Progressive Patterns

Oregon PCT 2015

Earlier sections

I actually started hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013. I just had no idea that I would ever hike the 450 miles from the California border to Washington. I unconsciously started my Oregon hike in September of 2013 when I decided to try something new–a thru hike, instead of a round trip back to my own car.

I call the Sky Lakes Wilderness my backyard because I have spent so much time up there. I had always driven myself to the Cold Springs or Cherry Creek trailheads and always returned there. This time, however, I had my daughter drop me off at Nannie Creek on Friday afternoon, then met her at the Highway 62 trailhead inside Crater Lake National Park on Sunday afternoon.

I did not keep a journal on that trip. In fact, I rarely kept much of a journal before this summer. I have loved to write since I was boy and wanted to write like my dad. However, I just could never write to myself. I wrote articles, research papers, and short stories, but writing to myself in a diary always felt awkward. For some reason, walking on a trail and going somewhere gets me writing, even if it is to an imaginary audience. (I really have no idea if anyone will read any of this stuff, but I really enjoyed writing it and already have a list of improvements I want to make!)

The main things I remember about that trip was that the springs were dry and I almost got lost trying to find water down the hill from Jack Spring. I also discovered for the first time that my left knee has an aversion to backpacking. I limped the last 8-10 miles under the overweight of my “green monster” backpack. That was the last trip I ever used the same backpack that Cheryl Strayed used in her PCT hike. What I remember most was enjoying the new places I was able to get to because I did not need to return my departure point. I covered about 20 miles on the PCT and about 10 on side trails and I thoroughly loved it!

The next summer, in 2014, I hiked from Willamette Pass on Highway 58 to Elk Lake. The plan for that weekend was to go all the way past the Three Sisters to Hwy 242, but bad weather and my stupid stubbornness forced me to bail early. You will read more about this later.

In September 2014, my wife dropped me off at the Highway 140 trail crossing and I hiked south past Brown Mountain on the red lava trail in my nice Dockers because I forgot to pack my zip-offs. My support team (Rhonda Lyons) met me at Dead Indian road that evening with my pants. I gave her my light beige, now reddish, slacks!

I camped at the side of the trail about a mile south of there. The next day I ate a late lunch at Howard Prairie Lake and camped at Hyatt Lake. Sunday I met Rhonda and Tiffany at I-5 south of Ashland. But once again, my knee rebelled the last 10 miles. Even though my new pack, and its smarter contents, were lighter than the year before, an angled section of trail twisted my left knee and almost set it on fire. It took over a year of learning what to do and what not to do to finally get it well. But I still walk with compression braces on my knees just to make sure.

I made all the classic mistakes and suffered all the classic pains because I carried too much too fast too far too soon! (Take a hint, newbies! Experiment and take baby steps if you want to be a happy backpacker.)

Some of the writing I did during those two years will show up in the poesy section. What follows are my journal entries from the major sections I did in 2015. They are in chronological order, but are definitely not in geographical order. That is what happens when you need to work for a living and only get weekends and a single week off.

Hike – Santiam Pass to Columbia River – Sep 6-12, 2015

Sunday lunch – Follow Me

I had fears and trepidations about this trip, even though I have wanted to do it for a long time. When Rhonda’s schedule finalized to this week off (Labor Day weekend) then this was it. My knee, the weather, my knee, the food, my knee-would I make it from Santiam Pass to Bridge of the Gods, or would my knee buckle ten miles in? But God showed me much of the pressure I was feeling was caused by “making it to the end.” All or nothing. Pass or fail. But my trail name is to be Enoch-walks with God. That is where He returned my focus. The focus was not to be “on the end,” but WITH God. And He gave me a theme verse to reinforce that—”Follow Me.”

Rhonda dropped me off at the trailhead, took pics, hugged me, smiled, and left. (Now there is progress from the previous years of worry!) I set off down the trail and thought, Zero down, 140 miles to go. It was hard not to think of the end at the beginning, but there are different ways of thinking, and Jesus reminded me, “Follow Me.”

I climbed the packed sand path through 3 miles of burn and ascended into the wind and the mist. Now I began thinking of the end of the day. Could I make 27 miles over the 6500′ ridge and back down to almost 4000′ where it would be warmer and probably drier? But then the end of the day would loom over me like an executioner’s axe. Jesus again reminded me, “Follow Me.”

I stopped for lunch as soon as I got to the leeward side in the green trees above the burn. I relaxed. I rejoiced at the drying mist. I energized. I thanked my Savior who comforts and encourages me, no matter how far I get today.

Sunday second lunch

Here I am sitting behind some rocks above the trail refueling because my blood sugar tank is on E. My hands are stiff and making it hard to write because it is so cold. I’m out of the blowing gray mist for now, but it makes the middle of the afternoon feel like evening and bed time. The dismal procession of 3 mountain climbers I passed earlier adds to the depressing ambience.

So why am I here?

The immediate answer is that I came from a bluff above blue Wasco Lake. I was enjoying the warmer temps and sunshine when that little voice I am trying to follow said, Time to go. I looked behind me and saw the rolling juggernaut of freezing fog catching up to me. But Lord, I thought you wanted me to slow down this trip?

Follow Me.

OK.

I ascended back to the 6000’+ level from 5400′ and the cold winds slammed me and drained the last of my energy. So here I am under the rocks eating lunch and scribbling.

But I think your bigger question is, Why do I do it all? While I don’t enjoy the colder rain, it is the unavoidable effects of evil in this world. We face it no matter what we do. I just choose to face it in the raw sometimes, instead of keeping myself locked behind heated or air conditioned doors where I can unwittingly smother myself in my own evil. But I also get to see the goodness of God’s creation in the raw. Like the nuthatches hopping up and down the tree just 5′ in front of me.

In short, I walk the miles to experience the miles, with God.

Monday – early morning – Milk Creek

The wind is gone. The fog has relinquished its hold and a deep blue sky has taken over the landscape. The sun has risen over Mt. Jefferson which towers over a sub-alpine valley through which pours Milk Creek. I sit nestled in the rocks while I dry out my stuff from the frosty 20 degree night. It is so nice to have sun! (I think the chipmunk behind me is enjoying it, too!)

Again, I endure the cold nights to experience the warm days in places like these where no car or even bike can reach. Not even a day hiker with a bottle in his hand and a sandwich in his pocket can get here. In this wild wilderness place, where the glaciers bleed their life down mountain ravines, I can experience aloneness with my Creator. My heart can well up in awe at the magnificent grandeur. My eyes produce their own mist of gratitude. Even though all this is the product of a world-scarring flood, yet the infinite power and unrelenting love of a heavenly Father comes rushing through and blazing down.

I look across the ravine to the tall firs standing thick and green next to each other, like soldiers saluting the rushing waters tumbling at their feet. I am reminded of the columns of angels who will salute the saints as we march into the city of God. Then we shall see trees and flowers, rivers and mountains that will make all this wild wilderness seem like a shadow and a misty memory.

As I look up at the broken spires and snowcapped, jagged rocks atop Mt. Jefferson, I am impressed by its rugged beauty and by its 10,000 foot heights perched like a guardian at the head of the green valley. The bald eagle that soars above the scene knows little of the magnificence, but it experiences it nonetheless. Like the fish in the water unaware of the liquidness in which it lives, the eagle hunts, eats, and sleeps, and raises its young in this pristine environment. Only me, only men and women, can give credit where credit is due–to the Almighty Artist.

Monday – Midday – Jefferson Park

There is a quiet beauty

That floats on the breeze in this place.

It should not simply be walked, then forgotten.

The hemlock ringed lakes must be viewed.

The cedar-like ground cover must be felt.

The almost endless meadow must be inhaled

Deeply

Purposely

Then never exhaled.

It must be allowed to become a permanent influence

In one’s psyche.

It must be permitted to slow one down,

To fill one up,

To inspire, lift, heal.

Jefferson Park, with the mighty mountain

Like a glacier covered wall on the south

Must be traversed slowly, casually,

In random directions on its network of paths.

There is a message from God to the soul

That whispers along the currents here.

It is one of peace, of hope

Of one day belonging to that new family

In the new earth.

Monday night – Olallie campground

Today I found my new favorite place in all of Oregon. It is Jefferson Park. The deal was sealed when I climbed up the edge of the bowl to a ridge that seems to serve as a divide between the Mt. Jefferson area to the south and Mt. Hood forests to the north. It reminded me of northern Washington with the rocks, small and sparse trees, and the views in all directions for 100 miles. It is a long uphill hike from Breitenbush Lake, but it is worth it!

Tuesday 7am – Olallie

I am sitting in the clearcut under the power lines in the early morning sun. It is nice to be warm. I awoke to a glowing Jefferson peak in the sunrise and hit the trail as the sun hit the lake. (I am doing this section “techless” so I have no watch and do all my writing on little squares of paper.) Now I am about halfway to Jude Lake. In between lakes. In between worlds. A world within a world. The power lines and the airplanes overhead from PDX remind there is a bigger, sometimes badder world out there. But for now, this world–with its own pace, its own scenery, its own peaceful content and just being there for those of us moving through it–is enough for me.

Not only in environment is this a world unto its own. Just as when we enter the heavenly Canaan and God gives us new names, so the thru-hikers (those hiking border to border) take on new names.

On previous trips I have met Blackbear and Talk-A-Lot (she lived up to her name!). I also met Sleepwalker (an anesthesiologist) and Misery (40 miles a day makes other hikers feel miserable because the average is 20-25). Finally, I am playing leapfrog with other northbound hikers like Snakebite (happened in her homeland of Australia), Redwood (tall), and what I think is the prize of all names, Chronic the Hedgehog. He is a very friendly, energetic guy, but offers no reason for his unusual name.

Why does God us new name and why do hikers take on new names? Best I can think of is identity. Some long distance hikers do it so they can lose their old selves and find/make a new one. From my research, I think only a few are really successful, while most are partially successful.

However, in God’s redemptive journey, there is complete success. He will give us a new name to completely erase the evil of our former selves in this former world. He will so bond us to Himself that we will be forever identified as sons and daughters of the Father. We were saved and re-made, not by hiking, climbing, or any other feat of mastery, but only by the Savior, who ever lives to make intercession for us.

Wednesday breakfast – 10 miles from Timothy Lake

It would be nice to always write about something grandly inspiring or breathtaking, but I suppose if that happened, that would become the new normal and we would get bored with it. I am thankful life is not only a flat plain, but also flower filled meadows creeping up hills and seemingly endless forests punctuated with lakes, mountains, and vistas. Even in the monotonous and seemingly endless forest (24 miles of which I walked yesterday) there are subtle differences of contour and species that the observer can pick out. Every mile or so one can see the fauna change from mature, open woods to clse, dark overgrown jumbles. Some types of trees seem to attract more draping moss than others. Young hemlock presents a thing, sparse, almost toothpick-like appearance, while a mature fir can seem like walking among giants.

Unity in diversity, just like with the talents in society and the spiritual gifts within the church. And a microcosm of that world shows itself on the trail. A lot of young adults are offset by us older ones. While guys outnumber girls by 5 or 10 to 1 at this point in the trail, there are also a few couples. But no matter the diversity, there is unity. Everyone is glad to help and sympathize when needed, and all appreciate each other’s appreciation of nature, whether or not they believe in the God of nature.

I, for one, praise the Creator of creation.

“Marvelous are Your works; and that my soul knows right well.” (Psalm 139:14)

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“If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hides not from you but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to you.” (Psalms 139:11-12)

We humans are separate from one another and our environment by clear boundaries such as skin layers. From within our bodies we must look out through our eyes to perceive the world “out there.” But God does not look “out there.” Everything is “in Him” and “of Him.” He can sense the universe with senses which we will never have. Kind of like feeling our growling stomach or beating heart inside of us, God is consciously aware of every bit of existence and movement. We cannot hide from Him. We cannot be cut off from His life, except by death itself. God is everywhere with us–to sustain, to correct, to protect, to love.

“O Lord, you have searched me, and known me. You know my downsitting and my uprising, you understand my thought afar off. You surround my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, you know it altogether. You have beset me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall your hand lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalms 139:1-10)

Wednesday lunch – Little Crater Lake

As the saying goes, There is a lake at the end of the tunnel. The last day and a half has been like hiking through a long green and brown tunnel. Today that tunnel has opened up for a bit to reveal big, blue Timothy Lake and deep blue Little Crater Lake. Living near the real Crate Lake, I can’t help comparing. The water in both is clear and cold, but this little crater spring is only 100 feet across and 45 feet deep. The water wells up from a gravel layer at the bottom, then flows out into Timothy. It is a nice place to dip the feet (really quick!) and eat lunch. Just another one of the little surprise blessings God puts in our path on our journey home!

Thursday after breakfast at Timberline Lodge

I really do not know how to capture the happiness, contentment, belonging, and accomplishment I feel right now. I have experienced the runner’s high before, but sitting at Timberline Lodge at about 7000 feet high, staring up at Mt. Hood, looking back south 100 trail miles to where I started beyond Mt Jefferson, enjoying the clear blue day with a gentle mountain breeze with my stomach full with a fantastic all-you-can-eat breakfast, and thanking God for holding my knees together (in fact, making them stronger), I am high. Plain and simple, I am high. The rest of the hike is downhill to the river with low mile days compared to what I have done. I made some new friends along the way–rather, I was accepted into the community of PCT hikers, so said Slip-and-Slide. This is my favorite form of exercise, my best preparation for communion with God, all in my world favorite Cascades. I will see my wife and daughter in a couple days and share all this as best I can. (Note: I took them back up here for breakfast on Sunday.) How can I not be overflowing with gratitude?!

I simply do not want to leave this place or this moment. I want to capture it in my hands, hold it in my heart, then share it like a bottomless fountain with everyone. Why do I make step after step, hour after hour, day after day? For unequaled, unparalleled, indescribable moments like these.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"But the trail will change me, right?"

"No. The trail is just a line of bare dirt that lead you to places and opportunities. It's up to you to chose what to do with them."

There is a Spirit

Who has power

to heal

to inspire

to transform

the twisted mind

and the broken body

and the wounded soul.

This Spirit works

in, on, and through nature

to connect with hearts and mind

to bring love, life, and belonging.

This Spirit Person

is our Father and our Friend.

He calls to us in every singing bird.

He posts messages of trust on every standing tree.

He encourages, guids, and instructs

in every mile

on every mountain

by every calming lake.

We never walk alone.

We never walk unaided.

The Spirit, our Father,

made the life of the trail,

called us to it,

found us when we wandered from it,

forgave us when we destroyed it,

bandages us when we destroyed ourselves.

The Spirit of the trail,

the Power of the trail,

will change us

if we so choose to let Him.

Sabbath morning, Indian Spring

Well, it had to come sometime–the end. It is nice that is Sabbath, but it is the end of seven days of hiking, viewing, and camping. The end of living without an alarm clock and a taskmaster schedule. I have met some great people and some interesting people. I have had some wonderful time with God. The theme has been “Follow Me,” and I would give myself a B if I was grading myself. It is amazing how snap decisions are made before asking the Spirit, Yes or No? Even with so few distractions, self has a momentum that must be reckoned with. Really, what’s the rush that I can’t sometimes even pause a second to consult my Guide? What blessings did I miss by setting my own schedule?

Now I sit above Indian Springs in an open meadow on the northwest side of the mountain. Through the smoky skies I can see Helens and I can pick out what I think is Rainier with it triple bumpy top. Where I think Adams should be is solid haze.

I look forward to seeing Rhonda and Angela in a few hours, down there, down that green valley to the northwest that opens up to the Columbia Gorge.

I look behind me to the south and the mountain blocks my view. I cannot see Hood or Jefferson or any of the path I have travelled this week. I see it only in memory, but what memories! What experiences forever burned into me!

I started up the burn from Santiam Pass with fears about my knee, but now it is definitely stronger, even feeling no pain for hours at a time. I wandered for miles through windblown mist and the thick green forests to be delivered to glacier melted creeks, clear blue lakes, 100 mile vistas, and a park that lived up to its name. I did not write as much as I hoped, but I am pleased with the increasingly freely flowing style–a byproduct, I think, of the invigorating, cleansing mountain air that swirls into the ears and massages the muscles of the mind into a smoother running thinking machine. I think back on the people I met, the warmth and knowledge they shared, the names they gave themselves, and the hopes and dreams they brought to the trail.

I think now especially of Cliff, a “hitchhiker” I picked up yesterday morning who cuts and serves fish for a living, drinks whiskey and smokes marijuana on the trail, and at 30 still longs for his father to show him how to grow up and be a man. The long trail made for some long talks in between stops with other people who also had more alcohol up here than they needed. I hope he will follow through on his new vision to try new ways forward.

Now breakfast is done. The sun is hot, and it is time to head back down to the tent, then on to wife and daughter!

Elk Lake to Santiam Pass – Oct 9-11, 2015

Friday, Mesa Creek

I feel good! I feel the blessing of God on all my training and all the hundreds of miles over the last year. Since I blew out my knee last September near Ashland it has been a long, slow forward and backward progression, but today feels like the reward.

Rhonda dropped me off at Elk Lake before 3. I arrived over ten miles and 3 1/2 hours later at Mesa Creek, which is gurgling from the lava buried at the base of South Sister. No blisters! No pains! Tired, but no complaints from knees, feet, or anything else. I probably could have arrived earlier to this point in my recovery if I had been wiser on other trips, but I am thankful! And I am relaxed! I was relaxed the whole way and it paid off.

Now for some hightlights! Koosah Mountain, about 5 miles in, gave some fairly open views of Broken Top, Bachelor, and to the south, Diamond Peak. Descending from there, I came to Mirror Lake which was half dried up, but still had plenty of good water to drink. Going around House Rock, then between LeConte Crater and The Wife, the trail opened up into the middle of Wickiup Plain. This pumice meadow without trees and hardly a bush, lay at the base of a lava spill from South Sister, which, of course, led the eye right up to its red summit. Walking for almost 2 miles in this uninterrupted presence of the towering mountain was a treat. It made me think what it might be like to walk to the holy city and into God’s gigantic presence. Finally, the trail wound back down into the trees and a stand of big ponderosas where I pitched my tent about 100′ from the creek.

Sabbath lunch

I am sitting on the trail above Glacier Creek looking north to Mt Washington, what I think is Three Fingered Jack, and the gray spot that hides Mt Jefferson. I just saw a rainbow in that spot, which was cool, but I see the rain up and I am reminded of my hike 3 weeks ago in that cold, blowing mist and am not looking forward to it again. My lunch has cooled me off, as well as the cloudy, strong breeze. I hope that nasty stuff stays north of me. Meanwhile, I thank God for answering my prayers and giving me a bright blue sky for the scenic trip around Sisters.

Lava Camp Lake, Saturday night

I’m laughing right now. I’m sitting in my tent laughing, because I am in my tent in an outhouse! I can’t think of a better way to close the Sabbath then in a tent in an outhouse! NOT! It make me question my sanity. It makes me doubt if I will ever hike again. But seriously, it makes me wonder if I heard God’s voice and did His will. Surely I did something wrong somewhere? Did the Spirit really move me to take up residence in an outhouse?! Yes, I think He did. Although, of course, He might not have, but I think He did. Here’s why.

This story actually started over a year ago. I was just beginning to get into long distance backpacking. Hiking the whole Oregon Pacific Crest Trail had not yet occurred to me. Being the newbie I was, I believed the forecast for clear skies over my entire hike from Willamette Pass to Dee Wright Observatory on highway 242, a distance of 75 miles. So I did not pack for rain. By Sabbath afternoon I was approaching the Mink Lakes area, and so was rain. That everyone I met was surprised by this development was comforting to my ego, but not drying to my clothes or feet. The only raingear I had were the many trees I often huddled under.

It was about 3 that afternoon when a thought occurred to me as I came upon a nice campsite. Since there was hardly any wind, why not call it a day, setup the tent, and stay dry? As I prayed about that option it seemed a really wise thing to do, but then I considered my goal and the remaining time for the weekend. I realized I could not stop and accomplish at the same time. I felt an urging to stop for the night, but I was determined to accomplish my goal. Besides, who stops backpacking at only 3:00? I moved on, but without a clear idea of what would happen next or what to do about the weather.

I kept getting wetter, and it kept getting colder. A couple hours later, I admitted to myself that I had made a big mistake, but now it was too late to recover. The only wise recourse would be to get off the trail before dark. By the light of my headlamp, I walked into Elk Lake Resort to call my wife to pick me up. I had failed. Miserably. I was a frozen, blistered failure.

So here I am a year later, picking up where I had left off the year before to finish my last gap in the Oregon PCT. The morning was splendid. It was one of those pleasantly warm days under a cloudless azure sky. My prayer was answered that I would have a nice day to enjoy the famed scenic trip around the Three Sisters. By lunchtime I had wandered ten miles down the trail and written the main part of my sermon. It was a fantastic birthday Sabbath so far! As I ate under a tree on a ridge, I looked at the rain slowly forming 30 miles north by Mount Jefferson. I turned to observe the scattered clouds coming in behind me. I remembered a year ago and asked God what to do. Forward was a, Yes, with the humility to stop when needed.

I constantly watched the clouds, but they did not look like they would rain. Then within 15 minutes, while I was high in the exposed lava fields, the wind picked up and the drops started to fall. I promptly put on my poncho, which had wisely packed this time. However, five minutes late I took off my yellow flag flapping horizontally in the wind. I put on my water-resistant (not waterproof) wind breaker that done the trick in other windy mists, but today was rain, and rain, and more rain.

I had counted on my parka to keep my pack dry, so now I struggled to adjust. There were no campsites on these exposed lava ridges. I put on my fleece under my windbreaker and now I was damp, but warm. But not enough for the night. The wind and the rain and the whiteout showed no signs of letting up, but rather got stronger. I was willing and eager to stop, but I had serious concerns about the wetness of my stuff and whether I could set up my tent in the fierce wind. My backup plan was that I would wrap myself in my rainfly and hope to avoid hypothermia in the middle of the night. That is when I remembered a note on my map about an outhouse at Lava Camp Lakes 4 miles past my planned campsite at Matthieu Lake.

An hour later, in mid-afternoon, I arrived at Matthieu to find it as almost exposed as the lava I had just passed through. As I prayed, the impression was strong, Keep going. I came to another site in some big trees and I thought surely it would be wise and humble to stop here, but the signal was still strong, Keep going. Within a mile of Lava Camp Lakes the rain increased to a near downpour.

So now, here I am. It was not the Sabbath afternoon I had planned, and it was certainly not the birthday I had hoped. But I truly think it was a day and a test that God had planned. My attitude this time was wiser and more submissive. I was better prepared the second time around, but not prepared enough. (Notes to self: Pack your down sleeping bag in a waterproof sack. Get better raingear and a pack cover.)

Yes, here I am in this lovely, chemical-smelly concrete vault outhouse safely out of the wind and far from my family on my birthday. I jammed my tent in here all skeehawed just so I could put up the fly to keep the leaky roof from dripping right on my already partly wet sleeping bag. It is going to be a very damp night, but I will survive. What will I do tomorrow with my last 17 miles? No idea, yet.

From the midst of this somewhate decent smelling place of poop, I give thanks to my Savior who leads me and teaches me. I am also grateful for a great story to introduce other stories of being moved by His Spirit. But I will write those tomorrow, when I have warmed up and regained some energy. For now, Good night!

His anger endures but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Sunday morning

Good morning! Yes, I survived, damp but warm. The morning dawned crisp and clear and not as cold as I expected. There is no more rain. There is no more wind. There is no more night. It is a bright, brilliant, golden morning! From the prominence of Dee Wright Observatory I see snow on Sisters and as well as on Mount Jefferson. The storm hit the Cascades along a front at least 40 miles long. There was just no escaping it. Even if I had stayed put where I had slept Friday night I would have been dumped on. I think I did the right thing. I think I was moved by the Spirit. Which leads me to the first of several points about what I mean and don’t mean by being led by the Holy Spirit.

First, short term consequences are no proof for or against. Maybe I missed a signal at lunch time and should have set up the tent while it was still dry, but looking at the snowy mountains and knowing how the wind picked up, would I have stayed dry? I will not claim infallibility one way or the other, but I do know this. I did not resist any strong signals and my conscience is clear in Christ right now. I think God was testing and training me from last year and teaching me for next time. I learned, and will continue to walk, stumble, and fall forward.

Second, I will consider all the internal and external evidence available and argue for or against God leading me in any situation. However, I will never claim infallibility. I will never say there is no room that I might possibly have made a mistake or misinterpreted. It becomes too easy to impose my “unerring” impressions on others. No, the only thing I will trust is not my experience, but the Word, as best as I can interpret it. If the decision is within Scripture, then both of us may be right or both of us may be wrong or who knows! Impressions are never infallible nor imposable.

This leads to the third point: don’t sweat the details. There is no value in stressing over every minute detail or constantly looking back questioning and hesitating over the course of action. Our Savior is our teacher and He said, The meek shall inherit the earth.

The meek are those who learn at His feet. They learn because they don’t know everything. If they knew it all they would no longer learn and no longer be meek, which means they stop inheriting the earth. Even in a state of perfection on this earth or the next, we cannot know perfectly. That is why we went to let God move us and not we ourselves. That is why even in the eternal ages we will still have to trust God to let Him move us. We will always be learning, therefore we will always be wondering. So stop measuring God’s influence in your life and let Him move you.

 

The glory of the morning is made brighter by the fierceness of the night.

 

Conclusion

So that was my hike of the Oregon Cascades on the Pacific Crest Trail. There were other little fill-in sections I needed to do, but did not bother writing about them. In 2016, I want to hike the half circle from Ashland to Dunsmuir, and hike Oregon again. I also want to hike Washington if time permits. Next time I will keep a better journal with more descriptive detail and carry a camera!

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People

Eagle Eye – Colombian southbounding from Canada but later quit at Ashland because of weather. I hope he finishes next year! Met him in Big Lake hiker cabin.

Miss Monroe and Spicey Face – Sobos near South Sister.