I love hiking. I’ve been on my fair share of hikes over the years, some casual, some pretty grueling. There’s one in particular that comes to mind. A few years ago, during the lingering days of summer in early September, I was set to climb up into the highest reaches of the Earth. I started up the mountain as the bright morning sun was beginning to peak over the Cascades to the east. The air was crisp and cool, there were a few clouds in the sky to the west, and a cool breeze was running through the leaves above. The weather was looking like it would cooperate for an amazing day of fall hiking. This particular trail starts off with a number of switchbacks as you quickly make your way up the mountain. The side of the mountain was shaded by evergreens dropping the temperature by a few degrees. Every once in a while, through a break in the tree line, I could see the valley below awash with sunlight.
There’s something therapeutic about getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city and into the wilderness. The coolness of the shade under the evergreens. The majesty of mountains overhead. I believe getting out into creation grounds me and helps me to connect with God in a way that is unlike any other. On my cross-country road trip, we spent the majority of our time driving through the plains of the Midwest. While I was in the midst of cornfields and sprawling grasslands, I felt uncomfortable with the flatness. I have been comforted by the mountains that surround me in the Northwest for my entire life. They are a reminder of the power and glory of God. The permanence of the silent sentinels of the Cascade Range keeps things in perspective.