In this photo that I keep on my desk, my son Micah and I are on the Appalachian Trail – just outside of Hot Springs, North Carolina.
Each summer for the last few years I’ve tried to schedule time – anywhere from 4 to 7 days – backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. The A.T. is a 2,100+ mile footpath that begins in Georgia and ends in Maine, all the while meandering through 14 different states. So far I have hiked approximately 315 miles; at my current pace I should reach the end of the trail when I am about 110 years old!
I keep this photo on my desk as it reminds me of great times. I love being on the trail. I feel very close to God out in nature. The A.T. is nicknamed “the long green tunnel” because the vast majority of the time while on the trail you are walking underneath a thick canopy of trees. In the remote forests there is such tranquility and beauty. While backpacking life becomes so simple; life is reduced to the most basic things – shelter, food (fuel!), and water. No appointments, no schedule, no TV, no phone – only the wonder of God’s creation each day and a lot of strenuous exercise. Everything you need you are carrying on your back. You always meet all kinds of interesting people; surprisingly, people from all over the world fly into the States in order to backpack on the A.T. I eagerly anticipate my time on the trail each summer.
The whole experience became 10 times better a few years ago when my son decided to join me, and we’ve done it together for the last few years. It is so great to spend this time together. He is a much stronger and faster hiker than me, but he patiently waits for me to catch up numerous times throughout the day! The conversations and experiences we share our priceless.
The Scripture I draw strength from as I hike:
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights” Habakkuk 3:19