This trip was a dream come true! KB, Allie and I enjoyed 11 days in the wilderness hiking through some of the most beautiful National Parks, Forests and Wilderness areas in America. We hiked approximately 72 miles of trails starting in Yosemite National Park and going down to INYO National Forest and the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
The highlights from this trip included; Hiking to the top of Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest (per KB’s suggestion), eating gourmet meals that Allie prepared and dehydrated before hand, seeing beautiful views around every corner, and encountering local wildlife on a regular basis. Not to mention, all the comments from fellow hikers about our gaiters and how big my backpack looked. We had no idea that protecting your boots from getting dust, sand and water in them was such a novel idea in the west.
The biggest blessing on this trip had to be, when my parents resupplied us at Red’s Meadow and then also agreed to pick us up at the end of trip and drive us to Merced. There were some pretty big wildfires that prevented us from getting past the Yosemite Park entrance on the west side. So…my parents graciously took us on a 9 hour detour around the park so we could make our flights. Thanks Mom and Dad!!! Along the way, we discovered that highway 108 over Sonora pass is just as pretty as Yosemite, but way more dangerous. If you are looking for an adventure I would recommend checking it out.
This past month I had the privilege of leading a college expedition in the Adirondacks. I have not led a trip since 2011 because my normal job responsibilities keep me tied down to the office. I was excited to get back out into the wilderness with the students and this trip was definitely a refreshing break and a time of renewal for me.
Our trip included 10 participants along with me and my co-leader. We had the Long Lake canoeing itinerary which encompasses about 30 miles of paddling and a couple of one mile long portages.
Some of the challenges we faced along the way were; lots of bugs, our canoe trailer coming unhitched during the last mile to our first campsite, scooting over logs that blocked the small tributary and having one of our stoves break the first night. But, our participants took it all in stride. They kept a positive attitude and learned to work together to overcome their corporate and personal struggles. One participant in particular had a special way of pointing out the good in every situation. Whenever he would notice something that God had provided he would shout out “What a blessing!” This became the unofficial theme of our trip and kept all of us, myself included, counting our blessings. I was so proud of the way each of them embraced the La Vida philosophy and I could tell you story upon story of the growth that took place in each of their lives on this trip.
One story that impacted me involved two girls from Brazil who came on the trip a bit unprepared. Being in the wilderness was way out of their comfort zones. They tended to stick together and find some comfort in their mutual misery. I can’t say that I converted them to loving the wilderness, but I can say that they grew tremendously through their experience. They did things they never thought they could do like learning to steer a canoe, portaging their 75lb canoe one and half miles and spending 2 nights alone in the woods on solo. They gained confidence in their own abilities and in the end learned some valuable, life long lessons. I am so proud of them. God truly blessed me with the privilege of seeing him work in the lives of all our participants these past two weeks. I hope I can lead another trip next year.
I have been on a hunt for a house. So many to look at. There are all sorts of sizes, ages and neighborhoods. I am starting to get an idea of the kind of place I could call home. I was surprised to learn that I don’t want a newly built house. They have no character. They are big and flashy with all the latest amenities, but no real depth. If I had a million dollars I would not buy a house that was worth a million or even a half a million. I would buy the old, small one. The fixer-upper. I like redemption. I like building and restoring. I would purposely buy one that needed some renovation. Who wants to live in brand new house where you slowly watch everything deteriorate when you could live in a house that you could renovate and slowly watch it turn into something beautiful?! Yup, that’s what I want. The old fixer-upper. The one with character. The one that has stood the test of time. Good thing I live in an area of the country where most of the homes are 200 years old.