We’re at the bottom of the infamous Canaletta leading up to the highest peak on earth outside of the Himalayas. I’m exhausted, almost out of water, and can’t seem to make my legs do what I want them to. Everyone is starting to prepare for the final push. I’m trying to imagine just standing up.
I love and hate Denali, but more hate. Denali’s unpredictable weather has prevented me from standing on top, yet I’ve come to learn that it’s not alway about the summit. There’s a lot more in life than just standing on top of a mountain, but even falling short is better than not falling at all. Adventure is vital to our existence. (Ed:Read more and find out about a free book giveaway)
Thirty one years old, the mother of 5 young kids, and grieving the loss of my husband, I wanted God to compensate me for my pain. While God did speak to my heart, He didn’t seem to feel sorry for me. He said, “Get up!” I could not imagine ever getting back up. I didn’t know how. Where to begin? Yet quite simply, God prompted me with, “Go camping.”
Sitting in my apartment in Florence, Italy last summer, homework became much too dull, and my bucket list resurfaced in my mind. A few hours later, I was on a train with two of my roommates, on our way to Interlaken, Switzerland. The mountains called, and I had to go (thanks, John Muir).
It’s early, and even if it wasn't December in Alaska, it would still be dark. The weather has left us with no snow and single-digit temperatures for weeks, thwarting any of my attempts at enjoying the outdoors. Finally though, nine or ten inches have fallen and the temps have risen to a balmy twenty five degrees. So, I really have no choice but to be out.
It was not a classic climb, and these were not classic climbers. Most were members of the residential addiction recovery programs of Seattle's Union Gospel Mission (UGM). That's right: recovering homeless addicts, who were coming completely apart at the seams this time last year. Now, they were climbing one of the highest mountains in the lower 48, and under pretty challenging conditions.
One phone call from the top of the world obliterated my comfort-zone, rearranged my plans and added years to my life: a 4-day, 3-night adventure with my daughter, backpacking along Resurrection Pass Trail through the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Within the span of four days, I experienced a bold new land, discovered a remarkable new person and formulated a new plan for aging.
We had hopes of casually studying our route up Mount Rumble's east flank over morning coffee, but today has broken under dark, foreboding skies. Wind howls on the ridgeline above us and beats our rain tarp to shreds. Right now, staring straight up the Hoeman Gully is having the opposite of its intended effect. It is currently scaring the bejeezes out of me.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, have given us access to hundreds of our closest “friends” 24-7. We choose which pictures to post, which carefully-crafted thoughts to share, and who gets to see all of it. But as one article states, “the more connected we become, the lonelier we are."
An early advocate for preservation in the United States, John Muir, helps us formulate an understanding for, and approach to, conservation. Beyond science and practical applications, his influence can inspire and challenge us to point others to God through the ministry of conservation.
The more we lightened our outdoor gear the more freedom it gave us to go places, literally. The lighter our packs were the further we could go with our young children. We started to translate this truth into our everyday lives. If having a lighter pack gives you more freedom in the outdoors, then having a lighter household gives you more freedom in life at home.
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