We took our children on a week long vacation in the Smoky Mountains last month. Dr. P thought going on a hike would be a good idea, and I concurred. What could be better than a long walk in the mountain woods!? Dr. P chose some “easy” mountain trails to get us started.
First, “easy“ is all in one’s perspective. For my husband who has been walking 4-11 miles/day for over a year and has lost 50 pounds in that time, for my son who runs and bikes several times/week, for my two older daughters who bike often, the hikes were easier. They were barely out of breath, for the most part, and even ran down much of the trail returning from the first day’s hike. For A-Grape and I, who were each wearing improper foot wear, for A-Grape’s shorter legs, for my out of fitness self, the trails were much harder. My lungs were burning so badly at one point I thought I could die, although I also had a head cold and cough.
Second, on the first day’s trail, we climbed a little over a mile up to Grotto Falls while we were feeling energetic and fresh. We were heading downhill for the second one plus mile half of the hike. On the second day’s hike, the first half of the hike on Baskins Falls trail was more than 1.5 miles down to the falls, but we also added an extra unplanned detour to hike back up a marked trail to an old family cemetery, then back down to the original trail, finishing the first half by climbing down rocks to the falls. The second half of the trip we had to climb back up those rocks and the trail. It had rained the day before, so the trail was also slippery with mud in spots. There were streams to cross on both trails, but the second trail streams had mostly logs to cross, while the first day’s trail had had stepping stones.
On that second day’s Baskins Falls trail, A-Grape and I had the others go on ahead so that they could run or climb as they wanted and we wouldn’t hold them up. Not far into the upward hike back to our car (about 1.5 miles), I began to doubt that I had the strength to make it, and my feet and legs already hurt. We were climbing tree roots up a steady incline. I was severely out of breath when A-Grape said very sadly “I can’t do this. This is too hard. I’m tired. I’m not big enough. I think I could faint.” I regretted sending the others ahead at this point, as I was also dizzy, and I was afraid we would need their help and they wouldn’t hear us. Thankfully they didn’t go very far ahead of us, and waited for us often. But, being the adult, and wanting to encourage her, I told A-Grape that she was big enough and strong enough, and that she wasn’t going to faint. I told her that I couldn’t faint, and neither could she. I told her she had to just keep taking one more step, and that if we both just kept saying “one more…just one more step.” we’d make it off the trail and to the car. I told her we would stop at random spots to catch our breath, take photos, eat a granola bar, sit on a flat rock, and that we would get this done in our own time. We continued telling each other “We HAVE to keep taking one more step,” held each other up, and told each other we could do it because we were strong, mighty girls because that is how God made us. We spoke truths to each other.
- We are conquerors. (…In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37)
- We are strong and mighty. (Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10)
- We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13)
- We can keep our eye on the prize and run the race (climb the climb) set before us. (Hebrews 12:1b-3; 1 Corinthians 9:24)
Once we got to the end, we were relieved, believe me. But we felt stronger, mightier, (exhausted), and more confident. Next year we’ll wear better walking/hiking shoes. I’ll be more fit. She’ll be a little taller. Now we know.
Friends, no matter what strenuous thing you are going through, just keep taking one more step. Forward momentum to the goal is worth taking. Keep your eyes on the end of your trail, taking it one step at a time, accepting a helping hand from time to time, keeping yourself and your mind well nourished with good fruits and sound principles. You will make it in your own time.
Enjoy the views along the way. They are worth the effort.
Side note: Now that I hiked those two mountain trails last week, my morning walk on the hilly roads around our home were a speedy, easy peasy, cake walk today! I was barely out of breath at all, although my ankles, knees, and hips are begging me to get new walking shoes. Apparently my “out of fitness self’s” aches and pains are not all related to just being out of shape.
In other news, June 1, 2016 brought new products to Lilla Rose. Why? Why would you use anything else?