Job 38:22 “Have you entered the storehouses of snow or seen the storehouses of the hail,”
The AT (God’s creation) continues to amaze me! All in one day, I can go from green lush foliage in the lower elevations to wintry conditions in the higher elevations.
This past week has been marked by passing the 400 mile marker and entering Virginia. It has also been marked by wet wintry conditions before crossing over Roan Mountain forcing me to flee to a hostel to dry out of my wet and freezing clothing.
However, the next day was a gloriously beautiful day crossing over Roan Mountain. I enjoyed 360-degree views from 3 different balds.
Two days later, I was again bombarded with wet wintry conditions including thunder and hale. Once again I fled to a hostel to dry out and warm up.
Once again, the weather turned beautiful as I approached Damascus, Va.
I have been tempted to complain and moan, but my small group of friends, including my son D.J. (he joined me for a few days on the trail), has adopted Blueberry’s slogan, “Embrace the suck.”
In the scripture reading, even though Job’s trials and tribulations were far, far greater than the AT, I think God was telling Job that He was and is the Creator of all, and that he is in control of all. He controls our sunny days and he controls our wet soggy days.
Lord Jesus, I praise you for what you have created. Your creation is totally awesome! You are an awesome God! I thank you that I have the opportunity to experience your creation in such a unique way.
Location: Greasy Creek Hostel, near Road Mountain, Tennessee
John 10:14 “I (Jesus) am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
After a long day of hiking, it is a big relief to reach the intended shelter or camping spot. It is refreshing to reach that spot and hear one or two hikers to call out “Hey Chappy.” It feels good to be known and to welcome.
Most hikers by now have a trail name. I named myself, and some hikers do the same to make sure they don’t receive a name they don’t like. Some of my hiker friends have names such as Doc, Mom (a man), Heartbreaker, Pegleg, Sandman, and Fireweed.
More refreshing, welcoming, and good to know is that God knows me! He knows my real name and he knows my hiker name. He knows everything about me. He knows my failures, my weaknesses, my strengths, and I think He probably celebrates my victories in life.
As fellow hikers call out my name, I think He probably calls my name a lot! I don’t think I’m always listening!
Lord Jesus, help me to listen. Help me to hear your voice and and to know your presence.
Last year’s AT Chaplain, Blueberry, encouraged me to “embrace the suck”! It has become my motto.
Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for so by doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
In the world that we live in today, it is difficult to trust
people, especially strangers.
On the trail, I continuously ask myself where this high level of
trust in the Hiker community comes from. How could people that are so different
have such a trusting bond?
A similar aspect of the trail is Trail Angels that provide Trail
Magic. I received my first trail magic in the form of a free shuttle to start
my hike at Springer Mountain in Georgia. The 2017 AT Chaplain, Matt
“Trigger” Hall, had made a friend on his 2017 thru hike. This same
friend is the Trail Angel who gave me the free shuttle.
Only a half mile into my hike, the Stay Young group of Ellijay,
Georgia gave me trail magic in the form of a granola bar. It is amazing and
uplifting to come to a trailhead and to find a Trail Angel grilling hot dogs
and hamburgers and to sit with other hikers and just enjoy.
Have I ever entertained an angel without knowing it? I hope so!
If I haven’t, I hope that through the trail that I will become more trusting of
people. Maybe, just maybe, one of those people will be an angel.
Lord Jesus, help me to trust people more, but especially to trust you more!
Location: Newfound Gap, border of North Carolina and Tennessee
Psalm 94: 18-19 When I said, my foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
I awoke yesterday to a beautiful snowy morning. However, I knew that my plans for the day included climbing Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Great Smokey Mountains.
The climb with the elevation and the snow was very enjoyable. I was not surprised that the 360-degree view from Clingmans Dome was clouded over since it was still snowing when I arrived.
I was very surprised when I started my descent on my way for another six miles to Newfound Gap.
The snow had very quickly turned to ice that was very difficult to see. Falling is common on the AT, and I fell a total of 4 times. Thank God, no injuries. I arrived safely to Newfound Gap.
In Psalm 94, the Psalmist writes of the Lord’s love supporting him when his foot was slipping. My literal feet were slipping yesterday, but I believe the Psalmist is speaking of anxiety as he talks about the Lord’s consolation in verse 19.
Thankfully, we have God’s Holy Spirit who is our Peace! He is the Peace that passes all understanding!