Maine, 120 miles of trails ranging in difficulty from “very easy” to “strenuous” wound through Mount Desert (pronounced “dessert”) Island. The walking wasn’t easy. The coastline is rocky, the mountains granite, and the trails comprised of roots and rocks to step over, between, on (and trip on) – and boulders to climb.

Rocky, root-embedded trails of Acadia National Park

The Ship Harbor Trail was rated easy. Right. We stopped on the way back to the campground to buy a box of Epsom salts.

“I need hiking shoes,” I told Dean while my feet were soaking. “These sneakers are for walking nut hiking.”

The Beech Mountain Trail, the last one we hiked, looked easy at first – soft, smooth, brown forest floor. Then we came to a marker. The left trail was .4 mile; the right was .7 mile. Since we were pressed for time, I chose the shorter trail.

But shorter doesn’t mean easier or quicker. The smooth forest floor soon changed to roots, rocks, and boulders.

“I can do this!” I said, when still another boulder presented itself. Envisioning the view from the top kept me stepping along, as well as Dean’s hand sometimes dragging me along. “I’ve come this far . . .”

It took us 50 minutes to reach the summit and 30 minutes to walk the .7 mile trail down off the mountain.

All the trails we hiked weren’t so challenging. There were sections that wound through pine trees along a soft forest floor, where I didn’t need Dean’s hand for balance or support – or to drag me over the places I didn’t think I could traverse.

The trails of life are the same: they range in difficulty from very easy to strenuous to “I don’t think I can make it!”

But we can make it. It just takes a vision of the view from the top, a hand to help us along, and lots of “second winds.”

I made it to the top!
Birch Mountain, Acadia National Park, Sept. 26, 2013

Thank you, Lord, for Your guiding hand that gives me balance, support, strength – and pulls me through the tough places when I don’t think I could take one more step. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 121.

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey.

Awesome God!

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:19 NKJV

 The Lord sure workethed my patience on this one.

In the spring I noticed it was getting harder and harder to see clearly. The problem was cataracts. Simple to fix. Just have them surgically removed.

Getting the surgery scheduled, however, wasn’t so simple. It wasn’t until mid-October that both eyes were finally done, ending five months of having poor DH drive me everywhere I needed to go. So I thought.

After the surgeries, my vision was brighter, clearer – but still out of focus. The doctor wanted to wait until my eyes were healed up before prescribing new eyeglasses. DH would have to be my chauffeur for another six weeks.

So last Monday, at long last, I went to get my eyes measured for new glasses. Clear vision was just around the corner.

But a funny thing happened before my appointment.

Now, this past summer I began a decluttering project to reorganize my study. Boxes and bins of stuff that need to be sorted through still wait in the dining room.

Sunday afternoon I decided to rid the dining room of one large bin and put the books back on the bookcase shelves. However, not all of them would make the cut. So I asked DH to please bring me an empty bin. I knew there was at least one downstairs.

But instead of an empty one, he brought me one filled with documents, files, check registers, and duplicate checks dating back four to five years. So instead of putting books back on the shelves, I began shredding.

Among the outdated papers, I found an eyeglass case. I have several of those around, mostly empty because you never know when you might need a nice, sturdy case. I was about to drop it in the garbage but put it on my desk instead.

The next morning I got up early to work on my novel before my eye doctor appointment. I spied the eyeglass case on my desk and opened it. It wasn’t empty. It contained a pair of glasses I’d worn at least 10 years ago.

“I’ll take these to the eye doctor,” I thought, “and donate them to his collection of used eyeglasses for Third World countries.”

On a whim, I put them on.

Glory be! I could see! Clearly! Everything was in focus!

I wore them to town, loving every second of seeing clearly what I hadn’t been able to see for months, and had the eye doctor determine the lenses’ strength. When he tested my eyes for my new prescription, he noted the measurements were close to what the old lenses were.

“Do I even need new glasses?” I asked him. “Or can I use these old ones?”

I mean, they don’t look retro or anything, wire frames and all.

“It’s up to you,” he answered.

Well, I’ve been praising the Lord ever since. I mean, He saved me hundreds of dollars.

I imagine God must be chuckling up there.

You see, just the day before I preached a sermon in which I challenged my little flock to trust God for all their needs.

“God has never let me down,” I told them.

But never did I dream He’d provide my new glasses with old ones that I almost discarded.

Only God.

What do you need to trust Him for today?

Dear God, you are just awesome! Thank You for the wonderful surprises You bless me with every day. Amen.

 Read and meditate on Matthew 6:25–33 

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.