Ooooh… Aaaah…Woooww!

Southern Cascade Peaks are beautiful!  (High above Brewer Creek on the slopes of Mt. Shasta, CA)

Southern Cascade Peaks are beautiful! (High above Brewer Creek on the slopes of Mt. Shasta, CA)

This post was written by one of my group members.  Enjoy!

To this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away… But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 2 Corinthians 3:14-16

This summer I had the opportunity to spend significant time hiking in the spectacular Southern Cascade Mountains. The vistas were the “Ooooh… Aaaah…Woooww!” kind. During that time, we saw many. For view-junkies like my family, it was perfect.

Our final days were spent hiking in and around Mt. Hood. Its signature pointed peak is one of the most beautiful in the Cascade Range. The views on our first day were gorgeous, though clouds rolled in in the afternoon and obscured the peak at times. The next day provided a few good views but most of the time the peak was in the clouds.

Hey!  We can see the summit of Mt. Hood! (On Gnarl Ridge)

Hey! We can see the summit of Mt. Hood! (On Gnarl Ridge)

As we gained elevation the third day we found ourselves literally in the clouds, themselves. So much so that we could barely see twenty meters in front of us; just thick, gray, soupy fog. We had reached McNeil Point, the place of spectacular vistas. They were right in front of us. We knew about beauty. We could imagine the grandeur, but…we couldn’t see it for ourselves. No “Oooohing and Aaaahing and Wowing!” for us that day.

Had we been able to wait it out, the fog would have broken up. The vistas would be crystal clear again. But we didn’t wait.

This is what we should have seen from McNeil Point, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon (Photo courtesy of Nathan)

This is what we should have seen (Photo courtesy of Nathan)

That’s what happens when we aren’t able to see the beauty and wonder of our Lord. The beauty of God is right in front of us. But blocking that view is the fog— that’s all we can see. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting beyond the worries, busy-ness or whatever that are clogging the eyes of our hearts.

But so many Christians settle for the fog. They languish along knowing Jesus is in beautiful but He’s inaccessible to them and they settle for a sterile and perhaps dutiful platonic liaison with Him and they never get beyond that point and that’s tragic.

What we saw in the misty meadows below McNeil Point, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

What we actually saw

Worship time comes and they just go through the motions, parroting the words that others are singing “Oo… Ah…Wow”— words, but with no real meaning. How can their the words of worship mean much when they can’t see the beauty? The fog is too thick. No wonder they’re bored.

But if we “long for His appearing” (2 Tim 4:8) we can out last these feelings. If we will wait on the Lord, it’s just a matter of time before the wind of the Spirit starts to blow, the fog starts to break up, we see the beauty of God revealed in Christ —and we worship in spirit and in truth.

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The Natural Bridges of Samuel H. Boardman

An over-and-under exposed picture of a sea arch or natural bridge we saw on our way to a headland viewpoint near Thunder Rock Cove in Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Oregon

An over-and-under exposed picture of a sea arch or natural bridge we saw on our way to a headland viewpoint near Thunder Rock Cove

Perhaps one of the most scenic areas of the Oregon Coast (which is pretty nice anywhere you end up) is the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, just north of Brookings, and about 10 miles north of the California boarder.  I recently traveled the length of US-101 through Oregon (all the way from California to Astoria, which is nearly in Washington), and this was definitely one of the gems.  There are tons of sea stacks, beaches, headlands, sea arches, and so much more.  It’s actually more scenic (to me at least) than the more northerly sand beaches with their occasional massive sea stack.  And one of the good things is that you can explore the corridor by car or on foot, so you really can tailor your trek to your fancies!

We were sort of low on time (we’d done a few trails in Redwood National Park in the morning), so I thought we’d just see the Natural Bridges, maybe …Read More

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I am the fullness…

Wildflowers in Bonneville Pass, Wyoming

Wildflowers in Bonneville Pass, Wyoming

“I am the fullness in the waft of the breeze

I am the fullness of the scent of the wildflowers

Held gently in your trembling hands

I am the fullness of the warmth in the sunshine

I am the fullness of the perfection in a sunset

Of every good and perfect thing

 

I am what makes the fullness perfect …Read More

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Sneak Peak: A Land of Volcanos and Oceans

Waves crash on the ancient lava flows at Cape Perpetua, Oregon

Waves crash on the ancient lava flows at Cape Perpetua, Oregon (btw, that kid isn’t as close as he looks)

So if anyone’s been wondering where I’ve been (or why I haven’t been) on social media over the last month, we just got back from a 3 week adventure to the Pacific Northwestern US!  It was pretty amazing, filled with volcanos, volcanic formations, and the Pacific Ocean.  The weather was really quite good, too, except that it was 115 in NorCal and Mt. Hood decided to hide its head in the clouds.  But, hey, you can’t have everything, and I think we made out pretty well considering.

 

Wildflowers on the side of Mt. Shasta, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Wildflowers on the side of Mt. Shasta

We started out by visiting the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL (almost in Iowa).  Here we got to see big machinery, climb into a bulldozer and …Read More

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Calling Out Your Name

“I feel the thunder in the sky

I see the sky about to rain

And with the prairies I am calling out Your name.”

“Calling Out Your Name” by Rich Mullins.

 

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“I am the vastness…”

Cirque of Towers, Wind Rivers, Wyoming

Cirque of Towers, Wind Rivers, Wyoming

“I am the vastness of the entire mountain range

I am the sight that takes your breath away

I am in the hills and the trees and the very ground you walk on

Because I made it and it sings my praise

That’s part of what the whole earth

Being filled with the Glory of the Lord is about

My glory is all over the earth.

 

I hold the mountains in my hand …Read More

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5 Worst Hiking Mistakes I’ve Made

Sunrise at Cloud Cap Campground, Mount Hood, Oregon

Sunrise at Cloud Cap Campground, Mount Hood, Oregon

You’d think, having traveled across the country more than 40 times in 21 years, we’d be experts at planning and executing hikes.  While it’s true we’ve learned a lot, we still make mistakes.  Some of the examples below came from last summer.  So even those who hike a lot can get into situations they didn’t expect.

And then there are the things no one could have expected, like this cow blocking the trail to Broken Bow Arch in Utah

And then there are the things no one could have expected, like this cow blocking the trail to Broken Bow Arch in Utah


The following are 5 of my recurring hiking mistakes – things that happened so often, by design or …Read More

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Day Hiking the Andy Stone Trail (Tetons)

Zoomed views on the Tetons from the slopes of Beard Mountain above the Andy Stone Trail

Zoomed views on the Tetons from the slopes of Beard Mountain above the Andy Stone Trail

What to do on a rainy day on the west side of the Tetons?  It’s no good wasting a perfectly lovely view on a day when you can’t see it because of the mist and clouds.  So we decided on a little adventure – the South Leigh Creek Trail to the Andy Stone Trail, then a bit up the sides of Beard Mountain to get the best of what little view could be had.  I won’t call it the best hike – or even close to the best view – in the Tetons, but we did have a good time, it didn’t pour on us, and we had a nice little dip in a nearby stream after the hike (after it got sunny).

A ptarmigan we found along the way, Andy Stone Trail, Jedediah Smith Wilderness - Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

A ptarmigan we found along the way

We didn’t realize that getting to the trailhead would be one of the biggest adventures.  I had a topo map which clearly marked S Leigh Canyon Road as a left turnoff from the main S Leigh Canyon Road.  It’s even on Google Maps (Yahoo Maps calls it Beard Road).  The GPS was all set and programed to take us there.  Technically, it would take us to a trailhead that would …Read More

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15 Must Do Waterfall Hikes Across the US

Dundee Falls, Wyoming

Dundee Falls, Wyoming

Waterfalls!  There’s something magical about the cascade of water tumbling over one or more ledges to the river below.  It catches your breath, makes you want to pull out your camera, even though you know you can’t capture the way the falling water makes you feel.

Slide Creek Falls in the Wind River Range of Wyoming

Slide Creek Falls in the Wind River Range of Wyoming

Waterfalls are one thing that every state seems to major in.  Everywhere I go, people talk about the lovely waterfalls at such-and-such place; even in the middle of the desert, waterfalls are …Read More

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DIY Adult Seat Belt Pillow

How to make your own seat belt pillow - it really works well!

How to make your own seat belt pillow – it really works well!

I’ve added a new favorite item to my “must pack” list for traveling!  It’s what I’d call a “seat belt pillow” or maybe “one pillow you can actually use in the car and won’t get lost”.  It’s a simple sewing project that doesn’t take oodles of materials (except filling, which it uses a lot of).  The best part is that it really is comfortable, even in our van, which doesn’t seem to usually fit with normal car accessories.  Another great thing is that I can leave it tied to the seatbelt, so it doesn’t have to find a home when I’m not using it!

The finished seat belt pillow

The finished seat belt pillow

Here’s what you need to make your own Seat Belt Pillow

What you'll need to make the seat belt pillow

What you’ll need to make the seat belt pillow

Two pieces of cloth, cut to 22.25”x5”, or whatever works best to you – this is a bit flexible.  I made a pattern, then cut out the two pieces of fabric.  The fabric should be soft, durable, and comfortable for sleeping on.

Four pieces of …Read More

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