Hiking, I’m discovering is a reflection on traveling.  There are people that when they travel, the destination is what matters and then they’ll plan on doing fun things after they arrive.

Decisions guide us in this life and we make the choice of where we’ll be in eternity based on our choice here and our beliefs.  God has given us so many lovely examples of His creation.  All we have to do is slow down and enjoy them.  Choose to be thankful…to be receptive…to be joyful and sometimes to just slow down and swing on a porch or take a slow hike.

On my road trips, it’s not only the destination, but getting there along the way that makes it memorable.  It’s the unique or spur of the moment stops that build on one another and make for an interesting trip.  That wonderful slow down time where keeping to a schedule doesn’t matter.  I love this Dr. Seuss quote from The Places That You’ll Go.

Great Advice!

Some people move at an awful fast pace when hiking.  I’ve been passed more times than I care to admit.  On my last hike, this quote from the Wizard of Oz popped into my head, “People come and go so fast here.”  I’ve seen people running, couples walking like they had an appointment to make, and parents trying to keep up with their kids.  I remember when Cam was little and it seemed we literally flew through the zoo instead of enjoying watching each animal in anticipation of seeing the next one.  Now that I’m older, I’m slower.  

Now, I’ll admit that I’m a wanderer.  I’ll stop to take pictures, sit on rocks to catch my breath, or have my breath taking away by the beauty around me.  My last hike started on the meadow range and then climbed.  I’ll have to admit that I so much more like the meadow than the climb.   However, the climb brings the most gorgeous views.  More pristine beauty tends to shine higher up than lower.  Maybe it’s the perspective looking down from above and than again, looking higher towards heaven.   

Along my meadow walk, I noticed the flowers growing against the rocks.  The buzz of bees growing louder as I passed certain types of bushes where the fragrant flowers called to them.  The butterflies fluttering by me as I walked.  The meadow had a stream running through it, but I could only hear it because the lush green grass hid its path from me as it coursed through on its way to join the river.


Occasionally, it would pool and make a small pond that teamed with life.  I sat and watched a black bird take a remarkable bath; throwing water on his each wing, dipping his head into the water and splaying out his wings, using his beak to comb the feathers.  Simply beautiful.  If I hadn’t stopped, I’d have missed that.  

One single moose paused at one of those small ponds and then walked through the meadow making swooshing sounds with his feet as he walked in grass wet from the stream; stopping to eat and then lumbering along.  I wondered if moose are solitary animals because it traveled alone.

Barefoot singing hiker

I traveled alone this day too, but like the moose, I really wasn’t alone on the trail.  People passed going one way or the other.  At one point on the way back, I heard music.  The trail was curving and around the curve came two men.  One was carrying a black guitar case and the other had the guitar playing it.  Josh, from Asheville, North Carolina was strumming…barefoot!  He stopped and sang for me.  I couldn’t tell you the name of the song because I’m sure it was an original… much like himself!

I was tired as I finished my four and six tenths mile walk that took me more hours to complete than I care to admit.

small goals

Through the exertion of the climb, my sometimes lack of breath, and occasional uneasiness that I might cross some type of wildlife that I didn’t want to see up close, I was enthralled by all the beautiful flowers that bloomed in contrast to the rocks and swayed in the gentle wind, and the small paths of water from the snow melting off the mountainside.

Earlier in the week, in the afternoon, I hiked up the mountains to view three lakes; Nymph, Dream, and Emerald.  The path started at Bear Lake and then went up.  Each lake was gorgeous.  My favorite was Emerald.  There I encountered a beaver, a thunderstorm, and hail.  It was high enough that ice still covered small parts of the lake and I hadn’t seen anything like that before since I lived in warm Texas.  It looked as though it belonged on a postcard.  I was gazing at the wonder of it when the storm that had been threatening finally arrived.

I saw the lightning first and then heard the thunder.  I wasn’t above tree line, so I wasn’t sure what to do.  There was no getting down the mountain before it came.  The advice from RMNP is to get below tree line.  Since I was below, I simply took cover under a large overhang rock when the hail started.  One thing I do know about the storms here is that they don’t last long.  This one didn’t either.  It hailed about five minutes and then it simply rained.  I headed back down with gentle raindrops falling on me.  

Dream Lake

This trail was very full of people walking earlier in the day, but after the storm began, I saw less people.  I had just started back a bit when I passed a lady going toward Emerald. She ask if it was much farther.  Awe, an accent!  She was from London.  I told her just over the next snow bank.  

As I continued down, it wasn’t long before she caught back up with me.  Julia, (Isn’t that pretty), brown eyes, short brown hair, and a Tilly hat.  She hiked back down with me the whole way.  She was an ‘academic’ meaning she taught at a university.  She had been at a conference in Boulder, Colorado and had extended her visit six days; spending four days here in Estes Park, and then the other two in Denver.  She had taken a taxi to the park and had hiked about eight miles that day.  I offered to drive her back to Estes Park.    We looked a bit soggy because of the rain, but I simply loved the visit back down as we chatted and took pictures.

We arrived back where the shuttle bus runs about 6:00.  I did get a picture, but my phone died on Wednesday and all my pictures were lost.  Piece of advice here; make sure all pictures are saved to the memory card.  Mine were simply going to the device … unknown to me.  So, sadly I’ve lost these pictures except the two I posted to Facebook.  At town, we said good bye and I dropped her off.  She was a lovely person.  Julia, the academic from London, a person who made my day much brighter.  I had to call Sally to tell her about my temporary friend.

There are some sweet ladies at camp.  One of the sweetest, Margaret, is a lady in her early seventies who loves to hike and go places.  On Wednesday, she was going to ‘the top’ which is the visitor center on Trail Ridge Road.  I’ve wanted to go, but I’m a bit apprehensive about driving it, since it has narrow drop offs on the side.  I jumped at the chance to go and even though she’s been many times, she stopped and gave me the chance to Ooooh and Awe.  She even brought her camera to take pictures since my phone was out of commission.  It was breathtaking!  At one point, I felt like Maria from the Sound of Music, except I had snow under my feet.

Climb Every Mountain

Before I return home, I’ll take many more hikes and I’ll meet many more people that mayhap wouldn’t have crossed my path if I didn’t go slow.  I’ll continue to grow in my relationships with these ladies and gentlemen that I live around or work with.

Before I return home, I’ll take many more hikes and I’ll meet many more people that mayhap wouldn’t have crossed my path if I didn’t go slow.  I’ll continue to grow in my relationships with these ladies and gentlemen that I live around or work with.

Appreciating this captivating place where the rabbits hop and graze, the ground squirrels scurry, and the birds fill the quietness with their song as I get to sit and type out my thoughts.

How enchanting the serenity of this place feels.  The glory of God showing his boundless love given to us if reflected in this beautiful place.

 Yes, I do hear the sound of kids yelling and the occasional groups chanting, but that too, is the wonderful beauty of God.

Simple beauty

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the time here to reflect and grow.

Thank you for mountains to climb and valleys to walk through.

Thank you for the amazing meadows where I can simply stop for awhile.