Wonder, Childlikeness, and the Wilderness

The clouds lift from Mt. Hood and Cooper Reach along the Cooper Spur Trail, Oregon

The clouds lift from Mt. Hood and Cooper Reach along the Cooper Spur Trail, Oregon

There’s so much wonder that is invoked in me when I’m in the natural world.  When I see the towering cliffs, the rolling waves of the ocean, the minutest detail in the wildflowers, I’m filled with this awe and wonder at it all.

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, Washington

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, Washington

In the gospels, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3) and “…the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these [little children]” (Matthew 19:14).

Playing in the sunset at the Great Salt Lake, Utah

Playing in the sunset at the Great Salt Lake, Utah

One of the things that sets little children apart from older children is …Read More

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Cape Perpetua: Where the Volcanos Met the Ocean

Thor's Well at Cape Perpetua about 30 minutes after high tide, Oregon

Thor’s Well at Cape Perpetua about 30 minutes after high tide

If you’re going to visit just one beach in Oregon, I highly recommend it be Cape Perpetua.  Why?  Well, it’s already overrun, so one more visitor (or ten more visitors) won’t make much difference.  Second, you get bragging rights to say that you’ve personally seen Thor’s Well, which is often spectacularly portrayed by aspiring photographers.  And third, you can explore old lava flows, tide pools, and nearby forests and see sea life, incredible waves and volcanic oddities, and a truly inspiring view from the top of a headland.  And all of that in less than 4 miles of hiking.  Can you see why I loved visiting this place?

 

 

Waves along the old lava flow near Thor's Well, Cape Perpetua, Oregon

Waves along the old lava flow near Thor’s Well

We began our visit very, very early one misty morning in August (living on …Read More

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9 Terrific Day Hikes in the Wind Rivers

Highline Trail along Lower Green River Lake, Wyoming

Highline Trail along Lower Green River Lake, Wyoming

The Wind River Range of Wyoming is truly spectacular.  Snow-capped peaks, jagged cirques, lovely meadows, alpine lakes, it’s a view junkie’s paradise.  But day hikes of any reasonable length are hard to come by; the area is known as a backpacker’s paradise because few destinations are less than 8 miles from a trailhead.

Hiking between the Green River Lakes on the Porcupine Trail, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Hiking between the Green River Lakes

So here I’ve collected 9 incredibly scenic …Read More

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An Artist Puts Himself into His Art

Lupines on Mt. Shasta near Butte 9000, California

Lupines on Mt. Shasta near Butte 9000

For a long time I have wondered why it is that the Bible is filled with examples of how God and His ways are like elements of creation.  I wasn’t satisfied with the answer that the people of Bible times saw natural things every day, therefore God gave them examples that they could relate to (as true as this might be).  There seemed to be a deeper reason.

 

And finally, it dawned on me.

Golden Cathedral in Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah

Golden Cathedral in Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah

Like any artist, God put a bit of Himself into His art, in this case, His creation.  So it’s natural to relate the things of God to creation because God, Himself, put a bit of His nature into creation.

A waterfall descends from a glacier on Mt. Baker, Ptarmigan Ridge Trail, Washington

A waterfall descends from a glacier on Mt. Baker

Sometimes I think we feel it; it’s the thing that stirs our hearts when we see an awe-inspiring view, a peaceful sunset, or the intricate detail in a flower.  Our hearts – made by God, Himself, and filled with the Holy Spirit – respond to the nature of God in the things He made.

Wildflowers at the Upper Delicate Arch Overlook, Arches National Park, Utah

Wildflowers at the Upper Delicate Arch Overlook

So I find no shame in letting my heart rejoice and respond to the beauty around me.  It is God’s art, and I find great joy in discovering the pieces of Himself that God has put in His masterpiece.

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High Bluff Overlook in Redwood National Park

Views to the north toward White Rock from near High Bluff Overlook, Redwood National Park, California

Views to the north toward White Rock from near High Bluff Overlook

While we’re on the topic of things hiding in the clouds and mist (last week I talked about hiking to Owl Point to see the clouds shifting around Mt. Hood), let’s visit a view I didn’t know existed until some of the clouds lifted: the view from the High Bluff Overlook in Redwood National Park, CA.

No views in that direction, I'd say. High Bluff Overlook, Redwood National Park, California

No views in that direction, I’d say

When we first arrived at the overlook, we walked to …Read More

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Joining in God’s Pleasure

Mt. Shucksan rises over a dry streambed along the Lake Ann Trail near Mt. Baker, Washignton

Mt. Shucksan rises over a dry streambed along the Lake Ann Trail near Mt. Baker

There’s a verse in the Bible I find very illuminating:

 

“You are worthy our Lord and our God… because you have created all things, and by your pleasure they exist and were created.” (Rev. 4:11 ABPE)

Views from the Navajo Trail in Bryce Canyon, Utah

Views from the Navajo Trail in Bryce Canyon, Utah

God made the earth for His pleasure.  When He had finished creating the earth, He “saw all that he had made, and it was very good …Read More

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Owl Point in the Clouds

Clouds swirl around Mt. Hood as seen from Owl Point, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Clouds swirl around Mt. Hood as seen from Owl Point

Sometimes there are just those hikes that you really try to see, yet it just never quite works out.  Supposedly, the views are great, the trail is fine, and you just can’t wait to see it for yourself.  But every time you try, something gets in the way.  Such for me is Owl Point on the north side of Mt. Hood.

 

 

Watching Mt. Hood from Owl Point, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Watching Mt. Hood

The views are (reportably) great, the trail really is not that difficult to hike, and from the first time we visited the Mt. Hood area, I thought it would make a great hike.

Views toward the plains from Owl Point, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Views toward the plains from Owl Point

Well, the first time we tried it, we ended up …Read More

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The Grand Canyon and the Grandeur of God

Early morning along the Grandview Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Early morning along the Grandview Trail

This post courtesy of one of my group members.

I’ve been to the Grand Canyon about a dozen times. I can enjoy looking at from the rim for hours, as I have done—But the longer I stare from above, the more of a draw that beautiful canyon has on me. More allure—calling me deeper. And I’ve gone deeper. I’ve explored the inside of the canyon. I’ve hiked the trails deep within. I’ve waded in the Colorado River at the bottom. And…I want to go back!

Cacti blooms along the Lava Falls Rapids of the Colorado River in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Cacti blooms along the Lava Falls Rapids of the Colorado River in the bottom of the Grand Canyon

I’ve experienced enough of the Grand Canyon to always …Read More

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Epic Hiking Fail to Epic Hiking Success

How to turn an Epic Hiking Fail into an Epic Hiking Success. Along the Mazama Trail on Mt. Hood, Oregon

How to turn an Epic Hiking Fail into an Epic Hiking Success. Along the Mazama Trail on Mt. Hood, Oregon

Or, How to Save the Day when Everything Goes Wrong on the Trail

 

You all see the pictures on the blog.  They’re beautiful, sunny, spectacular.  Some of you might even read the write up, usually a rather blissful account of how beautiful such-and-such trail is, and oh, you should really visit (after all, it’s only 20 miles RT! – just kidding; the longest dayhike on the site is only 17 miles from start to finish).  But what you don’t see is the disasters.  Face it, we all try trails that don’t work out.  Sometimes it’s our own fault, or things just didn’t go as planned, or the view wasn’t what we expected, or the weather had a mind of its own.  Sometimes the road is closed, or the hike turned out to be 5 miles longer than the Falcon Guide said.  But what to do when things don’t go as planned?

I guess it would depend on the situation, the issue, and your options.  But here are a few ideas of how to turn an Epic Hiking Fail into an Epic Hiking Success …Read More

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Enjoying the West Tetons Overlook

The Tetons from the West Tetons Overlook, Ski Hill Road, Wyoming

The Tetons from the West Tetons Overlook – from L to R: Mt. Owen, Grand Teton, Middle Teton, and South Teton

If you want to enjoy views of the western (non-tourist) side of the Teton Range, but aren’t thrilled about 8+ mile hikes, don’t despair.  Although most hikes into the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness are long by dayhike standards (trails up Table Mountain, the Stairway to Heaven, and Alaska Basin Overlook are examples), there is at least one short hike (stroll, really) that offers stunning views of the back side of the Tetons, especially just before sunset.  I’ll call it the Western Tetons Overlook, for lack of a better title.

The trail is paved, wheelchair accessible, and certainly not more than 0.1 miles RT.  So really, you won’t be stressing yourself out …Read More

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